Wearing a face mask has now become mandatory in shops, supermarkets and takeaways. As important as this new accessory is, it can have a rather unfortunate side affect for those with sensitive skin; ‘maskne’.

‘Maskne’ or mask acne is the popular term for the breakouts caused by a face covering. When wearing a mask for extended periods of time, a warm and moist environment is created against your skin as your breath circulates. This can be as unpleasant as it sounds as it means that more bacteria is trapped and therefore causing clogged pores. On top of this, friction from the mask can irritate the skin and can have a drying effect.

However, wearing a mask to protect your self and others does not have to mean that you must compromise on healthy skin. Here are six easy changes you can make to your mask-wear and skincare regime to prevent the dreaded ‘maskne’.

1. Switch to a silk mask. More often than not, cotton masks can cause irritation to the skin, especially in the hot weather. A silk mask is breathable, cooling and doesn’t cause friction… they also happen to look extremely sophisticated.
2. Take a break from make-up. If you are happy to do so, now is the perfect time to give your skin a break from foundation, as it is more likely to clog pores if worn underneath a mask.
3. Use an antioxidant serum to protect the skin from pollutants and free radicals.
4. Incorporate an acid cleanser into your daily regime. Glycolic or salicylic acid are excellent for unclogging pores, preventing an overgrowth of bacteria and they can also improve skin texture. Make sure to choose a lower concentration if your skin is particularly sensitive.
5. Steam your face. When you have the time, steaming your face can be an excellent way to cleanse your skin. Do so before bed and you will also find yourself feeling relaxed and restful.
6. Wash your mask. It seems obvious, but has to be said. Regularly washing your reusable masks is the simplest way to ensure your are not exposing your skin to any unnecessary bacteria than may linger.

By Sophie Easton