Skin irritation caused by mask wearing can be avoided by following the right skincare routine.
Photograph: Ohlamour Studio/Stocksy United
Most of us are masking up to protect ourselves from Covid-19. But despite being an essential weapon in the fight against the pandemic, this latest addition to our wardrobe has led to many of us experiencing skin irritation and blemishes – even those who usually enjoy balanced skin.
According to consultant dermatologist and SkinCeuticals expert Dr Emma Craythorne, while our skin’s protective function is naturally quite good at maintaining itself, “[our] facial skin is not used to being covered for prolonged periods of time, particularly with something tight against it”.
Craythorne says that our skin’s microbiome, which maintains its natural barrier function to keep skin balanced and comfortable, can be negatively affected by masks. “The rubbing, increase in temperature and humidity, and subsequent microbiome change can start to cause an imbalance in our skin and we can run into problems.”
“Maskne” – mask acne – is different from ostensibly similar conditions that we might be more familiar with and confident about tackling, such as acne or dermatitis. According to research by the Singaporean dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin, it’s prominent around the “O-zone” – the relatively large area of our faces that a mask covers, mostly around the mouth, nose and chin area. Craythorne confirms that she has certainly seen a recent increase in patients with mask-induced irritation and blemishes, but believes there are things we can do to help our skin to manage better.
Finding ways to help prevent and reduce signs of maskne is central to keeping skin looking its best and feeling comfortable, as well as to maximising comfort while wearing your mask. Craythorne advises that “silk is a very comfortable and water-resistant fabric, particularly natural silk. It is also very effective in reducing the spread of disease. It rubs on the skin much less and as a consequence many of the rubbing-related dermatoses can be negated. Using a cloth mask that you change on a daily basis and wash with a laundry detergent for sensitive skin is helpful, too.”
Once we have the right masks, tackling maskne mostly comes down to an appropriate daily skincare routine that targets blemishes in the mask area, but also works on the textural and pigmentation issues that blemishes usually leave behind even after they have cleared up.
Finding over-the-counter products that can offer clinically proven, effective results can be challenging. So too can identifying which ingredients are best suited to a skin issue that is so new, especially if skin ageing is a concern as well as the blemishes, dullness and oiliness associated with maskne.
Given that maskne is associated with a compromised skin barrier, overloading the skin with a lot of products isn’t practical or comfortable – especially if you wear makeup, or need to quickly apply your skincare in the morning and then put on your mask. SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF is a premium triple antioxidant vitamin C serum formulated especially for oily, blemish-prone skin. The serum took scientists more than six years to develop and is clinically proven to reduce oil oxidation in the skin – which contributes to blemishes – by up to 76%*.
As a doctor-founded brand, SkinCeuticals is widely known as an industry leader in scientifically robust, research-based antioxidant skincare. Silymarin CF is a rare breed among vitamin C serums, in that it offers environmental protection and works to prevent free radical damage. It improves the visible signs of premature skin ageing as well as diminishing excess oiliness and blemishes.
While the skin benefits of topical vitamin C are widely understood, Silymarin CF has a unique formulation, utilising high potency 15% L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) in conjunction with a blend of powerful antioxidants to help neutralise skin-damaging free radicals. Derived from milk thistle, silymarin is a natural antioxidant. It prevents oil oxidation, making it ideal to incorporate into your skincare routine if maskne has become an issue. As well as 0.5% silymarin, Silymarin CF also includes 0.5% ferulic acid, and 0.5% salicylic acid. The formula helps protect against oxidative stress and reduce the appearance of blemishes while refining pores for smoother skin texture and less unwanted shine throughout the day.
This potent serum is not just effective at targeting pigmentation from previous blemishes, but visibly improves skin too. Subjects in a clinical study demonstrated noticeable positive changes in their skin, including an improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Maskne can be daunting – brought about by a complex interplay of dryness, blemishes and pigmentation scarring. Silymarin CF is a changemaking formulation, working to keep skin in optimal condition, so that it feels comfortable and looks its best, even under your mask.
Discover the skincare for you with SkinCeuticals’ antioxidant finder
*Clinical study, 35 subjects (China, 2020)
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.