Acne can happen whenever it pleases, and it can certainly pop up as an uninvited guest on your wedding day. Because so many of us are wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 these days, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced mascne—mask-area acne.
While mascne is annoying at the best of times, it can be particularly bothersome on your wedding day. But, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to cover mascne when you say “I do.”
In this article, we’ll discuss:
Yes and no; because mascne is found around the mouth area and sometimes on the nose—wherever your mask sits—it can require some specific TLC. Makeup techniques will also need to be used to address this region, as actions such as eating, drinking, and even smiling can determine what products you use and how you apply makeup. We’ll get to the details later on, but if you’re worried about how to cover up mascne on your wedding day, don’t fret—we’ve got you.
To understand mascne, we need to start with good ol’ acne. Acne is not something that only happens in our teenage years; it can happen at any stage in life, and is caused by different reasons and can be a result of various factors. We wish there was a clear culprit or one simple answer as to why adult acne occurs, but there isn’t.
If you’re really concerned about your acne, it might be best to see a dermatologist. He or she can rule out any underlying causes, as well as treat chronic skin conditions. He or she can also offer professional treatments and/or advise you on the best products for your skin type. Experts suggest starting a skincare routine at least six months before your wedding.
Just like acne, some people, due to their skin types or levels of stress, are more prone to mascne. But, masks can cause acne on their own. Mascne typically appears on the skin where the mask covers it: the chin, nose, cheeks, and even around the mouth. It often presents as pimples, but mascne can also appear as redness or bumps.
While the majority of the world is discovering mascne for the first time, it’s known by dermatologists as acne mechanica—or sports acne—and it isn’t a new skin woe, according to Dermatologist Dr. Jason Rivers, president of the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada. It’s known as sports acne because football players often get acne where their helmets rub their skin, and golfers notice it where their heavy golf bags rub their shoulders.
Even though mascne can be super annoying, it’s not a reason to stop wearing a mask ahead of your wedding day, especially if you’re at risk of contracting COVID-19. We’ll show you how to take care of your skin and clean your masks to reduce the likelihood of a pre-wedding outbreak.
Throwing on a mask to pop into the grocery store won’t likely cause instant acne. Mascne tends to happen when masks are worn for longer periods, as moisture builds inside the mask. Because of this reason, frontline workers often experience mascne, as do people who have to wear a mask for a prolonged amount of time.
Mascne is caused by the sticky combo of a mask rubbing against the skin, and oil and bacteria getting trapped inside. Because the purpose of wearing a mask is to prevent droplets that expel when you breathe, sneeze or talk, that moisture remains trapped and can clog the pores on your skin. If it ain’t going out, it’s sealed in. Add in sweat or fabric irritation, and you may experience a breakout.
Not washing your mask frequently can cause mascne. Health experts recommend that you wash your mask daily or every time that it gets dirty, and to only wear single-use masks once. Bending these rules means that bacteria and dirt can build up over time. Putting on a mask that is soiled with makeup, for example, can further irritate your skin and clog your pores.
While you’re no doubt excited about your wedding day, any stress—even the good kind!—can cause changes to the skin. Research has found that stress can make acne worse, so if you’re experiencing some mask-related flare-ups, they could be worsened by pressure. In fact, one report concluded that “emotional stress from external sources may have a significant influence on acne.” This means that finding ways to fight wedding planning stress is key.
Now that you know some of the factors behind what leads to mascne, let’s look at some of the steps that you can take to either prevent it or at least help reduce it.
Before we jump in, one thing we DO NOT recommend is for you to stop wearing masks entirely because of your mascne. COVID-19 is a serious illness and the last thing that you want to do is to put your health at risk to fight a breakout.
Now, let’s look at some solutions:
Before you do anything, look at the mask that you’re currently wearing, as it may be the culprit in your worsening skin.
A good mask should fit properly on your face, so that you’re reducing the friction that comes from constantly adjusting it (therefore, if you’re pulling up your mask every thirty seconds, it’s time for a new one). Straps should be snug, but not painfully tight, Dr. River says, to lessen friction.
Fabrics are also important. The best masks for skin are those that are made from 100 percent cotton or silk—they’ll allow your skin to breathe and form a soft barrier that helps reduce friction. That being said, medical-grade masks are often required in certain workplaces, such as hospitals, so you may not always have a choice over which mask you wear. But, if you do, consider fabrics for breathability.
So, before you try any of the below, make sure that you look at your current mask. If it’s falling off or made of polyester or some other unbreathable fabric, it’s time to dump it for something kinder to your skin.
Stop and think about how long you’ve been wearing your current mask. If it hasn't been washed in more than a day, it’s time to throw it into the laundry hamper.
Ideally, you should be washing your mask every time you wear it for an extended period. The humidity created inside a mask creates ideal conditions for bacteria, and those bacteria will quickly grow on your skin the longer the mask goes unwashed, and, thus, cause mascne.
Try and make a habit of washing your mask every time you wear it for extended periods.
Alright, now we’ve come to one of the most important parts. While having the right mask and keeping it clean goes a long way in fighting mascne, nothing can compare to having a good skincare routine that gives it the best chance to stay healthy.
First, make sure that you’re not being tempted to over wash your face because of your mask wearing. While it may seem counterintuitive, over washing your face can actually rid your skin of its protective barrier—this is one of your skin’s most important natural defenses against acne or mascne.
So, if you wash your face every evening, but now also wash your face every time you take off your mask, this could actually be contributing to worsening your mascne. Instead, you might want to explore using something such as a gentle wipe that is free from artificial coloring or fragrances to tide you over until it’s time for your evening face wash.
Similar to how you might be over washing after mask-wearing, you might naturally be reluctant to moisturize given the moist conditions that flourish under your mask. But, not moisturizing enough can also worsen mascne.
That being said, it’s important to stay away from heavy moisturizers when wearing a mask. Oil-based ones, for instance, can clog your pores, as can heavier creams.
Look for lighter creams that will allow your pores to easily breathe while wearing your mask.
Finally, even if you follow all of the above steps, you might still find yourself in a breakout. In that case, you might want to try a spot treatment.
For these, opt for products that have ingredients that have a proven ability to take on pimples, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Hopefully, our advice here will reduce the need for these, but you need to be prepared, as no method is perfect when it comes to preventing mascne.
One thing to note about spot treatments is that you don’t want to overdo them. Too many topical treatments can lead to dry skin, causing further irritation. Be sure to consult with your doctor or dermatologist if you’re not sure, or if you’re experiencing a reaction. The last thing you want is to make your skin more agitated!
Having a breakout on your wedding day can create a lot of stress. Mascne is easy to hide when you’re wearing your mask, but once your mask comes off for photos, you might feel exposed. If you want to reduce the visibility of your mascne, there are some techniques that you can use to cover it up and put the focus back on your radiant smile for your wedding day.
This may be an option if you plan and are comfortable with a needle treatment that can help reduce redness and swelling. Cortisone will work as soon as a few hours, but it’s not something you want to schedule the day of your wedding.
Get into contact with a dermatologist ahead of time to see if this is an option for you. If you’re worried about a breakout, make sure that you have an appointment booked ahead of your wedding. Watch your skin in the days leading up to the wedding, and if it looks like you’ll have a big pimple breaking out on the eve of your big day, head to your doctor and get the shot. Make sure that it’s one to two days before your wedding to give it time to take effect (though you may see the results within hours).
Properly using both a foundation and concealer can go a long way in hiding a prominent pimple. You must get the basics right—apply the foundation first, and then add concealer—otherwise, the foundation might scrub away your concealer.
As for using the right concealer, you want something that will leave a matte finish and, of course, match your skin tone. Make sure that it’s sweat-resistant, as you don’t want concealer coming off near your mouth area from eating or drinking. You also don’t want to cake on the concealer—it can crack—so start by applying it to the pimple, and gently use a concealer brush from the pimple outward. Blend the edges around the pimple to remove any hint of red.
Make sure that you top it off with a dusting of loose powder, and then you’ll be ready for your big day. Touch-up as needed.
A great way to shift your focus from your mascne is to draw attention to features through makeup, such as a bold red lip or striking eyeshadow. Or, perhaps you have a gorgeous flower crown or updo that you want to show off. Don’t be shy to highlight your striking look!
If your wedding is one where you’ve asked all guests to wear a mask throughout the event, a stylish mask will hide any hint of mascne off the bat. While you’ll likely want photos sans mask, have some concealer on standby, should you need to do a touch-up.
We mentioned above that you’ll likely want to take off your mask for photos… but have you considered keeping it on for a few shots? Taking photos with a mask on will serve as a reminder that you decided to get married during a very unique time in human history. Your grandchildren might look back with awe as you show them your photos of a socially distanced ceremony with the wedding party protecting themselves with masks. Of course, mascne is not a reason to hide your mouth if you don’t want to, but a few mask-wearing shots certainly make for a great conversation starter.
No! There’s nothing wrong with mascne, nor is there anything wrong with acne-prone skin. If you want to embrace acne on your wedding day, that’s awesome. We support you in doing whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
It’s also important to note that mascne is completely normal and something that so many people are experiencing right now. There’s a good chance that guests at your wedding, whether in person or virtual, are dealing with mascne, too.
Depending on when the breakout or pimple makes its appearance, there are various ways to cover acne on your wedding day. Here, we will break down the different wedding planning timelines and coverage options.
If you experience acne or a breakout a week or so before your wedding, you have time to get to work before your big day. If it’s just one pimple, try treating it with an over-the-counter acne treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide to be applied daily after cleansing, Dr. Rivers recommends. Benzoyl peroxide is commonly used for acne and it helps kill bacteria to unclog pores. Ance or spot treatments that contain salicylic acid are another good option, as this ingredient helps exfoliate the skin.
Be sure to drink lots of water, get rest, and do not pick your pimple. PIcking any acne will not only make it worse, but can turn the blemish into an acne scar, so keep your hands off. It can also be helpful to give your skin a break from any heavy makeup or products that irritated it. Some people find that a few days without foundation can do wonders for the skin.
If you experience acne or a breakout a few days before you walk down the aisle, continue to cleanse your face and treat as usual. Don’t pick your pimples, and try not to stress as much as possible. It’s important to not go heavy on any skin-drying spot treatments, as they can dry out the skin and you don’t want new patches of flaky skin.
If you’re doing DIY wedding hair and makeup, note that covering acne on your wedding day is a multi-step process.
First, you want to reduce any redness or swelling you may have any on your skin. Ice can help with that, as can a topical ointment. If you’ve hired a wedding makeup artist, chances are that he or she will have plenty of experience covering acne on wedding days. He or she will ensure that your skin is hydrated and properly primed for makeup.
To cover a pimple, a solid base coat of liquid foundation or buildable tinted moisturizer is key. Start with an even layer of foundation that matches your skin tone before you start layering on any concealer.
Once you have the base makeup done, then you can add concealer. Use a concealer brush or makeup sponge (such as a Beauty Blender) for a natural finish and even application. The key is not to cake it on or overdo it; it should look natural, not a blemish on itself.
If you’re working with a makeup artist, let them know that you’d like to cover your back acne in advance. You’ll likely need a different shade of foundation for blemishes outside of the face, so having a foundation that matches your skin is important. Whatever product you use, be sure it is sweatproof—you don’t want foundation rubbing off on your white outfit once you hit the dance floor.
Just like with facial acne, concealer will help cover up any back acne spots, too. Use a brush to dab concealer onto the pimples, and finish with a translucent powder. You’ll forget the acne is even there.
Mascne is not ideal, but it doesn’t need to ruin your wedding day at all. It happens to the best of us (heck, most of us), and it’s not something that guests will even notice or pay attention to. With some pre-wedding skin routine love, some tips and tricks to reduce the chance of getting mascne before you get hitched, and some day-of makeup, your skin troubles will be the last thing on your mind. All your focus and attention will be on your spouse and saying “I do.”