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What You Need to Know About Maskne

Maskne, it’s getting the best of us. Here are a few ways to combat this nuisance.

One of the most effective ways that we made in an effort to slow down the spread of Covid-19 is to wear a mask. While it is effective, there are people who have challenges wearing one. But since it is now required in many public places like restaurants and grocery stores, the challenges continue.  Some people have developed skin breakouts from wearing mask for a long period of time.

This is a condition known as “maskne”, a common side effect of using a mask. 

What’s happening is that there is already oil trapped deep in the follicle and when mixed with heat and moisture, the bacteria breeds and causes inflammation. Make sure you are checking in with your esthetician for regular facials and extractions to remove these oils. This will slow the acne down tremendously. 

Maskne doesn’t just cause pimples, it can also cause rashes and hyperpigmentation issues.

What do we know about maskne? 

Maskne is the umbrella word for several skin conditions that can be caused by wearing a mask which can include:

Acne – This happens when your pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and dirt. This can cause pimples, blackheads or whiteheads.

Folliculitis – This is an infection of the hair follicles that cause bumps that looks like an acne breakout. You may also feel itchiness or some pain.

Rosacea – Wearing a mask can cause flare-ups if you have rosacea. This leads to redness and pimples.

Contact dermatitis – This occurs when you have allergies or sensitive to the mask’s material. It may result to red rashes, irritation and blisters.

If you have any one of these, you are more prone to developing maskne.

What causes maskne?

In most cases, maskne is caused by clogged pores. Your skin already has oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. When you wear a mask, these can build up more and block your pores. The mask traps humidity due to breathing and sweating. This increases the risk of acne.

Another possible cause is friction. The material can rub against your skin which can irritate your skin and chaffe.

Sensitivity to the material can also cause maskne. Not all masks are created equal. Some are pre-treated with chemicals and others feel rough to the skin. Also, wearing a cloth mask that’s been washed with scented detergent may cause irritation.

So how do you treat maskne? 

  • Wash your face regularly.  Do it once in the morning and once before going to bed. Wash your face after sweating or wearing a mask. Use lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Avoid picking as this may cause further irritation.
  • Use a gentle cleanser. If your maskne is more severe, try using a medicated cleanser with benzoyl peroxide, mandelic acid or salicylic acid. Ask your esthetician first if you have sensitive skin.
  • Wear the paper disposable masks as opposed to the cloth. Treat your cloth masks like underwear, change and wash them daily.
  • Use a noncomedogenic moisturizer and a hydrating toner. Wipe down with toner and apply  moisturizer after washing your face to hydrate your skin. Use noncomedogenic and acne safe  products that won’t block your pores.
  • Apply some cortisone cream (if needed) and moisturizer with ceramides. Ceramides help protect your skin and provides relief from itching and irritation.
  • Don’t put on make-up. Avoid putting on make-up when treating maskne. Foundations, concealers, blush and other products can clog your pores and could prolong the healing process.

Tips to prevent maskne :

Since we are likely to be wearing masks for a long time, it might help to follow these tips.

Wash fabric masks after every use. Never reuse a cloth mask without washing it first. Use unscented hypoallergenic laundry detergent. Dry completely.

Put on some topical antibiotic cream. It’s common for bacteria to build up under the mask and this leads to acne. Dermatologists often recommend putting on a topical antibiotic cream or gel on skin before putting on mask.

Throw away disposable mask after each use. Consider keeping several face masks on hand in case you need a new one.

Remove mask every 4 hours. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends that you remove your mask for 15 minutes every 4 hours to give your skin a break. But remove your mask only when you can practice physical distancing or when you’re at home. Wash your hands every time you take a mask break.

Moisturize. Put on some moisturizer before wearing a mask especially if your skin is dry. Use a noncomedogenic moisturizer to hydrate your skin. It will also serve as a barrier between the mask and your skin. If you have acne prone skin, make sure your products are acne safe and will not cause further break outs.

Choose the right mask. To avoid skin issues, be mindful of the mask you wear. Wear something that fits snugly but not too tight, has two or more layers of fabric and is made from natural, soft fabric like cotton. Avoid synthetic fibers such as nylon or rayon. These irritate the skin.

Wash your face after wearing a mask. Once you’re home, wash your face and use a gentle cleanser or the one your skin professional suggests, followed by a moisturizer. Washing your face is especially important after sweating while wearing a mask.

Maskne or mask acne is acne breakouts resulting from wearing a mask. The symptoms includes chaffing, irritation with pimple-like bumps if you have rosacea or dermatitis. While maskne is frustrating, it is important to wear them or face coverings during this pandemic. Washing face regularly, moisturizing and wearing the right type of mask can help in easing skin problems.

If your maskne is severe or continue to persist even after applying these recommendations, please seek professional help. You may contact me for more information and treatment.

Hope this helps guys! 

Talk soon



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