Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work?

As someone with sensitive skin, the effort to find a face mask that is friendly to both my skin and the environment was not easy.

Why skin AND the environment?

Skin, simply maskne, dried skin, eczema, the pain and itch. If you have sensitive skin, you know the pain and dread of maskne. I was looking for a mask that would give my skin less issues.

What about the environment?

I have been trying to lead a more sustainable lifestyle by taking baby steps. Which was what inspired me to start freyasthreads.I chose to learn, understand and share about fabrics, each item I buy or use is something that I have thought hard about. It is usually the best decision for the planet and myself. I wanted to do the same for the masks I was going to buy.

But first, our skin and mask-ne.

What is Mask-ne

A term used by Elizebeth Arden’s Dermatologist, Maskne is acne caused by wearing surgical masks. It is simply mask and acne, mashed into one word.

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work
Mask + Acne = Mask-ne

Who is prone to maskne

Besides the obvious suspects, people wearing masks, there are several other factors that causes maskne or makes you more susceptible to it. Here’s a non exhaustive list:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Wearing Surgical Masks for long hours
  • Dry or oily skin
  • Those with existing acne conditions – masks wearing would definitely worsen them
  • Environmental factors such as humid and warm climates
  • Material that the mask is made from

What causes Maskne?

A mask does not feel comfortable. Although proven that it does not impact oxygen intake, it does feel stifling. A mask traps moisture, from us breathing and talking, resulting in an abundance of bacteria around the covered facial area. This overgrowth in bacteria easily results in acne, otherwise known as maskne.

Are silk face mask better for the environment and skin

I have found 100% pure mulberry silk masks to be the best choice for my skin and the environment. Today, I will share why and what I have discovered after making the switch to silk face mask for the 5th month running.

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work

How are silk masks more environmentally friendly than disposable and cotton masks

Silk is 100% natural, produced by the silkworm and found in nature. Here is how silk is produced [Link].

Disposable masks are often made out of cotton or a blend of synthetic materials. Cotton and synthetic fabrics often need more water to be produced compared to silk. In addition, the manufacturing process of cotton and disposable masks releases more harmful gases into the environment.

Besides, a silk mask is reusable, you can wash and use it multiple times. You can even upcycle your mask into a silk scrunchie when you do not need it anymore! Disposable masks on the other hand, its either the landfill or incinerator.

Why did I choose a silk mask over masks of other fabrics

Besides my obsession with natural fabrics and silk being one of them, the other major reason is that it is simply better for the skin. Here are the main reasons of how it is better for the skin, but read on for the details

  • Gentler on skin, prevents breakouts.
  • Less drying for the skin
  • More breathable and retains less heat
  • Silk is naturally hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin

Why are silk masks gentler on the skin

Silk has a smooth surface. Unlike cotton and surgical masks, it is unlikely to leave marks on your face even after wearing it for an entire day. That is unless you wear your silk mask too tight.

On the microscopic level, it has longer and finer fibres that do not irritate the skin, unlike the shorter and coarse fibres of cotton.

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work
Doesn’t it look so soft and smooth

Are silk masks less drying for the skin

Silk does not absorb moisture from our skin unlike cotton or masks made of synthetic blends. This means it is less likely to lead to skin dryness and inflammation. I have noticed that the dry spots on my face are improving after the switch to silk masks; even without any change to my facial regime.

Is silk breathable as a face mask

Silk as a garment, it keeps you cool in summer, dispelling heat. In the form of a silk mask, it also dispels trapped heat and keeps your face cooler. In addition, the fibres are finer than cotton or synthetic fibres, making it easier to breathe through a silk mask.

Why is silk naturally hypoallergenic

Silk contains sericin and sericin is naturally resistant to dust mites, fungi and bacteria; which are the usual causes of allergic reactions.

Why is silk suitable for sensitive skin

I have sensitive skin. Today I may perspire and be fine, tomorrow the same perspiration may just give me rashes all over. Having sensitive skin means that your skin issues may be triggered by many factors. It could be heat, bacteria, scratchy fabric or even skin dryness.

Silk is cooling, hypoallergenic, smooth to the touch and does not dries the skin out, that itself makes it more suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work
Scarred skin of my colleague, from prolonged hours of wearing a surgical mask. She switched to wearing a silk mask an double masking with a silk mask as the inner layer and it really helped with the skin irritation.

Does silk masks stop acne and maskne

Silk masks are effective in preventing acne. But stopping it? A silk mask is not medical or a miracle!

Acne and maskne is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria.

Silk with its antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties is an effective barrier against bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of clogged pores and maskne. If you have sensitive skin like I do, it helps lessen the severity of it.

Do silk masks prevent breakouts?

Breakouts often refer to acne or maskne. All the positive factors mentioned above, helps reduce the possibility of breakouts.

But silk masks alone are not enough, remember to keep your face clean, moisturise and avoid picking at your spots!

Although wearing a silk mask has definitely helped me, if I do get lazy and skip my usual skin care steps then a breakout is definitely in the near future.

Are silk masks better for the skin than surgical masks

Mulberry silk face masks saved my skin and alleviated many skin issues that came along with wearing a mask.

Masks made of synthetic materials are harsher on the skin. Synthetic fibres and even cotton fibres are coarser than silk fibres, the constant rubbing can cause micro ‘tears’ and allow dirt and facial oils to penetrate deeper into the skin. This leads to clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads and acne.

I have tried many, many types of masks. Hospital grade surgical masks, generic brandless surgical masks, cone shaped N95, duckbill N95, cloth masks with filters and so on and so forth. One thing remained consistent, they all resulted in various skin irritations, from eczema to the dreaded maskne.

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work
Not maskne, but red irritated rashes from wearing a surgical mask all day. They were so itchy and painful!

Mulberry silk face masks were the only masks that did not irritate my skin.

Are silk masks effective against virus transmission and covid?

According to News Medical Lifesciences, silk masks are more effective when compared to polyester and cotton masks.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that besides single-use N95 respirator or surgical masks, silks masks were the next best option to prevent the spread of COVID or other viruses.

In the research, cotton, polyester and multiple types of silk fabrics were tested to check how effective each was, as a barrier for repelling water (representing respiratory droplets containing the COVID virus). It was concluded that silk was the best moisture barrier out of all the fabrics tested, including polyester and cotton – both of which absorbed water droplets quickly.

‘Silk contains natural antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties that could help ward off the virus’, said Patrick Guerra, assistant professor of biology in University of Cincinnati. Here’s the research paper if anyone is interested.

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work

Are silk masks more effective against COVID than surgical masks

Surgical masks are often made out of a blend of fabrics, including synthetic fabrics such as polyester. Although the study mentioned above concluded that silk was more effective than synthetic fabrics at preventing the transmission of respiratory particles, do note that silk was tested against pure synthetic fabrics.

Medical grade surgical masks are made with a blend of fabrics, which actually provides better protection than the silk mask. In addition, the N95 masks, when worn properly, actually seals both your nose and mouth from outside air which although stifling and unbreathable, is definitely more effective against COVID than silk masks.

Can I double mask with a silk face mask

I have double masked using a silk face mask as the base layer. I wear the silk face mask close to my face and the surgical mask over it. This prevents the scratchier fibres of the surgical mask from touching my face and reduces skin irritation. I do keep the silk mask on tighter for safety reasons.

Testing silk face masks to prevent maskne, did it work
Pink silk mask as the inner later and a surgical mask on the outside.

Although, if you are looking for better protection against viruses it has been advised by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the ‘disposable mask be worn underneath a cloth mask’.

If a surgical mask does not irritate your skin and you are looking for better aesthetics, then it might be a better idea to follow the CDC’s advice!

Did wearing a silk face mask prevent acne

I have 6 silk face masks that I have been using on rotation for 5 months now and the maskne situation on my face has definitely improved. The big painful acne bumps are all cleared up, I still do get small spots now and then, especially if my skin is dehydrated.

But it seems, the secret to preventing maskne is to stay hydrated, have clean and moisturised skin plus wearing a silk mask. At least, that seems to be my secret.

Just remember to care for your silk mask by hand washing it after every use. Here’s how you should wash and care for your silk mask [Link]