There are seriously so many reasons to be annoyed with this whole global pandemic situation, but this mask acne has got to be one of the worst things about it (aside from the actual virus itself, I guess). I think for me, it’s especially annoying since I still feel like I semi-recently finished up Accutane and finally got to a point of feeling comfortable in their skin… and now it’s all flared back up. It’s been a serious struggle trying to change up my skincare routine again to cater to this kind of acne since I’m wearing a mask for about 11-12 hours out of my day. I’m not sure that there’s any one specific “cure” for mask acne, but here have been my primary focuses that have seemed to help in the last couple of weeks.
1. Keep your hands off your face
This is probably one of the hardest ones for me because I sit at a desk all day where I’m usually working on some studying or staring at a computer and I’m always catching myself resting the left side of my chin on my hand. Well, guess where the majority of my pimples are? lol. Once I stopped touching my face so much, especially where my mask is, my acne started getting better.
2. Clean your mask as much as possible
I know this is just a standard hygiene thing anyway, but just so I can say I reminded y’all lol. There’s no telling how many nasties are in/on your mask and rubbing up against your skin. I only get to do laundry once a week (yay for no washer/dryer in unit at my new place!) so I try and make sure I’m cycling through the masks I have as best I can until I can get them washed.
3. avoid makeup under your mask
I personally have gotten to a point where I’m not wearing much makeup in the first place, but you can pretty much bet that the times that I have and had to wear a mask for an extended amount of time, I started breaking out almost immediately. Makeup is already going to dirty-up your pores, and that in combination with all the sweat + humidity from your breath/the weather trapped underneath your mask is just a recipe for pimples.
4. USE micellar water
I will never not swear by micellar water. It’s my favorite thing to wipe my face down with after workouts, and now for whenever I’m done wearing my mask. You can use it by itself or after you’ve washed your face with a regular cleanser – the latter would probably be best, but something is definitely better than nothing. Micellar water is made using purified water and mild surfactants that join together to form micelles, which helps pull dirt and oil from the skin, so it’s been a game changer for my skin. I try and wipe down my face both midday and in the evenings to try and keep my face clean and prevent an all-day buildup of dirt/oils in my pores.
5. maintain an inside + out skincare routine
This is kind of a lot of “tips” combined into one lol. For me, this entire concept means keeping up with my skincare supplements (probiotic, hyaluronic acid, ashwagandha), drinking water, acne medication, clean diet (usually avoiding gluten and dairy), and topical skincare. I had to start incorporating some salicylic acid pads + spot treatment into my routine to help with acne prevention.
EDIT 9/16/20: At first I thought moisturizing would be key, but I have since come to find out that using serums and moisturizers in the morning before I go into a full day of wearing my mask had actually been making my acne worse. I have normal to oily skin, so maybe that’s why, but I would try and limit moisturizing products to the evenings to help with dryness + irritation after the fact. I think the increased moisture from lotions + my breathing in a mask all day was making it worse.
I know whatever helps my skin might not necessarily help everyone else’s because skincare is never one-size-fits-all, but here’s hoping that it helps! I think the hardest part is being patient and taking the time to notice the patterns and habits (or lack thereof) that might be causing the breakouts in the first place, because having the mask on definitely intensifies the impact those patterns have on your skin.