Is Maskne really a thing?
Of, course no one wants to wear a mask all day however with a death rate in the USA of over 135K one can assume that COVID-19 will be with us for some time. Wearing a mask is not about “us” it’s more about protecting others. As we settle into our “new normal” wearing a face mask is part of this lifestyle. With that said we also want to continue to look our best and take care of our skin even if only half of our face is showing.
A common frustration that we are likely to see more of as the summer goes on is Maskne. Wearing a mask daily for hours at a time, can cause a buildup of warmth, moisture, friction, oil and bacteria leading to acne flare-ups. Maskne is known as Acne Mechanica to medical professionals. This type of acne occurs as a result of the skin being occluded by an object such as shoulder pads and back packs, head bands and baseball caps on foreheads, chin straps, helmets, mask etc. Acne Mechanica is not a new diagnosis, its been around for some time and dermatologist have been treating it for years. The Pimples and red bumps can also form in individuals without preexisting acne or acne prone skin. The combination of sweat, friction and occlusion create the perfect environment for acne flares.
Preventing and Treating your Maskne should start with a clean mask. We can’t avoid wearing a mask, we can however wear a clean one. If you are using disposable mask be sure to discard of it daily. Cloth mask should be washed with a mild detergent that is free and clear of dyes and fragrances and a clean cloth mask should be used daily. Line drying your mask can help in decreasing damage to the fibers and elastic of your mask. To avoid contact dermatitis that could occur from mask, Choose a cotton mask that’s breathable and avoid fabrics with dyes, metals or chemicals from fabric.
Skin care for your face during these times should be very mild. You should avoid application of irritating skin care products under your mask such as antiaging products (including retinoids) or products with alpha hydroxy (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA). With the increased humidity and occlusion that occurs with the mask, irritating skin care products will become much more irritating to the skin. Avoid wearing heavy makeup under your mask, this will clog pores and cause acne flares as well. Cleanse your face twice daily with mild facial cleansers and apply noncomedogenic moisturizers (such as Cetaphil cleanser and moisturizers) for the skin under your mask. Apply acne treatments such as retinoids and AHA/BHA products at bedtime to avoid occlusion with mask. During the day apply a non-irritating non- comedogenic Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to the masked and unmasked portion of your face.
If proper mask hygiene, and skin care fail to keep your Maskne under control please feel free to come see us or give us a call so that we can address your concerns. In the mean time stay safe!