To slow the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic, wearing a face mask has become part of your daily routine. It’s now required in many public places, from grocery stores to restaurants, as it is an effective barrier against the COVID-19 virus that spreads through respiratory droplets.
However, wearing a mask may lead to acne breakouts. You are not alone! Known as “maskne” (mask acne), these breakouts are a common side effect of wearing a face mask, especially for extended periods.
Maskne doesn’t merely cause pimples but may also result in skin issues, including redness, bumpiness, and irritation.
What Exactly Is Maskne and Why Does It Happen?
As the name suggests, maskne is a skin breakout resulting from friction, pressure, rubbing, stretching by the mask. You can see maskne where the mask covers and where the mask and face shields touch the skin.
Face masks and coverings trap moisture, sweat, oil, and dirt close to our skin, causing blemishes and various skin conditions:
- Acne when pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and dirt, resulting in pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads.
- Rosacea can flare up due to the wearing of a mask, leading to pimples and redness.
- Contact dermatitis results from being allergic or sensitive to your mask’s material, leading to a red rash, along with irritation and blisters.
If you already suffer from one or more of these conditions, you may be more prone to developing maskne.
Why Do Masks Cause Irritation?
In most cases, maskne results from clogged pores caused by a buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria on your skin, made worse by wearing a mask for hours on end. Add humidity caused by your breathing and sweating inside the mask, and you may increase the risk of acne.
Some masks and face coverings are pretreated with chemicals or feel rough on the skin, leading to sensitivity or an allergic reaction to your mask’s material. Washing a reusable mask in a scented detergent may also cause irritation.
How Can You Clear up and Prevent Your Maskne Breakout?
The key to managing your maskne breakout is preventing it in the first place, as these tips suggest:
Wear a Clean Mask Each Day
Avoid the temptation to throw the same mask on every day. Mask cleanliness affects your maskne breakouts, making it vital to starting every day with a clean mask. It might be better for a long day at work to put on a new mask at least halfway through your day rather than wear just one all day long.
For a reusable mask, make sure you’re washing it every day because of the bacteria it harbors.
Wash Your Face Regularly
During the COVID-19 pandemic, continue with your regular skincare routine to keep your skin healthy.
Make sure you wash your face:
- Once every morning.
- Once every night, before going to bed.
- After sweating while wearing a mask.
After washing your face with lukewarm water, pat your skin dry with a clean towel, being sure not to rub your skin and cause irritation.
Use Gentle Organic and Daily Skin Care Products
Use a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil, sweat, and bacteria. Avoid cleansers that contain alcohol or perfume as these can cause irritation and slow the healing of your symptoms.
Since every person has a unique skin type, take the time to undergo a clinical consultation by physician Dr. Annie Chiu and obtain an individualized treatment plan so that you can bring your maskne under control.
Take a Break From Makeup
Even if your makeup is hypoallergenic, wearing a restrictive face covering may smother your skin and exacerbate the clogging of your pores.
At the very least, use the highest quality products possible and keep your makeup very light.
How Can You Prevent Maskne in North Redondo Beach, CA?
Since you’ll probably need to continue wearing a face mask or covering in public for the foreseeable future, here are some maskne prevention tips you can follow:
Wash Fabric Masks After Every Use
Using unscented hypoallergenic laundry detergent, wash reusable cloth masks after every use.
Apply a Topical Antibiotic Cream
Prevent acne-causing bacteria from building up under your mask by applying an antibiotic cream or gel directly on your skin before putting on your mask.
Remove your mask every 4 hours
If possible, every four hours, after washing your hands, remove your face mask for 15 minutes, giving your skin a break from being tightly covered.
Apply Moisturizer Before Wearing a Mask
If your skin tends to be dry, a mask may cause irritation. Applying a noncomedogenic moisturizer can help hydrate your skin and serve as a barrier between your skin and the mask.
Choose the Right Mask
Avoid skin issues by following these tips for choosing the right mask:
- Snug-fitting, but not too tight.
- Two or more layers of fabric.
- Made from natural, soft fabric.
Should I See Dr. Annie Chiu About my Maskne at North Redondo Beach, CA?
Healthy skin is part of your overall good health. With maskne being an uncomfortable sign of the times, if you’re struggling with unsightly, uncomfortable maskne, you can feel reassured of the skilled treatment offered by renowned physician Dr. Annie Chiu. Call us today at (310) 939-9800 or contact us online to schedule your personalized consultation!