I don’t know about you lot, but wearing a mask has meant a couple (a lot) of acne appearing around my mouth. I’m not mad about it, ‘cos the mask covers it anyway, but I also can’t stop playing with it because I am a child who has no self-control. So look, if you’re in the same boat and want to a) prevent future breakouts and b) take care of your skin, here’s what you can do.
Why the breakouts, though?
Breakouts are the result of environmental factors that are egged on by friction, heat, or pressure.
Zoe Devine, an expert at cosmedical skincare brand Skinstitut, said wearing a face mask can create the ideal environment for those small red bumps to form.
“The warm moist air is trapped under the face mask and the friction can cause clogged pores and breakouts,” she said.
How can you prevent it?
Let’s break it down.
GOOD HYGIENE (DUH)
“You must follow strict hygiene practices when wearing masks and ensure you change your mask every four hours,” Sylvia Down, clinic practitioner at Skin Renu, said.
CHANGE YOUR MASK FREQUENTLY
“If you notice any dampness within the mask you should change it immediately, however if you use a reusable mask it’s best to wash it daily for maximum hygiene,” Down said.
Also, try to pay attention to where you store your mask when you’re not wearing it, so it doesn’t attract more bacteria to its cloth surface.
“If you wear a mask for a long period of time at work, washing your face with a clean face towel and reapplying your moisturiser regularly will help to avoid bacteria build up during the day.”
AVOID FRAGRANCED SKINCARE
Down also advised against fragranced skincare products, which can trigger inflammation. Also, try and avoid using makeup in the masked area.
DON’T FORGET TO MOISTURISE
Apply moisturiser (a lightweight one if your skin leans towards the oilier side) to the areas around your face that are most likely to be affected. It’ll act like a nourishing barrier between your skin and the fabric.
“It’s important to keep the surface of the skin clean,” Nicola Kropach from Aesthetics Rx skincare said.
So use a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil, perspiration, and makeup on the skin.
USE SALICYLIC ACID
Kropach also recommended products with salicylic acid to gently exfoliate the pores / break down all the grime and dead skin cells that could lead to congestion and bacterial overgrowth.
But again, it’s super important to moisturise the area around your mouth – especially at night, when you can let your skin breathe – to combat pressure, chaffing, and rubbing.
What’s so bad about rubbing, you ask? Well, it can mess up your skin’s ability to protect itself, which would make it vulnerable to bacteria.
How can I treat it?
It’s pretty much the same deal. Keep it clean, let it breathe.
“Be sure to cleanse your face daily and apply calming products to help soothe any irritation on the skin,” Down added.
For chaffing, try a soothing aloe vera gel or a moisturiser that you know works with your skin type.
What if it leaves a mark?
While she believes that laser treatments are the best for healing, there are products you can try as well.
“A prescription strength Vitamin A can help treat scarring – it fades and softens the scarring and would be my first step recommendation,” she said.
For an at-home option, Petroni recommended Ultraceuticals Ultra A Skin Perfecting Serum. This baby contains all the benefits of Vitamin A, plus its formulation is also a natural anti-inflammatory to reduce redness and flaking.
Best of both words, I say.Image: Rupaul's Drag Race