A Face Mask That Prevents Maskne? We Tried It Out

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We all know that face masks seem to be a helpful tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19. However, there’s no denying that wearing them for long periods of time can spell out trouble for your skin, especially since mask-induced breakouts (aka maskne) are on the rise.

To treat maskne, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends sticking with a gentle routine, that incorporates anti-acne products into the mix.

At the same time, if you are looking for an extra layer of protection, you’ll love to know that anti-acne face masks have now come to the fold, much like the acne-fighting products you may already be using on the regular, they also promise to send those pesky breakouts on your chin packing.

Brands like MDAcne, for example, have now released a new Anti-Acne Face Mask ($29.99 for a three pack) this year, which incorporates silver and copper particles into the fabric in order to keep acne-causing bacteria at bay.

But while these pimple-fighting masks seem like a dream come true, below we tapped two board-certified dermatologists to weigh in on the efficacy of these products, and if wearing them regularly can supplement a traditional anti-acne regimen.

Plus, we also tried a mask ourselves, just in case you were curious about the IRL perspective.

How Can a Mask Prevent Maskne?

Unlike traditional cotton face cloth coverings, MDAcne’s mask takes things a step further by adding a layer of moisture-wicking material, and copper oxide and silver particles into the mask fabric.

And yes, you may have heard of silver and copper being utilized in skin care formulas.

But before you write them off as baseless, trendy ingredients, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna Guanche, MD, says copper and silver do have their share of antimicrobial benefits to the skin.

“Copper is recognized as an antimicrobial agent, which can help reduce bacteria on the skin that promotes or worsens acne flares,” Dr. Guanche tells Glam. “Silver has been shown to possess antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and can be helpful to those with mask-related acne breakouts.”

In addition to the reduction of breakouts, copper has also shown to be effective in treating acne scars. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Medical Science and Clinical Research, for example, found that copper peptides (when used inside a dermaroller) were able to reduce the severity of acne scars in some study participants.

Similarly, topical silver also has additional benefits to the skin, as the National Center for Complementary Health and Integrative Medicine, suggests the ingredient can be helpful in treating burns, skin wounds, and skin infections.

At the same time, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melanie Palm, MD, explains that while silver and copper have demonstrated antimicrobial activity as metal ions, there have been no clinical studies to show that the presence of these fibers in masks inhibits maskne forming at this time.

“Silver and copper fibers have been incorporated into bed linens and socks to try and keep microbial counts decreased, which is the premise for this mask as well,” Dr. Palm notes. “Theoretically, it makes sense, but there is no evidence published to support this assertion.”

On the upside, Dr. Palm acknowledges that the mask’s added moisture-wicking material can be helpful to those living with inflammation, as it keeps the skin cool, and reduces the amount of moisture buildup caused by wearing a mask. This, in turn, can decrease your chances of acne flares.

“Moisture wicking material has the ability to pull moisture away from the skin and into the fabric,” Dr. Palm explains. “This would allow for less moisture build up within the mask and on the skin. Acne flares could also be reduced by decreasing the humidity within the mask.”

Let’s Be Real: This Won’t Replace A Skincare Regimen

While silver and copper oxides-infused masks are touted to provide an extra layer of maskne protection, Dr. Guanche says that these products won’t replace a good skincare regimen altogether.

“It is more beneficial to properly cleanse, exfoliate, and apply effective topical products,” she explains. “Additionally, it is important to clean the mask regularly to prevent buildup of debris and bacteria. This will prevent breakouts and flares of various skin conditions.”

Similarly, Dr. Palm suggests that certain skincare items are actually more beneficial to the skin than a mask itself (though you still should wear one), as they can prevent the skin from becoming dry and irritated.

“A proper barrier cream that is non-comedogenic is great for workers that must wear masks all the time,” she adds. “Acne likely won’t be cured by the right mask, and requires a proper skin routine to address inflammatory acne lesions, and maintain proper skin balance and barrier function.”

How It Fit Into My Routine

In case you were curious to know how this mask worked in real time, I’ll admit that I have had a  pretty pleasant experience with it so far.

Not only did it cover my nose and mouth effectively, but it was comfortable (material was neither too thin nor too thick) on my skin, easy to breathe in, and also provided a nice cooling sensation to the skin.

I found this burst of cooling particularly helpful when working out, food shopping in hot grocery stores, or when sitting in the driver’s seat of my car with the heat on full blast.

While I haven’t been wearing it long enough to see if it lives up to it’s maskne prevention claims, it feels nice that I am doing something to benefit both my health and my skin simultaneously.

Still, it won’t replace my skin care routine by any means, but any additional maskne prevention help I can get is a major plus in my eyes.

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