Mask skin tips with Louise Thomas
What is Mask-Ne?
Mask-Ne is a skin disorder that has really come about over this last year with the Pandemic and the fact that we are all having to wear masks as a part of our daily lives. This has led to some people displaying acneic behaviour in the areas where they are wearing masks – so around the chin. It’s mainly prevalent in front line workers who are wearing PPE all.
Why do masks give rise to outbreaks?
By wearing a mask, you are closing off the skin and breathing into it – creating a warm environment which will open skin follicles whilst keeping bacteria in. This allows the build up of oils and in turn, of open and closed commoheads as the skin cannot eliminate is it should do. The mask also creates an element of friction on the skin which will cause the cells to become overstimulated over time.
Is there anything I can do to prevent Mask-Ne?
Louise recommends washing your mask after every wear and changing your mask as often as possible.
Unfortunately, there are no specific masks or fabrics that will help prevent Mask-Ne. Anything you’re doing where you’re covering the skin is a bit like a plaster. You could opt for a more breathable cotton which you can wash regularly. If you can’t change your mask as much as you’d like, try and go make-up free is you can and change your mask as soon as the opportunity arises.
What can I do if I am a front-line worker and need to wear a mask for a long period?
You can prepare the skin for a long day of wearing a mask by making sure it’s well-cleansed. As we’re creating a humidified environment which is a breading ground for bacteria by wearing a mask, we need to make sure that the skin is as strong as we can with lipid barrier protection. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you do not over cleanse, your skin shouldn’t feel tight or squeak. Louise recommends keeping it simple and leaving out any actives from you skincare routine. Perhaps incorporate some hydrolauric acid and a lipid-rich moisturiser that contains soothing, calming ingredients. You could also get a hydrating mist to give your skin a bit of extra moisture when you get a break.
Do you recommend wearing makeup under your mask?
I would recommend going makeup free. Imagine a thick, heavy layer of foundation with a mask on. Every time you breathe out, you are creating a warm environment which will open up your pores and push makeup into the skin.
Would the facial steamer help reduce Mask-Ne?
In the time when you’re not wearing a mask and want to treat your skin – yes. Panasonic’s Facial Steamer features Nano technology which means that the steam particles are much finer and they penetrate into the skin a lot better. If you’re working from home all the time and trying to keep warm by turning up the heating, the atmosphere becomes really drying. So, Louise likes to use the Steamer to humidify the atmosphere. It’s also nice to have on while cleansing as the Nano particles will give you some extra hydration as well.
Should I add any extra steps into my skincare routine?
Louise recommends that you dial things down rather than up. There’s the temptation to overtreat any outbreaks. However, if you’re wearing a mask for long periods you want to keep things simple, it’s not the time to start dabbling in new actives if you’re wearing a mask constantly.
How many times should I use the steamer per week?
If you’re using the steamer to humidify the atmosphere, you can use it everyday if you’re working from home as it’s great to have on in the background. If you’re using it directly on the skin, it will depend on your skin type but for most people twice a week is more than adequate.
What if I’m not going out enough for it to be Mask-Ne?
It could be stress related, stress effects your hormones which in turn causes outbreaks. It could also be a lack of sleep. Our bodies and skin cannot repair and recover without adequate sleep. If you’re stressed or lacking sleep, the lipid barrier which protects our skin is the first thing to go. So, you might find that your skin is more sensitive which means that if you’re going to try anything new, you need to introduce it gradually.