Caring for Maskne in the Winter

Posted on January 27 2021

Maskne (mask-acne), scientifically known as acne mechanica, has been a trending beauty topic recently. In the winter when we normally have to deal with dry skin, we now have maskne to worry about! During this season, the two main concerns surrounding maskne are exacerbated: friction and moisture. Similar to the sensitive, red skin that can result from tissues and a runny nose, the friction between your skin and mask can irritate your skin and disrupt your skin barrier. The mask can also dry out your skin by absorbing the natural moisture on your face. The top layer also releases precious water when rubbed, making dry skin an even bigger concern in the winter. Friction and dry skin both contribute to an impaired skin barrier, making you more susceptible to the dreadful maskne! But now that we know two of the main culprits, targeting these concerns becomes a lot easier!

Reducing Friction

The first thing to think about when trying to reduce friction is to choose a mask that doesn’t rub and irritate the skin. If you are wearing masks often, it is a good idea to invest in a face mask that is more gentle on the skin and breathable, such as a silk mask, or one with similar texture to swimwear

Another option is to use a mask bracket to keep the mask away from your face. An advantage of this is that it can be used with a variety of masks, from reusable ones to disposable masks. With whatever you choose, just be sure to clean it regularly.

When thinking about reducing friction, it is also important to consider all other aspects of your daily life, not just your mask. Wash your winter scarf regularly, and consider switching to one made of a softer material, like fleece or cashmere. For those inevitable runny nose days, use a soft handkerchief or tissue infused with lotion. And as for your skincare, avoid scrubbing your face by using foam cleansers to avoid direct contact with your skin. We already mentioned the benefits of washing your face with foam in another article, so click here to learn more! When applying additional products such as toner, skip the cotton pad and use your hands instead.

Biore Marshmallow Whip Rich Moisture Facial Wash available at Cosme Hunt

This Biore face wash from Cosme Hunt comes with a pump that will create the foam for you. As mentioned before, foam cleansing will decrease the friction your skin is subject to on a daily basis, decreasing irritation and the chances of maskne. There are two types available: one for normal/combination skin and one for dry/normal skin. This one pictured targets dry skin in particular, which you might want to try out during winter.

Bifesta Cleansing Foam Moist available at Cosme Hunt

Cosme Hunt also offers different types of cleansing foams from Bifesta! Similar to the Biore face wash, the packaging creates the foam for you. There are three kinds available: one for acne-prone skin, one specifically to moisturize the skin, and one to brighten the skin. The one pictured is aimed towards moisturizing, which can help with maskne this winter.

Keeping the skin moisturized

Keeping your skin moisturized reduces friction as well as deals with the dry skin that comes with winter and wearing a mask. If possible, it is a good idea to remove your mask in a secluded area periodically to ventilate the skin. Some recommend taking a 15 minute mask break every 4 hours when you’re outdoors and at least six feet away from others or alone in your car. When doing so, use a moisturizing mist to keep your skin hydrated when you’re out and about to replace the moisture that evaporated due to the winter air as well as the mask.

Shiseido Hadasui Skin Spray available at Cosme Hunt

This toner spray offered at Cosme Hunt is perfect for retaining moisture when you’re out and about. When taking a mask break, you can apply it using a cotton pad or transfer it to a spray bottle to use as a toner mist.

Though we want the skin to be moisturized, we also want to avoid keeping the area within the mask damp as a result of breathing. This becomes even more prevalent in winter, where the temperature difference between the cold, winter air and your warm breath leads to condensation in the mask. This warm, moist, and enclosed environment makes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria! In addition to frequent ventilation, one trick is to keep a gauze inside your mask to absorb the excess moisture from your breath.

Recommended Skincare for Maskne

Maskne is a little different from adolescent acne in that it can be caused by dry skin rather than sebum. In addition to the friction caused by the mask and the winter weather, dry skin disrupts the skin’s barrier, making it easier for acne to occur. Keep this in mind and pay even more attention to adding moisture to the skin this winter rather than stripping the skin in an effort to reduce sebum. If you want to use a specific product to treat your maskne, try spot treating while keeping the surrounding skin moisturized. Simply moisturize your entire face, then using a damp cotton swab, wipe off the product on the blemish before using a dry cotton swab to apply your acne products.

To combat maskne and dry skin, layer lotion, serum, and cream with anti-inflammatory effects. You might even want to switch to products for dry, sensitive skin just for the winter. It’s also good to use products with vitamins A, B, C and E. Vitamin B and E help with repairing the skin, while Vitamin A and C help control sebum. Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties and can prevent hyperpigmentation from getting worse. It is also a good idea to take these vitamins orally! You can add fruits to your water to get both the vitamins and the hydration at once.

Hatomugi Beauty Water Moisture Lotion available at Cosme Hunt

This toner offered at Cosme Hunt has Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Layer it with your serum and cream to soothe irritated skin.

Skinvill Hot Facial Cleansing Gel available at Cosme Hunt

This cleansing gel from Skinvill contains vitamins A, C, and E to help repair the skin, control sebum production, and calm inflammation.

Replenishing and protecting your skin barrier is the most crucial during these times. Ceramides are one of the most well-known ingredients to take care of your skin barrier. Use hyaluronic acid and glycerin to keep the skin hydrated, and soothing ingredients, such as aloe, to calm down the irritation. If your skin is feeling super sensitive, give your skin a break from exfoliation to let your skin barrier recover. 

PASO A PASO Deep Effect Cure-All available at Cosme Hunt

This cream from PASO A PASO encompasses all of the tips mentioned for preventing maskne! It contains ceramide and other ingredients for rejuvenating and protecting the skin barrier and prevents dryness and irritation. It is perfect for those worried about dehydrated and sensitive skin that could get worse with the combination of the winter season and a mask.

Curel Intensive Moisture Care

Curel prides itself on its ceramide technology that repairs and moisturizes the skin barrier. Made for dry, sensitive skin, it could be just what you’re looking for to soothe your skin and repair its barrier this winter.

It goes without saying, but never pop your pimples! Instead, wear pimple patches. They will prevent you from touching it and can be hidden underneath your mask. Some have even taken the advantage of this and have been wearing sheet masks underneath! But before you try this outside, be sure to try this combination at home. If it makes your mask damp or causes you to sweat, it could further aggravate your skin. More importantly, if it prevents your mask from fitting properly, the protective mask will become ineffective. But if you find that your mask is able to stay flush against your face and remains dry while the sheet mask keeps your skin hydrated, it could help take care of the friction and dry skin while keeping you safe.

Say Goodbye to Maskne in 2021!

Trying to deal with maskne can be a little difficult since it is quite different from the acne we get during adolescence. I was quite surprised to learn that rather than oily skin, it is dry skin that causes it! But now that we know, it is easy to take care of our skin during winter, especially when we are already focusing on keeping our skin hydrated. Remember to drink plenty of water, wear your mask, and stay safe and warm this winter!

To find out more, visit our website!


 Megan Carulla

A university student by day, a skincare enthusiast by night! After falling down the skincare rabbit hole, Megan has been an avid follower of Japanese beauty ever since her high school days. Having dry, sensitive skin, she spends just as much time looking up trends as she does looking up ingredient information. When she’s not sheet masking, Megan likes to take long walks and dance with her mini goldendoodle, Momo.

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