Wearing a face mask has been part of our everyday routine in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is now needed in many public places, such as restaurants and grocery stores, as a barrier against the new coronavirus, which spreads through respiratory droplets.
You’re not alone if you get breakouts after wearing a mask. This disorder, known as “maskne” (mask acne), is a common side effect of using a mask.
Maskne, on the other hand, does more than just trigger pimples. It can also cause skin problems such as redness, bumpiness, and discomfort.
If you’re worried about maskne, keep reading. We’ll look at the possible causes as well as treatment and prevention options.
What you should know about maskne skin conditions
In general, “maskne” refers to a group of skin conditions that can be exacerbated by the use of a face mask or covering. It may contain the following:
- Acne. Acne occurs when the pores of your skin become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and dirt. It can result in pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.
- Rosacea. Wearing a mask while suffering from rosacea may aggravate the condition. Pimples and redness may result as a result of this.
- Contact dermatitis. When you are allergic or sensitive to the material of your mask, you will develop contact dermatitis. A red rash, as well as irritation and blisters, can result.
- Folliculitis. Folliculitis, or an infection of your hair follicles, causes bumps that resemble acne. You may also feel itchiness or pain.
If you have one of these conditions, you are more likely to develop maskne.
What causes Maskne?
Because maskne can be caused by a variety of skin conditions, the cause of your symptoms may differ.
Maskne is almost always caused by clogged pores. Oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells are already present on your skin. When you wear a mask, however, these substances can accumulate and clog your pores even more.
A mask also traps humidity from your breathing and sweating, which may increase your acne risk.
Friction is another potential cause. A face covering’s material can irritate and chafe your skin.
You could also be sensitive or allergic to the material of your face mask. Some masks contain chemicals or are abrasive to the skin. Wearing a mask that has been washed in scented detergent may also cause irritation.
How to Treat Maskne
Even if you have maskne, you must continue to wear a face mask. One of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19 is to keep your mouth and nose covered.
Maskne symptoms can be treated in a variety of ways. Let’s go over each step in detail.
Wash your face regularly
To keep your skin healthy during the pandemic, stick to your regular skin care routine.
Washing your face is included in this:
- once in the morning
- once at night, before going to bed
- after sweating or wearing a mask
Use lukewarm water to wash your face. Using a clean towel, pat your skin dry. Avoid rubbing your skin as this can irritate it.
Use a gentle cleanser
A gentle cleanser can assist in the removal of excess oil, sweat, and bacteria. Cleansers containing alcohol or perfume should be avoided. These ingredients can irritate your skin and make it more difficult for your symptoms to heal.
If your acne is severe, use a medicated cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
If you have sensitive skin, consult with your doctor or dermatologist to determine the best type of medicated cleanser for you.
Use a noncomedogenic moisturizer
Apply a moisturizer after washing your face to keep your skin hydrated. Use a noncomedogenic product that will not clog your pores.
Apply cortisone cream and moisturizer with ceramides
If your maskne is primarily characterized by irritation and raw skin, you may want to apply a mild cortisone cream to the affected area, along with a ceramide-containing moisturizer. This can help to protect your skin while also alleviating itching and irritation.
Take a break from makeup
While treating maskne, avoid wearing makeup. Cosmetics like foundation, concealer, and blush can clog your pores and delay healing.
Maskne prevention tips
Since you will most likely need to continue wearing a face mask in public for the near future, it might be beneficial to follow these maskne prevention tips.
Wash fabric masks after every use
Never reuse a cloth mask that hasn’t been washed. Use unscented hypoallergenic laundry detergent and allow it to fully dry.
Apply a topical antibiotic cream
Bacteria can easily accumulate under a mask, causing acne. Dermatologists frequently advise applying a topical antibiotic cream or gel to your skin before applying a face mask to prevent this.
Toss disposable masks after each use
After using a disposable mask, dispose of it. Keep a few face masks on hand in case you need to replace one.
Remove your mask every 4 hours
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, you should remove your mask for 15 minutes every 4 hours. This will allow your skin to breathe a little easier.
Remove your face mask only when you are able to maintain physical distance from people who are not members of your household. It is also essential to wash your hands before removing your mask.
Apply moisturizer before wearing a mask
A mask may irritate your skin if you have dry skin. Applying a noncomedogenic moisturizer to your skin can help hydrate it. A moisturizer can also act as a shield between your skin and the mask.
Choose the right mask
Be mindful of the type of mask you wear to avoid skin problems.
Try wearing a face mask that:
- fits snugly, but not too tight
- has two or more layers of fabric
- is made of natural, soft fabric (like cotton)
Avoid masks made of synthetic materials such as nylon or rayon. These substances have the potential to irritate the skin.
Wash your face after wearing a mask
When you get home, wash your face with a gentle cleanser. To protect your skin, apply a moisturizer afterward. It is particularly necessary to wash your face after sweating while wearing a mask.
The bottom line
Maskne, also known as mask acne, is characterized by acne breakouts caused by the use of a face mask. If you have rosacea or dermatitis, you can experience chafing and itching, as well as pimple-like bumps.
Although maskne can be aggravating, it is critical to continue wearing face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular face washing, moisturizing, and the use of the appropriate type of mask can aid in the prevention of skin problems.
If your maskne is more serious, or if it continues after following these guidelines, consult your dermatologist or healthcare provider.