2020 has been one heck of a year already. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been required to adapt to a whole new way of life. Social distancing, wearing face masks, and working from home has become the new norm. When it comes to skincare, in particular, experts in the field of dermatology are seeing an influx of acne and irritation on the face. This has given way to a new term known as, ‘maskne’.
What is Maskne:
In the most simple terms, maskne is acne that is caused by regularly wearing face masks. When you are constantly placing fabric over the majority of your face, it causes both sweat and bacteria to build up beneath the mask. This causes breakouts which typically happen to the skin around the mouth and nose - where the mask is coming into contact with your skin.
How to Prevent It:
While it is impossible to completely prevent developing maskne, there are some ways to reduce the risk. Using a face mask made out of 100 percent cotton can help let your skin breathe. Additionally, it can stay cleaner, longer, which is just as important as sweat and bacteria can build up in the fabric. Once that gunk buildup makes contact with your skin, you may as well queue the irritation and acne.
Luckily, treating maskne is relatively simple. In addition to using appropriate masks (breathable, not too tight, etc.) and keeping them clean, you should also be cleansing your face regularly. This includes before putting your mask on, but also once it has been removed. Avoid using makeup in the places hidden by your face mask, although sunscreen is still a necessity. Moisturizing regularly will also help to prevent, or get rid of, maskne.
Why Sunscreen is Still a Must:
Now, many of you might be tempted to skip the sunscreen, particularly in the areas protected by your mask - don’t. Sunscreen is always a must when you are planning on spending time outdoors (and sometimes indoors). Yes, UV rays can and do penetrate through your mask! If concerned about aggravating or causing maskne, the best sunscreen, especially for the face, is a thin, easily absorbable one. And, of course, you’ll want it to be non-toxic because harmful chemicals can also irritate your facial skin.
Wearing a face mask is something we all have to live with, at least for now. But, that doesn't mean that you have to suffer from maskne. Your first call should be to your dermatologist as they will be able to formulate a specific plan for your skin issues. Also, heeding the warnings and tips you’ve read here can make a world of difference.
Stay safe out there!