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An expert on maskne, the pandemic’s growing skincare problem

TextDominic Cadogan

Lisa Franklin – founder of Clinic Privé – on how you can treat breakouts and avoid them in the future

Wherever you are in the world, a mask should have become a big part of your everyday life – if not, please re-evaluate your choices. 

With increased mask wearing though comes a new problem: maskne. Yes, mask-causing acne, that causes those who suffer from it to break out in different areas across their face. “Wearing a mask can interfere with the skin’s protection barrier – regular cleansing and exfoliating help maintain a healthy protection barrier, but the use of masks can accumulate dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, which causes pores to clog,” Lisa Franklin, skincare expert, facialist, and founder of Clinic Privé explains. “Masks also can promote bacteria growth due to the humidity stored in the air between the mask and your skin.”

If you are suffering from the effects of maskne, Franklin advises to avoid irritating the skin further and making it worse. “Don’t pick spots, no matter how tempting it may be, or else the spot will be open to more bacteria and ultimately take much longer to heal” she explains. “Treating skin gently is key, so avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol.” 

Instead, find products that include salicylic acid – “a great exfoliant with anti-inflammatory properties,” she says – as well as tea tree oil which is a natural treatment with antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities. Equally, Lisa Franklin’s No. 2 Serum – Clear + Restore is an ideal product to treat acne, rosacea, stressed skin, and the effects of maskne. 

“Avoid wearing masks made of synthetic materials and ensure your masks are always clean – cleansing is vital to remove bacteria that thrives in oily conditions and humidity” – Lisa Franklin, skincare expert 

Rather than forgoing wearing masks completely – don’t – Franklin suggests investing in cotton or silk masks (which studies have found just as effective as PPE) as they are natural fabrics which are more gentle on the skin than synthetic ones. As with your hands, she also recommends cleaning frequently. “Cleansing is vital to remove bacteria that thrives in oily conditions and humidity,” she says. 

Her top tips for preventing maskne are straightforward: “Avoid wearing masks made of synthetic materials and ensure your masks are always clean.” 

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