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Do you have maskne?

Suffering from mask-induced breakouts? Here's how to keep skin in shape while wearing a face covering

We Brits spend a lot of money on our beauty regimes, in fact we’re skincare obsessed, with 96 per cent of consumers investing in skincare instead of makeup during the pandemic, according to research by beauty brand Foreo.

With non essential shops closed during lockdown, online beauty transactions have increased, while on the high street Boots has seen a 200 per cent rise in skincare sales over the past month alone.

With many frontline workers required to wear PPE and the recent implementation of compulsory face coverings or masks when in enclosed spaces such as on public transport, many peoples’ skin is starting to suffer. ‘Maskne’ is a covid beauty buzzword, with breakouts, redness and peeling common concerns.

"A lot of patients are saying that they are suffering from breakouts," says Helen Cowan from Dr Nestor's Medical & Cosmetic Centre in Edinburgh. "My advice would be to regularly change your mask or wash reusable masks thoroughly and as often as possible."

Cowan recommends avoiding wearing makeup under  the mask  or trying mineral makeup. She carries  ZO Oil Control Pads around with her during the day to use on areas of concern – these contain salicylic acid which is great for inflammation and killing bacteria on the surface of the skin.

“Although protective masks are extremely important, if you’re wearing them for several hours of the day, they can contribute to skin issues around the mouth and nose,” says Consultant Dermatologist Dr Thivi at the Skin Health Alliance UK and OLAY.

“The main issues are friction which can cause redness and irritation, and occlusion, which causes a humid environment where moisture gathers under the mask, which might lead to clogged pores leading to breakouts and acne. Also, it’s not only wearing the mask that can be problematic—taking them on and off can also be stressful for the skin.”

Weleda’s Skincare Expert, Elizabeth King, suggests using facial oil to help combat mask-induced irritation. “Gently press a small amount of facial oil onto clean skin, where the mask’s edges meet the skin and at the back of your ears where the straps may chafe.”

Charlotte Vohtz, Founder of Green People recommends a good skin salve as one of your product essentials. “Applying a natural balm to the skin before your face mask provides a layer between your skin and the face mask fabric to reduce your risk of friction irritation and keep your skin feeling comfortable,’ she says.

Dr Thivi says that it’s also important to cleanse well morning and night to avoid irritation and breakouts – this becomes especially important for anyone wearing a form of face covering for a prolonged amount of time.  

She also recommends the following:

  • Where possible, take off your mask when you do not need to wear it, such as while driving your own car or at home
  • In between wearing your mask, spritz your face with a refreshing and soothing mist to help calm irritated skin and restore lost moisture. 
  • Avoid makeup as much as possible while wearing the mask as in the humid environment under the mask, this can cause clogging of pores which may lead to blackheads and breakouts
  • The strings on the mask can be irritating for the skin behind the ears, so before bedtime, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the affected area to help soothe overnight. 


Weleda Aknedoron Cleansing Lotion 
Regular mask wearers should pay extra attention to cleansing. This purifying lotion decongests and deeply cleanses, while organic calendula and chamomile get to work to soothe sensitised skin.

OLAY Mist Ultimate Hydration Aloe Leaf and Chamomile Calming Face Spray
Ideal for your skin and your senses, this soothing spray contains rose and chamomile extract which helps calm irritated skin and restores lost moisture by instantly increasing hydration by 60 per cent.

iS Clinical Sheald Recovery Balm
This clinician-approved, antioxidant-rich formula helps reduce skin irritation and discomfort while relieving itching and preventing scabbing.

Green People Soothing Baby Salve Lavender
This is a must-have for calming irritation – the certified organic, eczema-friendly formula is ideal for delicate skin and combines anti-inflammatory hemp seed oil with calming calendula.

Weleda SOS Spot Treatment
The ultimate on-the-go skin saviour, this cooling, anti-inflammatory gel contains willow bark and liquorice root to tackle and treat spots without drying and irritating the surrounding skin.

Nestor Demosthenous, Aesthetic Doctor

Dr. Nestor MBChB, BSc Hons Neuro, Associate Member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, Member of Association...

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