Masks are back. For those of us who live in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, they never went away. But news is only news if it happens in England, right? It does mean that more people in the UK will once again begin to suffer from more spots and skin problems on the lower part of their face, because of more mask wearing. We spoke to one of our experts to find out how best to avoid and treat the return of maskne.
It's undeniable that people who have never really suffered from spots before are experiencing more outbreaks thanks to constant face mask wearing. Indeed, many practitioners are reporting they're still helping to resolve the scars from the previous maskne phenomena.
My aesthetic colleagues and I have seen a steep rise in patients requesting help with their skin - the presenting complaint being maskne. Many are experiencing breakouts and not all of them have had spot prone skin or acne in the past.
The medical term for maskne is acne mechanica, a skin condition that is brought on by prolonged wearing of personal protective equipment on the face - often for hours on end. The close contact of masks with our skin, in combination with a warm moist environment between our skin and the mask, can cause breakouts, skin irritation, acne and soreness.
So maskne is real! Is it different from acne?
Acne occurs in the sebaceous follicle, which is a large sebaceous gland. Hormones increase the size of the gland, leading to increased sebum production, pores become blocked and can trap Propionibacterium Acne (P.Acne) bacteria, causing acne.
However, maskne has a mechanical cause - multiple contact points between our skin and the mask causing a build up of warmth, sweat and friction, which, in turn, leads to inflammation that can block pores and lead to breakouts.
While we all have to wear masks, what can people do to minimise the chances of getting maskne?
One thing people can do to avoid maskne is to change their disposable masks regularly and wash their reusable masks.
Another thing is to ditch the heavy makeup. If you feel you have to wear makeup, go light! Heavy makeup increases the chances of clogged pores and breakouts.
What treatments, products and ingredients should people be thinking about to help clear up maskne?
I would definitely recommend properly cleansing your skin twice a day. For my patients, I recommend Obagi Clenziderm Foaming Wash with 2% salicylic acid, which helps unclog pores and washes away dead skin cells.
Also, use an exfoliator at least three times a week, chemical exfoliators are gentler on the skin than scrubs. A good exfoliator reduces sebum production, pore size and blackheads.
Finally, hydrate your skin! Oily skin needs moisture too, and it’s important to remember that you are replacing the water not oil.
Chemical peels are a way of deeply exfoliating the skin. They typically contain acids of varying strengths and types which remove the sun damaged, thicker, outer layers of dead skin. Chemical peels can be used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, age spots, sun damage and acne scarring, resulting in smoother, more even skin. This may be a good treatment option for anyone who has scars left from previous maskne episodes.
Microneedling uses multiple fine, sterile needles to puncture the skin with microscopic channels. This intentional, controlled injury initiates a skin healing response, resulting in the increased production of collagen and elastin. The end result is thicker, plumper, firmer, smoother skin. Additionally, skincare products are able to penetrate more deeply into the skin, making them more effective.
While Profhilo won't treat maskne, it's a treatment that is recommended for adults who feel their skin has begun to sag, lose overall volume and fullness. Profhilo is an injectable skin treatment made from highly concentrated, highly purified hyaluronic acid (HA), which spreads underneath your skin and hydrates and plumps from the inside out.
Book your Profhilo on Glowday. Find someone near you right here.
Who Can Help Me With My Skin Issues?
If you're struggling with skin issues then aesthetics experts like Claire should be your first port of call. Don't try and solve it yourself by buying expensive products from Boots - it's unikely they will work and often you'll make the issue worse. Far from being professionals who simply administer Botox and Fillers, medical aesthetic professionals are, usually, extraordinarily well trained in skincare. They'll work with some of the best medical grade skincare manufacturers in the world, and will truly understand skin issues and skin types and how best to treat them.