The pandemic-induced lockdown has affected our lives in more ways than one. Apart from throwing life as we know it completely off track, it has also brought with it a slew of skin woes for us to deal with. Add to that the new normal practice of wearing a face mask every time you step out of the house and you’ve got yourself a skin issue waiting to pop… ugh, so frustrating.
Why does this happen, you ask? Well, wearing masks for long periods of time creates a humid environment on your face that leads to pore clogging and eventually breakouts. In fact, this phenomena is so common that the internet has developed a new term for it — maskne.
While you can't ditch the mask (yet), you can definitely update your skincare routine to suit the skin’s ever-evolving needs. And to make things easier for you, we got in touch with Mumbai based dermatologist and aesthetic physician Dr. Pallavi Sule to learn more about maskne and got her to dole out some expert tips on how to tackle this problem.
- Cleanse your face twice a day
- Wear breathable cotton masks
- Avoid heavy-duty skincare and makeup products
- Exfoliate your skin regularly
- Wash your mask after each use
Cleanse your face twice a day
The most basic skincare habits have gone for a complete toss during the lockdown. Dr Pallavi recommends washing your face twice a day using a glycolic or salicylic acid-based cleanser. “If you have acne-prone skin, it is important to use a face wash that will tackle problems like excessive oil production, clogged pores and can kill acne-causing bacteria. If you have dry or sensitive skin, opt for a mild cleanser that is free from harsh chemicals,” she says. The Simple Kind To Skin Refreshing Face Wash is free from baddies and suitable for every skin type.
Wear breathable cotton masks
Another important thing to consider is the fabric of the mask you’re wearing. Dr Pallavi recommends wearing cotton masks. Reserve the surgical and N-95 masks for those who really need it — frontline health workers. "Soft cotton masks, which are breathable and can be worn for a long time are perfect. While the mask should be snug on all sides, make sure it is not too tight as this will lead to problems like skin irritation,” says Dr Sule.
Avoid heavy-duty skincare and makeup products
“Avoid wearing heavy makeup and highly pigmented lipsticks under the mask to prevent clogging of pores and breakouts,” says Dr Pallavi. Give your heavy-duty skincare and makeup products a break and opt for a lightweight daily moisturiser with SPF 30. The Ponds White Beauty Sun Protection Day Cream SPF 30 will hydrate your skin and prevent other mask related issues like chafing and tan lines from bothering you.
Exfoliate your skin regularly
It’s important to exfoliate your face to keep your skin looking healthy and problem-free.“Wearing face masks for a long duration leads to clogged pores and breakouts — this can be avoided by using a gentle scrub twice a week,” says Dr Sule. Alternatively, you can exfoliate your skin daily using a mild formula such as the Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant to help get rid of dead skin cells that are often responsible for breakouts.
Wash your mask after each use
Masks provide the perfect humid environment for bacteria to grow on our skin — this combined with oil, dirt and sweat is a recipe for disaster. “If you’re wearing reusable cotton masks, wash the mask with a mild soap or disinfectant after each use, this will prevent breakouts as well as skin irritation.”