We have found ourselves in a time where wearing a mask when we leave our home is now compulsory here in Melbourne, Australia. With this, we are seeing and hearing of people trying to overcome acne in the mask region- maskne. While removing the aggravating factor is normally something we would start with- we can not and do not want to do that. So here are some things you can do to help control and prevent acne caused by wearing your mask.
1. Cleanse, tone, moisturise
Starting the day with a super clean face with unclogged pores is a really good move. This stops the accumulative build-up of dirt and oil as each day goes by, reducing the amount of aggravating nasties in your skin. Miranda Kerr recommends double cleansing- that is, cleansing twice. Follow this by applying a toner. This will refresh your skin and prime it to absorb and soak up your moisturiser. Next, apply your moisturiser. This will allow your skin to be hydrated and not dry, priming you for healthy skin before you put your mask on. Do this routine at the end of the day too. This will remove the build-up of oils and dirt that have accumulated over the day. We recommend Jacqueline Evans Skincare range for a cleanser, toner, and moisturiser which is formulated by a clinical naturopath and nutritionist. These products are great as they do not contain any parabens or harmful chemicals that can further irritate your skin.
2. Clean mask
Start the day with a clean mask and change it regularly. This will stop the build-up of oil and dirt in the mask that can further irritate your skin. If you are using reusable masks, be sure to clean them in hot water and get all of the oils from your skin out of your mask.
3. Stay hydrated
We are in the middle of winter here and typically you may find it hard to keep your fluids up. When you allow yourself to be dehydrated, your skin becomes dehydrated. Dehydrated skin becomes a breeding ground for bacteria because of the overproduction of oils. Be sure to consume 1.5-2 litres of water a day. Your water content is also counted when you have a herbal tea, tea, or coffee. Coffee is dehydrating. So if the aim is to be hydrated, lay off the coffee and substitute with a hot cacao or herbal tea- particularly a green tea as it is high in antioxidants which is great for your skin.
4. Use a facial clay mask
Mask up in a different way at night! Apply a rejuvenating skin mask over your whole to clear your pores. This will help to fight your maskne and leave your skin ready for your next day. We recommend Jacqueline Evans Green Clay & Ginger Detox Mask. Green tea is high in antioxidants, flavonoids, and tannins which are likely to help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation- the two main causes of acne.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis Virginians) is an astringent herb cultivated for the use on skin. Its astringent properties allow it to tighten and contract the skin cells, preventing dirt from entering into the pores. It has been used for centuries as a remedy for a variety of skin conditions including skin inflammation and irritation. Witchhazel is available from your local chemist or health food store.
6. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains several organic acids that have been shown to kill P. acnes. The bacteria are responsible for acne. It contains succinic acid has been shown to suppress inflammation caused by P. acnes, which may prevent scarring. Apple cider vinegar may also help dry up the excess oil that causes acne in the first place.
How to use it
- Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water (use more water for sensitive skin).
- After cleansing, gently apply the mixture to the skin using a cotton ball.
- Let sit for 5–20 seconds, rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat this process 1–2 times per day, as needed.
Applying apple cider vinegar to your skin, especially undiluted, can cause burns and irritation. Always use small amounts and diluted with water.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is required for many aspects of our body systems. One system zinc is essential for is your skin. It has an anti-inflammatory effect allowing it to reduce inflammation in your skin caused by wearing a mask. It also has the ability to help viruses and bacteria that can accumulate in your pores. There are many foods that are rich in zinc that can be added to your daily nutrition. These include
- pumpkin seeds
- dairy products
- fortified cereals
- red meat
- whole grains
A zinc supplement can also be added to your daily routine. It is important to note that there is a daily maximum intake of zinc.
- Age. Male. Female Pregnancy Lactation
- 0–6 months. 2 mg 2 mg
- 7–12 months. 3 mg. 3 mg
- 1–3 years. 3 mg. 3 mg
- 4–8 years. 5 mg. 5 mg
- 9–13 years. 8 mg. 8 mg
- 14–18 years. 11 mg. 9 mg. 12 mg 13 mg
- 19+ years. 11 mg 8 mg 11 mg 12 mg
A zinc intake higher than daily recommended levels can interfere with healthy (HDL) cholesterol levels, lower your copper levels, and also lower your immunity. If you are concerned about your zinc level or would like to explore this, Dr. Rebecca Farthing, Osteopath & Naturopath will be able to help you.
8. Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying a diluted 5% formula of tea tree oil to the skin has been shown to effectively reduce acne. Using a diluted solution as spot treatment on your maskne may be beneficial
How to Use It
- Mix 1 part tea tree oil with 9 parts of water.
- Dip a cotton swab into the mixture and apply it to the affected areas.
- Apply moisturizer if desired.
- Repeat this process 1–2 times per day, as needed.
9. Clean eating
Eating processed foods and foods that are high in trans fats, sugar, and carbohydrates has been shown to increase your likelihood of acne. Foods such as high GI carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats, along with dairy are all foods that can stimulate the production of hormones which increase the production of oils in your skin, leading to an increase in the oil in your skin and which leads to the accumulation of bacteria in your pores. Swapping these foods for whole foods such as meats, vegetables, and fruits may reduce your maskne.
10. Exercise regularly
Going for a walk, doing yoga, or moving in any way that you like helps improve the flow of your lymphatic system. This allows the waste in your body to be excreted via the bladder, the gut, or your skin. Exercise promotes good lymphatic flow and waste removal. Meaning, you have less congestion in your lymphatic system and less of a backlog of waste removal. This may be beneficial in reducing the build-up in your skin and reduce your maskne. Exercise is also an opportunity for you to be exposed to vitamin D. It has been shown that people that suffer from acne, are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. Getting out there and improving your vitamin D levels is also another way to prevent and help your maskne.
Preventing and helping your maskne requires a multifaceted approach. Concentrating on great nutrition, exercise, and a skincare regime is a really good start to helping to reduce the amount of acne in the mask region. If you have maskne and would like further advice, Dr. Rebecca Farthing, Osteopath & Naturopath is available for you to help with your concerns.
Disclaimer: This blog post is an educational tool only. It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.
Any other questions not answered here? Get in touch with us!
Phone: (03) 97738085
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/#:~:text=Oysters%20contain%20more%20zinc%20per,products%20%5B2%2C11%5D.
- New Perspectives on Antiacne Plant Drugs: Contribution to Modern Therapeutics: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4132408/
- The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17314442/
- Over-the-counter Acne Treatments: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3366450/
- Antimicrobial effects of green tea polyphenols on thermophilic spore-forming bacteria: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1389172300800389
- The efficacy of topical 2% green tea lotion in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19363854/
- Preliminary evidence for vitamin D deficiency in nodulocystic acne: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4580068/