By now you should be accustomed to wearing a face mask whenever you leave the house… as well as the slew of problems that comes with wearing a protective face covering for long intervals in a day.
I’m talking about breathability, design (if you’re fashion-conscious) and the most heinous one of them all — maskne.
It’s bad enough having to deal with Singapore’s hot and humid climate on a daily basis. Throw in the friction and abrasion that comes from wearing a mask for an extended period of time, and you’ve got yourself a prime candidate for breakouts.
As someone who’s able to work from home, I count myself lucky enough that I never have a face mask on longer than an hour or two. And this is usually when I’m out taking public transport to meet someone or going grocery shopping.
But for someone who’s been riddled with acne her whole life, sometimes these one to two hours can have devastating effects on my skin, especially if that has been a particularly sweaty one. Suffice to say, I haven’t been excused from acne ever since I’ve started wearing a mask.
So when brands started developing silk masks with claims that they could help prevent maskne, I figured why not try it out?
According to Dr Dendy Engleman, a consultant dermatologist for Elizabeth Arden and the person who coined the term “maskne”, silk masks are one of the best things we can do for our skin due to the smoothness of the fabric.
And it makes sense. Silk has been having a moment within the beauty sphere, with brands such as Slip creating silk scrunchies and pillowcases that help reduce friction when it comes into contact with your hair. This, in turn, helps to prevent breakage and frizz.
Silk as a fabric is also less likely to absorb as much moisture as cotton, helping to keep your hair (or in this case, skin) more hydrated when used. So why shouldn’t a silk mask have the same effect when it comes to your face?
Armed with this knowledge, I reached out to two brands to sample their silk masks to see if they were really as effective as dermatologists say they were.
Disclaimer: The silk masks used were sent to me for the sole purpose of this review.
1. Style Lease women's draped silk mask, $29
For the first week, I tried gown rental company Style Lease’s Women’s Draped Silk Mask in Midnight Peony ($29). I had seen these masks featured on my Instagram news feed, and I was admittedly tempted to order one based on how aesthetically pretty they looked.
According to Style Lease, their masks are made from 100 per cent silk charmeuse, and made from hypoallergenic silk that does not irritate the skin or increase local humidity around the face. It also came with adjustable straps, a nose bridge wire and a hidden filter slot for added hygiene.
At first glance, I was really pleased by how luxurious the mask looked. I was looking for a slightly more formal looking mask that wouldn’t look out of place with dressier outfits, and this one definitely checked all the right boxes.
The material was really soft to the touch, and when I put it on, it definitely felt way more comfortable than any of the cotton masks I had already owned.
Based on comfort alone, I was already sold. But, I had a review to do, so when I had to be on set for a full-day shoot, I decided to put the mask to the text. After an eight hour shoot, I took the mask off at home and so far everything seemed ok.
Usually, I can’t wait to tear my masks off the moment I step foot into my house, but this one seemed so comfortable I almost forgot I had one on. No pimples developed over the course of the week so I deemed it a major success!
The only downside from the masks is that the colour leaks a bit when you wash it, so if you purchase this, be sure to dry the mask on a surface that can’t be stained! I left mine on my marble counter and had a mini panic attack when the blue dye stained the counter.
2. Dr TWL dermaceuticals anti-ageing + anti-acne copper silk face mask, $70
When a certified dermatologist creates her very own face mask, you know its going to be something worth trying. I’ve been seeing friends try the Dr TWL Demaceuticals Anti-Ageing + Anti-Acne Copper Silk Face Mask ($70), and I was curious to see what were the benefits of the mask.
According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, the dermatologist behind the mask, the silk is made from a fabric called CUIONS™, a synthetic silk fabric created by her that contains copper nanoparticles impregnated within the fabric.
The active release of copper ions are also effective for anti-ageing by promoting collagen production and reducing pigmentation.
Another key highlight is the UV protection, where the fabric has been specifically engineered to attain UPF50 certification. This was super important to me as I tend to skip applying sunscreen sometimes when I head out as I get nervous that I might clog my pores underneath the mask.
Like the previous face mask, the silk automatically made it a lot more comfortable than my other cotton options. The only fit issues I had was that the mask was slightly too big for my face, even with the adjustable ties.
But my face is smaller than average (sometimes I have to get a child-sized one), so I chalked it up to this being more of a “me problem” than the mask itself.
I did enjoy the shape of it though, and I could see it fitting nicely if my face was a little bigger.
I had a busier week than usual, so I brought this mask along as I did my errands. And through the heat and the sweat, the mask seemed to hold up well. Because of how cooling the fabric was, I didn’t feel gross even if I was sweating.
I did feel some little bumps on my cheeks, but it wasn’t anything worth worrying about and they disappeared after a couple of days.
To be honest, the two weeks where I switched to a silk face mask, I did feel like my skin seemed under control. But whether it was due to the masks or if my skin was just having a good few weeks was undetermined.
But I did feel like there was less humidity between the mask and my skin which I’m sure ultimately played a part in preventing clogged pores and breakouts. The fabric also felt less abrasive, so I didn’t feel as worried that there was something rubbing my skin the entire time.
And after two weeks of using the masks, I really didn’t have any visible pimples on my face. Apart from one on my forehead, so that didn’t count.
So if you’re worried about acne, I definitely would recommend getting a silk mask (or two!) to give it a try and see if it makes a difference to your skin. And even if maskne isn’t a problem you deal with, in terms of comfort, I definitely would recommend switching to a good silk face mask.
After trying these masks out for a good two weeks and really enjoying the feel of it, consider me a convert.