Do's and Don'ts of Maskne: What I Learned the Hard Way
My skin’s never been perfect, but I’m usually able to control my breakouts as much as possible. Right when I found the PERFECT routine, COVID struck. I wear my mask anywhere and everywhere (and you should too), but I never thought about the effects it could have on my skin. I’m talking acne that would even bruise and keep me up at night because laying on my face meant sharp pain.
After many sleepless nights and trying everything I could, here’s how I’ve learned to combat maskne and my biggest mistakes.
(DISCLAIMER: I’m not a licensed esthetician, just a skin-care enthusiast)
The most important step in all of this is finding out your skin type. Is it sensitive? Oily? Combination? Dry? Dehydrated? There are so many different skin types and finding out which one matches yours is the first step.
In my case, I lean more towards combination skin, which means I’m oily in some places and extremely dry in others. When I started breaking out because of masks, I realized it was in the drier parts of my skin, so I had to find products that helped keep my dry skin moisturized but didn’t trigger my oily skin.
By finding out what your skin type is you can easily find products that feed your skin’s needs.
If this sounds like a foreign language to you, here are some videos that helped me figure out my skin type.
I cannot stress this enough, do NOT bombard your skin with products thinking you need every active ingredient in the world to combat your maskne.
I thought I needed to chemically exfoliate every day, twice a day, and use every oil on the market. I’m talking a BHA facial wash and AHA/BHA toner every...single...day...
What it ended up doing was destroying my skin’s protective barrier and making it even more sensitive. The moment the mask came on I could feel it rubbing on my skin like sandpaper and a few days later, the pimples showed up.
Instead of stripping your skin with harsh chemical exfoliants, focus on moisturizing it. By keeping your skin moisturized and plump, you can rebuild your skin barrier and protect it more against the bacteria that grows from masks.
You can chemically exfoliate, but leave it to 2-3 times a week and switch to a moisturizing cleanser. If your cleanser leaves you with tight skin, it’s doing more harm than good.
I recently switched to a moisturizing cleanser, followed by a moisturizing essence, serum, and then basic moisturizer and after a few weeks, I saw AND felt the difference.
Here are some of my favorite hydrating products:
KRAVE Beauty Matcha Hemp Cleanser ($16):
This is a jelly cleanser that forms a nice foam. By using matcha and hemp seed oil, your face is getting a deep clean while receiving lots of benefits like amino acids and antioxidants.
CERAVE Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($14.56):
Packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid, your skin will keep its moisture and bounce without feeling tight or stripped. It says it’s for normal to dry skin, but I’ve got friends and family with oily skin that said this helped calm their acne.
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin ($21):
This essence has become my holy grail. It gives me that glass skin effect while healing skin. It also triggers the growth of new skin cells to help keep your skin looking youthful.
KRAVE Beauty Great Barrier Relief ($28)
Remember what I mentioned about repairing your skin barrier? Well, this serum is literally made for that. It has tamanu oil, rosehip oil, and safflower oil to calm the skin. It also has niacinamide which helps with discoloration and prevents acne. This really is an all-in-one serum that can also be used as a moisturizer!
If you’re using a reusable mask, don’t reuse it without washing it. At the very beginning, I thought I could wear the mask a couple of times before washing it, and then came the acne. I only had one reusable mask so I’d forget here and there to wash it until after my skin was crying for help.
After each use, I started washing my masks with detergent and hot water. Plus I bought a few more masks for those days I forgot to wash one. I immediately began seeing a change in my skin.
So basically, WASH! YOUR! MASKS!
Finally, if nothing’s working and your skin isn’t improving, do go see a dermatologist or a licensed specialist. They’ll know how to treat your skin better than anyone.
And if by any chance you don’t have access to a dermatologist, check out online resources like Curology that don't require insurance. I’ve been on Curology a few times, and they were able to give me a similar formula to what the dermatologist prescribed without needing a prescription.
The most important thing to take away from this post is to keep your skin hydrated and your mask clean. It’s always best to remember that less is more sometimes.