How To Prevent & Treat Mask Acne Also Known As Maskne

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The pandemic hasn’t only caused casualties and complications but also causing detriments to the skin’s health as a result of putting on mask daily which can erupt mask acne popularly known as “maskne” With the normalization of frequent mask wearing to prevent the spread of the virus has caused many individuals to suffer from maskne, which has called for cause of alarm and put dermatologists to the test to explain the mystery behind the cause and of course provide a solution to it, which is exactly what this content is all about. Keep reading to learn more.


What Is Maskne & What Causes It?.

Maskne mask acne

Maskne is the new acne in town, which surfaces due to regular wearing of face mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This dermatological condition erupts as a form of facial acne or irritation due to heat, humidity, occlusion and friction.

When you breathe or talk, your mask tends to trap in a lot of hot air. This air creates a warm, humid environment and an ideal setting for yeast, bacteria and other flora, such as demodex (types of skin mites that naturally live on our skin), to grow.

Dr. Kassouf says that these bacterial imbalances and friction from your mask can promote acne and rosacea flare-ups as well as something called perioral dermatitis. This is when fine pimples and pustules appear around the nose and mouth.

According to Jennifer Adams, MD. “The conditions most often dubbed as maskne right now are periorificial dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and acne mechanica.” These skin conditions can lead to red rashes, acne-like bumps and flaking or scaling on the face where the mask is worn.

I know, I know — you may be thinking what have we done to deserve this new type of acne while we already have an existing acne sabotaging our skincare-efforts. But the good news is, while it may seem to be a new type of acne, it isn’t. The only difference between maskne and acne is the cause. One is caused by clogged pores while the other is caused as an irritation due to frequent wearing of face mask.

The difference between acne and maskne is one thing: a face mask.

“We are seeing irritation and acne more on the face with people wearing masks for an extended period of time,” Dr. Saedi told BeautySparkReview. “You can see breakouts in the areas covered by the mask and also the areas where the mask and face shields touch the skin.”

Can Makeup, Lotions Or Sunscreen Make Maskne Worse?.

There may be some speculations stating that wearing any of these products can worsen maskne. well, that’s actually not true. Dr. Kassouf says that lotion, topical treatments and sunscreen can help calm and balance our normal skin flora.

A layer of moisturizer (lighter if you are oily or acne prone and thicker if you have dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin) or even a sunblock that contains zinc or titanium can help your skin by serving as a barrier against any friction or irritation that develops.”.

When they sit on your skin, they serve as a buffer or barrier between the skin and your mask, this prevents friction between the skin and the mask which in turn curtails possible occurrence of maskne.

Dr. Kassouf encourages you to keep in mind that thick layers of lotion or sunscreen on the face can aggravate breakouts with or without a mask, but occurs more easily when wearing one.

What About Makeup?.

Wearing makeup under your mask is fine as along as you’re not been heavy-handed during application. That is to say; if you must wear makeup under your mask ensure it’s light-weight and not heavy and use only makeup products labelled non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores. But if you mustn’t, then ditch the makeup.

Under our normal masks, it’s acceptable to wear a light layer of makeup. If you are wearing an N-95 mask that will be recycled, makeup stains may limit the ability to reuse it or fully clean it. In this case, you should avoid wearing makeup.

Can Facial Hair Worsen Maskne?.

Men with full grown beards and mustaches aren’t left out. Facial hair can present a problem given the fit of the mask, the warm air that gets trapped under it and moisture from sweat. But there’s hope and help for you as well.

Therefore, if you have to wear your mask for a long period of time and aren’t in a position where you can wash your face, Dr. Kassouf suggests using a simple toner with alpha hydroxy acid or even witch hazel to freshen your skin and prevent problems. Just make sure you allow your skin and beard to fully dry before putting your mask on.

How To Prevent Maskne (Mask Acne).

Maskne mask acne

These are skincare tips to prevent possible occurrence mask acne.

1. Cleanse Your Face.

The most important step in a skincare routine is adequately washing your face both morning and night. This essential step plays a crucial role in curtailing the occurrence of maskne as it ensures all traces of excessive oil, impurities and gunk accumulated during the day are all washed off the pores, therefore preventing pore clog.

Before you put on your mask, ensure your face is sufficiently cleansed with a fragrance-free gentle facial cleanser, then wash off with lukewarm water.
Wearing your mask on an uncleansed face increases the chances of irritation as dirts and oil are traped in the pores alongside hot air as a result of breathing and talking which creates a warm, humid environment — which is a perfect environment for yeast, bacteria and other flora, such as demodex to breed in.

During the evening, when you must be back from outing activities, you can double cleanse, first with an oil-based facial cleanser, then again with a water-based cleanser to ensure adequate cleansing.

Note: If you happen to be wearing a makeup, ensure to remove the makeup first, using a makeup remover or wipe, before cleansing your skin.

2. Apply A Moisturizer.

Applying a Moisturizer will not only keep your skin moisturized all day, but also serve as a barrier between your skin and mask to curtail friction.
After cleansing, apply a layer of moisture-rich moisturizer onto your cleansed skin (lighter if you are oily or acne prone and thicker if you have dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin). We recommend going for moisturizers that contain ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or dimethicone, which will provide extra protection.

3. Wash Your Mask.

If you’re wearing a cotton mask wash it after each use, as its surface contains dirt and oil and can become a breeding ground for bacteria from your nose and mouth.
And when washing your mask choose a fragrance-free laundry soap. Fragrances can irritate your skin, you can as well skip the fabric softener, too.

4. Wear Makeup Only When Necessary.

Like we earlier explained, if you must wear makeup under your mask then go light-weight, and not heavy and use only makeup products labelled non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores. But if you mustn’t, then ditch the makeup.

5. Shy Away From Harsh Products.

You should do your very best to stay away from harsh skincare products. Skincare products with active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, retinols and salicylic acid will be more irritating to the skin under a mask — be careful about how much and what you use.
If you must use them, then ease your way into it by using a lower concentration which will be definitely mild on your skin.

6. Allow Fresh Air To Touch Your Skin.

Take your mask off as much as possible, especially at home, and let your skin get some fresh air.
Caution: Take off your mask only when It’s necessary, if it’s not, then leave it back on. But do well to take it off as soon as you get home.

How To Treat Maskne.

Maskne mask acne

Incorporate glycolic or salicylic forming facial cleanser into your routine to keep the pores clean and also kill acne causing bacteria (p acnes).
Dermatologists highly recommends glycolic acid facial cleansers for individuals with oily and acne prone skin because of its ability to penetrate deep down the skin pores, break down oil-build up, removes dead skin cells and unclog the pores of impurites and debris which are the main causes of break outs. Check out our favorite glycolic acid cleansers.

Salicylic acid on the hand, being a BHA also helps to alleviate the skin of mask acne. You can enjoy the benefits of salicylic acid by cleansing your face with salicylic based facial cleanser. According to Dr. Kassouf, a good foaming cleanser will help keep your skin clean and calm. If your skin is more acne-prone, she recommends looking for something with salicylic acid.

Not only does it help the skin shed dead skin cells from the top layer and decreasing redness and swelling (inflammation), but also treats acne as it unclog the hair follicles (pores) of dead skin cells and other pore-clogging impurities and nasties.

After cleansing your skin with a salicylic acid foaming facial cleanser, you can go ahead and use salicylic acid facial toner or body spray on your face, then seal off with a moisture-rich moisturizer afterwards before putting on your mask. You’re good to go!!.

Don’t forget to always apply a good moisturizer to your cleansed skin before you put on a mask. This will create a barrier between your skin and mask which will in turn create a frictionless movement and curtail possible occurrence of maskne. And oh, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen too, to protect your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun.

When To See A Dermatologist.

After implementing the treatment steps above and still happen not to see improvement, then it’s time see your dermatologists for physical examination and further treatment.

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: Does wearing dirty face masks cause maskne?.

A: Wearing dirty face mask oftentimes may lead to breakouts. That’s why It’s highly advised to wash your reusable mask after every use or rotate between clean masks both to protect yourself from the deadly virus and skin irritations.
Using same mask often will cause dirt and oil (including makeup) from your skin plus bacteria from your mouth and nose to end up on your cloth mask, which will get trapped under your mask and can cause breakouts.
Note: Always put your mask on over a clean face.

UP NEXT: These Best Facial Steamers Will Help Unclog Your Pores & Keep Your Skin In Right Condition.
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