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Can face coverings cause acne?

reusable face masks for men

As Covid-19 is reshaping our world, the virus is impacting every part of our daily life – even the way we care for our skin!
So can face coverings really cause acne? I’m afraid the answer is yes, and it even has got its own name: “Maskne

Why can face coverings make your skin break out?

Wearing a piece of cloth on your face daily can unfortunately affect your skin in different ways.
The fabric of your mask will inevitably rub on some specific parts of your face, such as your nose, chin and cheekbones. This repetitive friction affects your skin barrier, which might cause mild irritation to those with sensitive skin. As for acne-prone people, they can experience more black heads and breakouts, as face coverings create a moist environment, perfect for bacteria to develop. Face coverings can also be responsible for oil building up, and as a consequence, pores clogging up. Cherry on the cake, this summer we will all be sweating under that mask – meaning even more moisture will build up, preventing your pores from breathing and potentially leading to those nasty pimples.

How should I care for my skin when wearing a face covering?

Here are a few tips to help you go through this transition smoothly and keep your skin visibly healthy.
If you wear a face mask (even briefly) daily, cleaning your skin at night has never been more crucial, especially in this warm month of July – whatever your skin type.
If you have a mixed or oily skin, you should avoid oil based products, now more than ever. When possible, try not using heavy products, especially foundation/make up on the area covered by the mask when possible.
However, you shouldn’t skip the moisturizer step of your skincare routine. Why? Because excessive water vapour from breathing in your mask can dry up your skin and leave it sensitive, or worse, could cause inflammation on some skin complexions. If you’re prone to acne, swap your creamy moisturizer for a water based one.
We know you’ve heard it before but we can’t stress this enough: Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, which is proven to improve the health of your skin.
And finally: don’t forget your lips! You might not be wearing any lipstick at the moment, but you shouldn’t neglect your lips just because they’re hidden! Don’t forget to regularly use your precious lip balm.

What face covering fabric is best for my skin?

If you are going to wear a piece of cloth directly in contact with your face on a daily basis, you’ll want to pick it wisely. You wouldn’t put any product on your face, and this should apply to your facemask. Look out for a skin-friendly fabric, such natural washable cotton (don’t forget to make sure it’s certified organic!). If you’re feeling fancy and are looking for something extra soft and comfortable on your skin, then cotton satin is the way to go. Its specific weave makes it one of the most premium face covering fabric, which you might want to invest in now that facemasks are becoming a daily essential. Finally do pay attention to the elastic loops composition: You ideally want them to be latex-free, as this material is responsible for allergies, and has a high carbon footprint.

How should I take care of my face covering to avoid breakouts?

Just like you should clean your make-up brushes, you need to wash your face covering before first use, and after every use. You can wash your Bags of Ethics face masks by hand or machine, up to 60 degrees. Make sure your soap/detergent foams properly to remove all dirt, make up, bacteria and buildups on both sides of your face covering. If you have been using a reusable cotton mask recently, you must already know only one won’t do the trick. 3 masks are a good start, so you can alternate and pop them in your wash (otherwise you will soon realise you run out quickly!). Our Great British Designer masks come in packs of 3, plus you don’t have to worry about them irritating your face, as they are suitable for sensitive skin! See our full range here.