In the pandemic era, a face mask has become a critical accessory with an outfit. Health experts have urged everybody to wear a mask: it’s the safest way to stop the spread of the virus, as well as keep yourself and others safe. With the rise in people wearing masks, a new skin condition has cropped up: maskne.

Maskne – or mask acne – is a type of breakout noticed most commonly around the areas on your skin which are covered by your mask. If you’ve been diligently wearing your mask, you might have noticed skin breakouts, pimples, and blotchiness. Turns out, it’s pretty common.

In this blog, TABIIB takes a look at maskne: what causes it, and how you can prevent it from breaking out.

What Is Maskne?

Your mask tends to trap in a lot of hot air. This trapped air creates a humid environment — an ideal setting for germs, and bacteria to grow. Such bacterial growth causes an imbalance in the skin which can lead to acne flare-ups.

What causes it?
Maskne is triggered by pores being blocked by sweat, oil, and makeup. The constant friction from the mask can clog and block pores which can lead to blackheads and pimples.

How To Treat Maskne

Face masks are not going anywhere. Furthermore, it’s essential to keep wearing one even if you have maskne.
If you’re dealing with breakouts and flare-ups, here are a few tips that can help you manage your condition.

1. Wash your face regularly
Makeup may not be required during the pandemic, but skincare is essential. Maintaining a routine is vital for keeping your skin healthy and clear.

A face wash during the AM & PM can keep your skin clean and free up clogged pores. Use lukewarm water when washing your face. Avoid rubbing against your skin as that can cause irritation. 

2. Use a gentle cleanser
A gentle cleanser can help remove excess oil and sweat. Avoid cleansers that contain alcohol or perfume. These ingredients can cause irritation and make it harder for your symptoms to heal.

If your acne flare-ups are severe, try topical treatments or medicated cleansers that have salicylic acid.

3. Use a moisturizer with ceramides
Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer after cleaning your face. This ensures that your pores remain unclogged and clear. If your maskne flare-ups mostly cause irritation or raw, blotchy skin – try a moisturizer that contains ceramides. This can relieve symptoms of itching and dryness and helps protect the skin barrier.

4. Try to minimize contact with face
As with all acne, try to keep your hands away from your face. Hands usually carry the most bacteria which can spread on your skin and cause breakouts. Additionally, many health authorities have also recommended that hands be kept away since that’s how COVID-19 spreads.

Prevention Tips

If you’re one of the lucky ones to not be affected by this skin trouble, then prevention is your best bet.

1. Wash masks after every use
Cloth masks, in particular, must always be washed after every use.

2. Apply a gel or cream under your mask
It’s not uncommon for rashes to develop after using a mask for a long time. To prevent this, dermatologists often recommend applying a cream or gel on your skin before putting on your face mask.

3. Choose the right mask
To keep your skin in check, be careful about which masks you use. Masks made with scratchy material will lead to breakouts and flare-ups. Use double layered, cotton face masks instead.

The Bottom Line

Maskne can be frustrating, but it’s important to keep wearing face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your flare-ups are more severe, or they continue even after the above tips, consult a dermatologist to help you figure out what works best for your skin.

I am a writer, covering the sprawling expanse of healthcare, among many other things that I love writing on. I write on healthcare because I want to do my part in informing people about the health industry, When I am not blogging about research and medicine, I enjoy reading, playing squash and backpacking around the world.

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