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Mask - Unsplash
Health and beauty
August 2020
Reading time 5 minutes
Experiencing unusual break outs and blemishes? You could be experiencing maskne from wearing face coverings, and you’re not alone.

We caught up with Dr Uzma Olbrich, facial aesthetic practitioner at renowned Queensway Skin Clinic to discover how we can manage ‘Maskne’ sensibly and sensitively.

What causes maskne?
Mask wearing can cause something known as ‘Acne mechanica’. This refers to irritation of the skin due to heat, excess pressure, or friction against the skin. This can be furthered by the trapping of sweat, oil (sebum) and pollutants close to the skin. Bacteria associated with acne, thrive in a warm, humid environment. 

What can we do to prevent maskne?
Cleanse: Make sure your skin is well cleansed, preferably with a cleanser containing salicylic acid to help clear the skin of sweat and grime.
Recommendation: ZO Exfoliating Cleanser. This is a great cleanser containing salicylic acid. 

Exfoliate: Exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells at least three times weekly. This prevents congestion in pores and reduces the risk of acne.
Recommendation: ZO Exfoliating Polish. This is packed full of anti-oxidants so is great for reducing inflammation in the skin.

Tone: Using an oil reducing toner is important too. Oil is a main player in acne development and reduces the risk.
Recommendation: ZO Oil Control Pads, containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid and mandelic acid which are great for reducing oil and exfoliation. These pads also contain ingredients that help restore hydration in the skin and help preserve and keep your skin barrier intact.

Is there a specific fabric we should look to purchase to reduce the likelihood of ‘maskne’?
Look for breathable, cool material such as silk or silk lined masks.  A silk mask made up of multiple layers is ideal. This way the mask is comfortable, but the layers allow for a decent barrier.

To prevent ‘maskne’, which other procedures should we be integrating into our daily routines?
Wash your mask regularly. Masks should be washed and completely dried after each use. Incorporate a medical grade acne face mask more regularly into your routine.
Recommendation: ZO Sulfur Masque. This will work to draw out any impurities and bacteria from blocked pores.

Go make up free or choose lightweight oil free makeup formulations. Mineral based makeup is great for acne prone skin and some ranges such as Glo and Colorscience are non-comedogenic. The ingredients won’t clog or block the pores on your skin. Add antioxidant skincare products into your regime to protect against harmful pollutants as well as bacteria under your mask.
Recommendation: ZO 10 percent Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant topical formulation which works to neutralise free radicals and repair cell damage caused by mask wearing.

In warmer weather how to we prevent break outs?
Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse! Wear less makeup, especially in the heat. Invest in a powerhouse sunscreen with primer incorporated. ZO Smart tone SPF 50 makes sure your skin is properly protected but also provides a beautiful colour and glow to the skin. Thanks to its advanced formulation, this formula takes on your natural skin tone regardless of your ethnicity and enhances it beautifully 

What can we expect from a skin consultation with you, and what do patients usually discover?
We have specialised in skin conditions for over nine years, treating conditions such as acne, pigmentation, rosacea and premature ageing. During a skin consultation we have an in-depth discussion with each patient about his or her concerns and their expectations.

Following a full medical assessment, we then examine, analyse and photograph the skin prior to any diagnosis or treatment planning. With this information we sit with our patients and discuss all the options that are open to them and we compile an agreed plan of action and consent for treatment. It is important to be able to give a realistic outcome about what we can expect by the end of treatment.

Our treatments are all evidence based and scientifically researched with a high success rate. Patients usually discover that no one single product achieves results. We prescribe a program of medical skincare topicals, bespoke to each individual. Success doesn’t come overnight. Depending on severity of the skin condition, treatment can take weeks to achieve a desirable outcome.
Once patients have tried medical grade skincare products, there is no going back to generic beauty skincare.
For more information visit


'Look for breathable, cool material such as silk or silk lined masks. A silk mask made up of multiple layers is ideal.'

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