With a global pandemic on the rise, it is very important to protect our health and the health of others. Masks are now mandatory in many crowded places. But with these masks came also a new to the public problem – maskne. I say to the public because, in professions that require the use of a face mask for prolonged periods of time, this issue is already well known.
Disclaimer: recommendations are based on my own experiences and one product might work for me but not for you. Please do your research to further decide if this is something you wish to try.
What is “maskne” ?
As the name suggests, maskne is acne mechanica caused by the prolonged wear of a face mask. Every time we breathe hot air and humidity get trapped under the mask. This creates a perfect environment for bacteria to spread. Add to that the friction of the mask and breakouts are imminent.
How to treat it?
While it is very tempting, do not ditch the face mask. It is an important tool to keep yourself and others healthy. Do not opt for light and breathable masks. They might feel nice but they do not protect you from the virus. It is important to wear an occlusive piece of textile or a medical-grade mask.
Given that there is no going around it, so here are some options to treat maskne:
- Wash your face. It comes without saying, but I’ll say it. It is important to remove all the sweat from that area of our face so you can be meticulous about it. This will reduce the likeliness of clogged pores.
- Moisturize. Creating a veil of moisture over that area can seem counterintuitive since there is already so much occlusiveness. However, it is important to keep the microbiome in balance. A veil of moisturizer can also reduce irritation from friction.
- Spot treat. Go bazinga, nobody will see it anyway. Don’t shy away from using spot treatments of all sorts. I highly recommend using acne patches. They come in all shape and sizes nowadays, and they will keep the spot protected from friction and sweat. My favourite spot treatments are Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch and Neogen A-Clear Soothing Pink Eraser
- Wash your reusable masks. I mean, this is a given. In the context of a global pandemic, it is crucial to keep to good hygiene. But this will also help keep your maskne in check. Opt for gentle detergents and make sure they are fragrance-free. Also, rinse out your mask thoroughly and let it dry completely.
A new trick I have added to my arsenal is double masking. It might sound scary but hear me out. I have recently purchased a silk mask with the intention of being more gentle with my skin. The mask is ridiculously thin and doesn’t protect from anything on its own. However, I pop it under the medical-grade mask. This prevents the harsh friction and silk is thermoregulating so I don’t feel toasty.
I have to say, even with all the precautions and treatment, acne can happen anyway. Just don’t freak out.
Remember it’s more important to stay in good health and wear a mask. In this context acne is really only a minor inconvenience. That being said, don’t hesitate to reach out to a dermatologist for a professional opinion.
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