Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Your face might begin to itch unbearably after donning a mask for a tad too long, so much so the temptation to simply rip it off altogether just to scratch around and breathe properly overwhelms - ever felt like that before? Well you are not alone, obviously.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to intensify in many countries around the world, wearing surgical masks to guard against infections has become quite necessary. In fact, legislation requiring all individuals to do so whenever he/she is patronizing public spaces has since been enacted in Singapore.
Surgical masks no doubt are to a large extent effective in curbing the spread of the virus, then again uncomfortable side effects associated with prolonged use could give rise to Maskne, a novel form of acne caused by constant masking up.
How do surgical masks trigger acne and breakouts on your face?
Image courtesy of ChannelNewsAsia
For starters, your skin may be sensitive to the fabric from which the mask itself is constructed. Constant friction between mask and face also damages the outer protective layer of your skin, consequently causing pimples to form more easily. Adjusting your mask regularly over the day also contributes to further irritation as your hands might have unknowingly touched your face, in the process introducing dust and bacteria.
Separately, wearing fabric masks that contain bleaching ingredients (used for whitening/coloring purposes) can deplete the skin’s natural oils, unfortunately. Fabric softeners and detergents commonly employed in washing reusable cloth masks on the other hand may clog pores, subsequently exacerbating affairs.
2. Accumulated sweat, makeup and oil is a recipe for disaster
Imagine accumulating a mixture of trapped sweat, makeup and oil under one small protective flap throughout the day while those poor pores of yours struggle to breathe. As a result sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce more sebum, which in turn lead to clogged pores and well, acne.
3. Built-up of moisture encourages bacteria growth
When you breathe and speak concurrently over a period of time, moisture built up beneath is likely to encourage bacterial growth, and you probably know what happens thereafter.
Since ditching the mask is entirely out of the question at least here in Singapore, we should find ways to protect our skin and yet still stay safe from the virus.
1. Create a protective barrier between skin and mask
A simple and effective skin-care routine – double cleansing, followed by the use of both toner and moisturizer helps lock in moisture on your face. In addition, do not forget to hydrate regularly as this significantly fortifies your skin's barrier function!
On the above basis, My Cozy Room recommends gentle and simple formulas such as Dr. Spiller's Herbal Cleansing Gel, which cleanses and clarifies blemish-prone skin, mitigates inflammation and delivers a balanced complexion. Sebum production is also reduced, thus allowing for pimples to heal more easily.
2. Stay Makeup-free
Trust us when we say it’s really best for your pores to breathe during this period of time. Given more than half of your face is covered by the mask, you can do away completely with applying that foundation and concealer, thereby saving a good 20 minutes every morning! Don’t forget to apply Dr. Spiller's Aloe Vera Eye Repair Ampoules to revitalize those dark circles and tired eyes though.
3. Heal your skin with acne-targeting products
If you have acne-prone or combination/oily skin, do consider acne-targeting products to minimize incidence of pimple clusters caused by sensitive triggers.
My Cozy Room recommends our dermatologically tested Acne Drying Lotion, which helps to soothe troubled skin and dries up pimples effectively. Specially formulated to work hand-in-hand with My Cozy Room’s Award-Winning Premium Pore Extraction Facial, this doubles as an emergency weapon against sudden breakouts, especially if you are unable to set aside time for facial treatments in the immediate future.
4. Wash reusable masks thoroughly with gentle detergents
If you possess sensitive skin, try to opt for gentle, fragrance-free detergents when washing reusable masks. Do avoid using softeners too!
5. Seek better mask alternatives
Consider purchasing something soft (100% cotton) and natural sans excessive colorants.
You may also wish to check out self-suction filtering respirators, which are essentially food-grade silicon masks and can be conveniently disinfected by boiling water.
6. Go for professional facial treatments regularly
Last but not least, it’s of paramount importance to go for a professional facial treatment every 2-3 weeks to clear clogged pores as well as treat them persistently stubborn acne!
My Cozy Room’s Award-Winning Premium Anti-Acne LED Facial Treatment specially caters to folks plagued with severe acne or congested pores. Administered by our skillful therapists, your skin is suitably exposed to blue LED light which has been proven effective in obliterating acne-causing bacteria, thus yielding clearer, blemish-free outcomes.
Until the fight against the novel coronavirus is truly won, we shall have little choice but to contend with wearing masks. It’s inevitable that potential skin issues will arise while doing so; then again adequate prevention measures undertaken is key to ensuring no permanent complications manifest.