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5 Tips on Handling “Maskne”

As we all (hopefully) are doing our diligent service in wearing a mask when we go into spaces that we cannot safely socially distance, we got to become more intentional about taking care of our skin. “Maskne” has become a thing to worry about, especially after this hot ass summer we experienced. “Maskne” is medically known as acne mechanica, “a skin condition brought on by prolonged wear of facial personal protective equipment.”

From Loma Linda University: “Masks impose heat, friction and occlusion on the skin and when combined with a moist environment from breathing, talking or sweating, this is a recipe for breakouts [...] Pores get clogged and can become pimples or acne cysts. On top of that, the prolonged occlusion, heat and sweat can cause the skin to become dry, itchy and raw.”

Follow these 5 tips below so that you can get that face right while also staying safe during this pandemic.

Wash your face regularly.

On really hot days especially, I like to wash my face before and after wearing a mask with a gentle all natural turmeric, ginger and lemon bar soap that helps to pull out any impurities that are in the pores of my skin. Since it’s getting cooler though, I’ll probably be okay with just washing my face one time before putting the mask on. It’s important not to go overboard on washing your face so that you are not stripping your skin of its natural oils. Similarly, try to use a cleanser that is free of fragrance and oils.

Use the right products; secure your routine!

The following steps come directly from my fellow Seeds writer Taya Ingram’s article. Click here to find more detailed information on how to build your own skin care routine.

Cleanse. Like I said above, wash your face with an all natural soap.

Exfoliate. Limit this to once or a few times a week. As Dr. Dendy Engelman explains, too many exfoliants, scrubs and acids “are the bad guys.”

Tone. Rose water, witch hazel and rice water are the most popular toners. Whatever you do though, child, please do not use Mario Badescu products (issa scam). Luckily for you, Soulita carries one of these toners: Rose Water.

Moisturize. Having a hydrating moisturizer will help build a strong barrier between your skin and your mask.

Sunscreen. Not directly related to wearing masks, but still, do it.

Treat yourself to a more skin-friendly mask.

Most of us, including me, are using reusable cotton masks or the single-use disposable masks. I do own one mask that is lined with a silk-like fabric which I can say has a much more gentle interaction with my skin than the two aforementioned materials. Real silk masks may not be as useful because silk is often not a machine washer friendly fabric. If accessing a silkier lined mask is difficult, then make sure you are always washing your cotton masks between each use. Cotton traps a lot of dirt and oil which can “become the breeding ground for bacteria from your nose to your mouth” (Potts 2020) and onto your skin.

Stay hydrated!

You knew it was coming. Are you drinking enough water? It’s been too damn hot this summer for folks to be breathing through masks and walking around dehydrated! Stop it. Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go, and sip safely of course. Dehydration can be the root of many acne breakouts; so one can imagine that the likelihood of breakouts doubles when you’re dehydrated and also wearing a mask on a regular basis. Hydrating also comes in the form of moisturizing your skin to help build a protective barrier on your skin. Dr. Alicia Yoon told Elle magazine, “you need products for the barrier and calming ingredients. It’s all about getting that barrier back intact." Yoon recommends creams, or a skin care regimen with “jojoba, squalene, or ceramides to help repair the barrier.”

Stay TF home :)

I know some of y’all don’t wanna hear this one, but we are still in a pandemic, friends. Stay home, or at least sit outside somewhere where no one else will bother you. I empower you all to safely find the means to go outdoors and be around people you love. However, keep in mind that the virus and those pimples and breakouts will not go away if you don’t make at least a minor effort to decrease your outside/social activities. We are all collectively struggling to find joy in these confining times, but do your skin a favor every so often and just stay home, put on some music, or binge watch Girlfriends, drink some tea and let your skin breathe.

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