4 min|Dr. Maya Kuczma

The Not-So-Secret Secret to Preventing Mask Acne or 'Maskne'

Skin Health

Protect your skin from mask breakouts

Physical distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks are the best tools we know of when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19. The residents of British Columbia have committed to using these tools, and as a result, we are seeing hopeful signs of progress in managing this pandemic. We are proud of our community, and encourage continued commitment, even when it is challenging.

Alongside you, we are getting used to these new habits, and noticing the side effects that come with them – HELLO dry hands, tech-neck, and dreaded mask breakouts, or ‘maskne’! At Integrative, we want to support you during this time, and will continue to provide information on how to adapt to this new way of life.

Here are 6 ways you can protect your skin, while still sporting a mask:

1. Go Bare (in secret)

You might find yourself getting a little warmer, and a little sweatier, beneath your mask, especially as the weather turns warmer. No matter how non-toxic or clean your beauty products are, make-up, sweat, and the friction from the mask can create irritation and breakouts. Give your skin a breather, and forego make-up beneath the mask. No one will know!

2. Keep it Clean

Sweat, dirt, oil, pollution, and respiratory droplets can accumulate in your mask and transfer to your skin. If using a disposable mask, discard once you return home. If using reusable masks, have a few on hand, so that you can frequently wash and rotate in alternates. Wash with soap and water, and hang to dry. No matter what type of mask you are using, grab the elastic ear strap, and pull away from your face when removing. Wash your hands after handling your mask.

3. Embrace Oil

Oil cleansing is a gentle way to clean pores without aggressively removing sebum, the natural oil your skin produces. Many cleansers harshly dry and strip the skin of its natural barrier, leading to a reflexive over-production of sebum and further breakouts. As counterintuitive as it seems, adding oil to the skin is a healthy way to balance the skin’s natural environment.

However, not all oils are created equal. Many, including our beloved coconut oil, are high on the comedogenic scale, a ranking used to qualify how likely an oil is to clog pores. If you are prone to breakouts, it is best to opt for oil low on the comedogenic scale, such as argan oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, rosehip oil, safflower oil, or castor oil. To oil cleanse, apply oil to the entire face and gentle massage for 1-2 minutes. Lightly rub the entire face with a soft washcloth you have wet with warm water. Gently pat with a clean towel, or allow skin to air dry.

4. Treat Yo’ Self (and your skin)

For centuries, clays have been used to treat the skin. When our skin is congested and pores are enlarged and clogged, clay can bind to impurities and pull them from your pores. However - buyer beware - many clay masks are laden with toxic, unregulated chemicals, which is why we recommend masks from brands who are health-conscious and toxin-aware, such as Beauty Counter and Live Crude.

Clay masks pull sebum from the skin and over-use will cause the skin to reflexively produce more oil. Keep use to a minimum to avoid over-exfoliating the skin. We recommend using a mask only once per week.

5. Hands off!

Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds is a helpful tool for preventing the spread of viruses, especially since studies have shown that we touch our face over twenty times per hour (1)! Dirty hands, combined with frequent touching of your face, is also a quick way to transfer bacteria to your skin. Wash your hands, often, with soap and warm, for at least one round of Happy Birthday, and keep your hands off your face.

6. Fuel Wisely

Skin health is largely determined by your internal physiology. Imbalances within the endocrine (hormonal) system, digestive system, and detoxification organs (such as the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and lymphatics) can all influence how your skin appears. Stay hydrated by sipping on 2-3 litres of filtered water throughout the day, and choose nutrient-dense food items. Some of our favorites include fruits, veggies, bone broth, wild fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, collagen powder, oysters, chicken, and pork. Opt for organic whenever possible.

At times, our body needs further guidance to adequately support all of these systems. We’re here to help. Contact our reception, at [email protected] or (604) 738-1012 to book a visit with one of our many trained healthcare professionals.

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25637115/
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