With face masks entering our everyday attire and 'maskne' becoming a beauty bugbear, we’ve put together a guide to understanding and treating the breakouts and irritation that masks can cause.

After our beauty advisers received an influx of requests - from front-line workers and the general public alike - for advice on how to ease the effects that masks can have on our skin, we decided to compile a straightforward handbook of everything you need to know about maskne. First things first...

What even is maskne?

With lockdown lessening, face masks are more essential than ever. Whether your job requires you to wear one all day or you only don one during your weekly shop, then the chances are that you've noticed a change in your skin - especially with prolonged and regular use. As with any close-to-skin coverings, masks trap in moisture and heat, making them a recipe for excess oil production and bacteria: enter blemishes.

What's more, the friction against your skin can compromise your skin's acid mantle (otherwise known as the moisture barrier) - the uppermost layer of skin (formed of cells and lipids) that protects against environmental aggressors and prevents essential moisture from escaping. Skintellectuals will know this is a big no-no. A damaged acid mantle gives way to rashes, irritation and breakouts. So that's the bad news. Here's how you can help your skin adjust to the new normal...

At a basic, non-beauty level, it's important to frequently wash your mask to dispel residual sweat and bacteria. If you have the option or means, it's best to elect for a facial mask that's made out of a breathable material - cotton or linen are good choices. When it comes to beauty choices, your mantra should be 'less is more'. It's time to pare back your routine and focus on gentle yet replenishing formulas that bolster your skin's health.

For better or worse, the heat under your mask will make your products thoroughly sink in – the same way our skin drinks up our face masks (the beauty kind) when we wear them in the bath – so you want to avoid potent actives that could further irritate your skin. From fragrance-free to ultra-gentle formulas, your maskne-centric skin care checklist could look a little like this: a non-stripping cleanser; a targeted serum - hold the harsh actives; a replenishing cream to 'feed' your moisture barrier and lock in lasting hydration.

Keeping your skin clean yet conditioned is key. For your cleanser, look for mild formulas - balm, gel and oil textures usually fit the non-stripping bill - with skin-strengthening ingredients. Proving itself a fan favourite time and time again, the fresh {Soy Face Cleanser} is both nourishing and effective. Leaving even sensitive skin soothed and toned, the pH-balanced gel is infused with soy proteins, which are rich in amino acids that help to maintain a healthy visage, not to mention calming cucumber extract, nourishing borage seed oil and balancing rosewater help to maintain your skin’s moisture levels.

Your next step depends on your skin type and how your skin feels. If you have an oiler complexion that's unsuited to heavy formulas you can build up light layers of hydration through essences and mists; Dr. Jart+'s {Vital Hydra Solution Essence} features beneficial microbes to bolster your skins' moisture barrier and dissuade chronic moisture loss and signs of dehydration for ultra-soft, soothed effect.

If you're open to integrating oils into your routine, then let us introduce you to {Biossance}. Powered by plant-derived squalane – a non-irritating, hyper-moisturising oil that mimics the molecular structure of the squalene in your skin – these lightweight products absorb effectively to calm your skin, balance oil production and boost elasticity. Plus, the {100% Squalane Oil} will find its way into every aspect of your beauty routine – it’s as nourishing for your limbs and lengths, as it is for your face!

Be it your serum or your moisturiser, the {Kate Somerville} DeliKate edit succeeds in marrying gentle ingredients to create effective formulas for sensitive skin. Originally designed to reassure skin that’s damaged by the elements or chemical treatments, the {DeliKate Recovery Serum} shields your skin from environmental aggressors, while elasticising omegas and Tasmanian lanceolata fruit extracts help to quell reactivity. Powered by a replenishing cocktail of peptides and ceramides, the {DeliKate Recovery Cream} is a featherweight, fragrance-free formula that strengthens compromised skin barriers for a supple, non-greasy finish that comforts dry, flaking skin.

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