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Managing Maskne

Face masks aren’t new to us now. Perhaps if you’d walked into a shop last February and been confronted with hoards of people masked up you’d have had a few questions, however it’s now the norm for us.


A little bit like hankies, we have them in trouser pockets, hanging on our gearsticks’ and in a range of colours to co-ordinate with our outfits – but one think nobody seems to have cracked just yet is how to combat the dreaded maskne.


Actually now immortalized in the Collins Dictionary, ‘maskne’ is defined as:


an outbreak of pustules on the face due to the frequent or prolonged wearing of a mask

Lovely stuff. Even the clearest skin can be prone to skin flare ups due to a range of factors like stress or hormones, but breakouts due to masks are a whole other ball game.

For 26 years I’ve had clear skin with the occasional spot or blackhead on my chin – however in the past year I’ve dealt with more congestion on my cheeks than I ever thought possible!

The combination of makeup, sweat and any bacteria already on your face makes this a real recipe for disaster.


The secret to nipping this in the bud lies in tackling the bacteria early and trying to prevent it from taking hold within pores.


1. Keep your face mask clean.

This really goes without saying, but whipping masks on and off when going between places can allow all kinds of particles to take hold in our masks. On our faces they’d probably be pretty harmless – think of the pollution we encounter every day – but within the pressure-cooker environment of your face mask in the heat it can easily encourage bacteria to take hold within our pores. By making sure to wash your masks and rotate them regularly, you’re not only helping your own health, but the health of your skin too.


2. Keeping your skin clean

This doesn’t mean go hard at it with the rough side of a sponge (been there, done that) but ensuring that you’re cleaning the day off your skin adequately will decrease the chances of you dealing with recurring skin issues. Double cleansing has been around for a while but has been popularised in the few years by skincare icon Caroline Hirons, this doesn’t mean you need to strip your skin of oils and get it feeling squeaky clean – but it will naturally shift anything lurking within your pores and help to remove anything brewing.


3. Exfoliation is key

So many people will tell you that you’re doing the devils work for uttering the works ‘facial scrub’, but honestly – I’m here for a good physical exfoliant. Some of the more popular AHA or BHA toners out there do a great job, but are probably too strong for anyone who’s a total novice with acid exfoliation. These work by loosening the ‘glue’ on the cells on the surface of your skin, allowing these to be buffed away and showing brighter, smoother skin. Physical exfoliation gets a bad rep due to products like St Ives Apricot Scrub containing really harsh and irritating ingredients that actually damaged skin more than it cleared it. Exfoliation is a great way to clean pores and eradiate blackheads.


4. Clean your bedding

Well, duh. But seriously, our pillows harbour so much gunk that it doesn’t bear thinking about – we should be changing these far more frequently than we do. I include myself here.


5. Go makeup free

One of the easiest ways to cut down on the junk that can be clogging our pores even building up in the first place is by cutting down on the makeup we were. I actually have found this pretty easy due to a lack of social life, and the face that barely anyone sees my face anyway when I do go out! If this is an absurd notion to you, simple things like making sure to really clean your makeup brushes thoroughly can help to stop bacteria breeding and ending up on your face.


I’m not going to preach about not squeezing spots or extracting your own blackheads, because honestly I’m the worst for it – but as long as you know it’s not recommended you’ll be grand!


What are your own top tips for keeping skin clear through the remainder of mask wearing?

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