ASK THE EXPERT: Maskne Myths, SPF and Barrier Health

You may be wondering what SPF has to do with maskne? Well, it’s not the sun protection this time (duh), it’s the non-nano, non-silicone coated zinc + probiotic peptides that play a role in helping protect your skin.

Now that fall has arrived, we often get questions about whether you should wear Time Traveler UNDER your mask and our dermatologist and esthetician panel says yes! Perhaps not for the reason you may think. This isn’t a self-serving post about buying our products, we wanted to dig in on the science of maskne and most importantly, identify simple ways to give our skin barrier the best chance to avoid it, no matter what products you choose!

Cue Katie Sobelman, The Organic Esthetician, one of our favorite celeb estheticians, who was kind enough to answer a few of our most popular Solara Squad maskne questions!

Katie Sobelman, The Organic Esthetician

What is Maskne?

Maskne is caused by a few factors and rest assured that if you are experiencing this, you are not alone ... and you are not doing anything wrong, period! Everyone’s skin reacts differently to our newest accessory because of:

  • Trapped moist, warm air 
  • The skin biome becoming disrupted by bacteria imbalance and irritants
  • Friction between the mask and the skin that causes irritation and inflammation

What are some myths about solving for maskne?

Myth #1: Sobelman says the number one myth is that you need to over wash or over-acid/exfoliate! During this time, be patient and kind with your skin. While you do want to keep your skin surface clean and hydrated, scrubbing or stripping your skin of its natural oils can actually cause over-sensitization and disruption of the skin’s acid mantle (it’s defense barrier!), which allows dirt and bacteria to freely enter.  Cue clogged pores and irritation. While there is a time and a place for proper use of exfoliants, overdoing it may result in the opposite of what your skin wants right now.

Myth #2: You don’t need SPF.  The truth is you clearly don’t need sun protection under your mask-area, however, a thin layer of non-silicone, non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen actually provides a protective barrier between your face and the friction of the mask.  Zinc is actually a skin calming anti-inflammatory (which is why it’s sometimes used as the active ingredient in gentle diaper cremes). 

Myth #3: The only solution for maskne care is topical. The truth is that a well-rounded prevention routine (or any skincare routine for that matter) includes wellness from the inside out.  Load up on hydration, plants + fruits in your diet, gut-healing supplements and probiotics recommended by your wellness provider and moving your body daily in the fresh air (when it’s safe to do so). She recommends the Cactaki water bottle to measure your hydration intake.

What can I put on my skin to prevent maskne?

There is no one miracle solution for maskne, however, with the combination of proper cleansing, internal care, hydration (inside and out) and sensitive skin-focused products, you can certainly lessen the maskne effect!  She loves products that contain zinc, nutrient rich oils and topical probiotics for keeping the balance of the biome as much as possible.  Some of her personal favorites can be found on her blog, The Organic Esthetician.

Organic Esthetician Facial, Spa

Self Care Matters to Maskne!

Additional self-care for the mask-area include Gua Sha and quartz rollers (she likes the Fluorite Gua Sha from Wilder North), straight from the fridge along with your favorite organic oil serums, drinking at least eight to ten 16 oz glasses of water a day, meditating to release stress-causing (and breakout) causing vibes and…giving yourself a break if maskne pops up when you least want it to. We can all relate!

Additionally, when you and your local esthetician feel it’s safe for you to do so, book a facial and have an expert provide your skin with some much-needed TLC!  Your esty’s miss you and no doubt, your skin misses them, too!

Lily Silk Mask

Are Certain Masks More Helpful to Prevent Maskne?

Sobelman says yes! Consider investing in a natural fiber mask like mulberry silk, organic cotton or anti-microbial zinc infused masks like those from brands like Lily Silk, The Eczema Company and YoRo Naturals.  She also recommends washing them each day with non-fragranced detergent to rid them of the bacteria, pollution and dirt that builds up both inside and outside of the mask fabric.

If you forget to wash, don’t be hard on yourself! Keep a small supply of disposable masks in your bag or car for those situations. While we’re a huge fan of reusables, wearing a clean mask is really the key!

Note: Katie Sobelman, is a professional licensed esthetician in California who has a passion for organic, natural and device driven skincare solutions. She’s been a featured expert in a variety of publications including Well + Good and Mind Body Green. All opinions are her own and it is recommended to always contact your personal medical provider or esthetician before adjusting your skincare, diet or supplement routine.