How to Prevent—and Treat—That Pesky Mask Acne

Author John Battaglini

Posted Mar 21, 2023

Reads 4.1K

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As the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face masks has become a necessity for many. While they undoubtedly help prevent the spread of the virus, wearing masks for extended periods has spawned a new set of skin issues that are causing acne you’re not used to dealing with. Dubbed “maskne,” this offensively hot and humid summer has only made things worse, leaving many of us feeling frustrated and self-conscious.

But fret not! In this article, we'll delve into mask acne demystified – understanding why wearing masks can cause breakouts in the first place, as well as how to prevent and treat mask-related acne. We'll explore safe summer choices for your skin and provide tips on keeping your face healthy and glowing even while wearing a mask. So if you're tired of dealing with pesky mask acne, keep reading!

Mask Acne Demystified: Understanding the Causes

Mask acne, also known as "maskne," has become a common skin problem due to the prolonged use of face masks. The causes of mask acne can vary depending on different factors, such as skin type and hygiene habits.

One major cause of mask acne is the buildup of oil, dead skin cells, makeup, and dirt in the pores. This can lead to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. Regular cleansing and exfoliating ensures that dead skin cells are removed from the surface of the skin, preventing clogged pores. Moisturizing is also important to keep the skin hydrated and healthy. Wearing sunscreen helps ensure that the skin's protective outer layer functions properly, preventing damage from external factors like UV rays.

Unlocking the Mystery: How Your Mask Can Affect Your Health

As the world continues to battle against COVID-19, the use of face masks has become a necessity. However, wearing one can come with an unexpected side effect - "mask acne". In a study by University of Illinois conducted by Mechanical Science Professor Taher Saif and graduate students Onur Aydin and Bashar Emon, they found that face masks made from regular cotton blend t-shirt material can effectively prevent respiratory droplets from spreading. However, these types of masks may not be the best choice for non-healthcare industry individuals who wear them for extended periods as they can trap moisture and heat close to the skin.

To minimize friction, specifically silk-lined face masks were tested and it was found that they significantly reduce rubbing which causes acne mechanica breakouts. Another way to prevent mask acne is to choose breathable cotton materials or double layer face masks. It's also important to practice social distancing and choose frequent washing of your face mask to ensure it stays clean as well.

Say Goodbye to Mask Acne With These Easy Treatments

If you're dealing with an active mask acne breakout, you know how frustrating it can be. Unfortunately, many of the methods aren't exactly the same as what you'd treat regular acne. For milder cases, classic over-the-counter acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may do the trick, but for more severe acne meaning deep cystic pimples, you may need to see a dermatologist.

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One of our go-tos is Dr. Gonzalez who recommends using a benzoyl peroxide-containing spot treatment or salicylic acid products in combination with gentle acne cleansers and chemical exfoliants that help unclog pores. For raw areas on sensitive skin, anti-inflammatory cortisone creams can be helpful. Retinoid medications are also really great at helping improve skin's natural cell turnover process and getting rid of acne altogether.

With so many over-the-counter options available for treating mask acne, it's important to find the exact type that works best for your skin type. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Gonzalez is offering video consultations to help determine the best course of action for your specific needs. Don't let mask acne get you down – there are plenty of effective treatments out there to get your skin looking its best!

Are Face Masks Triggering Other Skin Health Problems?

As we all adapt to daily lives wearing face masks, many people have reported issues related to mask wear. One of the most common problems is skin condition wearing a face mask can cause, known as "mask acne." Wearing a mask for extended periods creates added heat and friction, clogging pores, and disrupting your skin's protective barrier. This can lead to bad breakouts and difficulty controlling chronic skin conditions like rosacea or eczema.

While wearing a mask provides necessary protection against external irritants and toxins, it also creates a microscopic layer between your skin and the outside world that traps bacteria and sweat close to your face. To maintain moisture levels and promote general skin health, it's important to use hydrating products that keep the protective oils in place. Applying lip balm or protective petrolatum ointments like petroleum jelly before putting on a mask can help prevent irritation.

If you're working long hours while wearing a mask or experiencing frequent flareups of chronic skin conditions, an ongoing care plan may be necessary. Patients neglect their skin health when they don't address issues related to mask wear or make managing dry skin a priority. A dermatologist can provide expert advice on how to care for your specific skin type during this unique time in history. By protecting your barrier function with gentle cleansers and maintaining hydration levels with appropriate moisturizers, you can stay skin safe even while wearing a face mask all day.

Acne: Unpacking the Common Skin Condition

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Acne is a commonly known skin condition that occurs when sebum oil, skin cells, sweat, and other foreign matter combine to trap Propionibacterium acnes bacteria beneath the skin's surface, causing infection and inflammation. The recent phenomenon of "mask acne" is due to the combination of moisture, dirt, and sweat that get trapped underneath masks worn for extended periods. While acne is a naturally occurring issue for many people, taking steps to cleanse the skin regularly can help prevent breakouts from forming.

Visit U.S. Dermatology Partners for Maskne & All Your Skin Health Needs

If you're struggling with mask acne, or "maskne," you're not alone. Many people are experiencing breakouts and irritation from wearing masks for extended periods of time. The good news is that U.S. Dermatology Partners can help! Our dermatology team members have the expertise to diagnose and treat maskne, as well as any other skin concerns you may have.

In addition to treating maskne, we offer annual skin exams to help detect any potential skin cancer or other issues early on. We understand that everyone's needs are different, which is why we offer in-office visits and telemedicine appointment options. You can easily schedule an appointment by filling out our simple request form online. Don't let maskne or any other skin concern hold you back - visit U.S. Dermatology Partners today!

Effective Ways to Prevent Maskne

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Maskne, or mask acne, has become a common skin problem due to the continuous use of face masks in the foreseeable future. However, there are effective maskne prevention tips to keep your skin healthy and clear. Continue wearing your face mask but make sure to wash it regularly, choose a breathable material for your mask, avoid wearing makeup under your mask, and maintain good hygiene by washing your face twice a day. By following these simple steps, you can prevent maskne and keep your skin looking its best even while wearing a face covering.

1. Wash fabric masks after every use

As we all know by now, wearing a face covering is an essential part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, with constant mask-wearing comes a new problem: mask acne. One crucial step in preventing this unwanted side effect is washing your fabric masks after every use.

It may seem like a hassle to do a day wash or regular wash of your masks, but it's essential for keeping your skin clear. When washing your masks, be sure to use unscented hypoallergenic laundry detergent and dry them completely before using them again. If you're worried about dirty masks contaminating other clothes in your laundry, consider placing them in a plastic bag until you can wash them. By taking these simple steps, you can prevent mold from developing on dirty masks and keep your face covering clean and safe for frequent use.

2. Remove your mask every 4 hours

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends removing your face mask every 4 hours to avoid "mask acne." Wearing a face mask for extended periods can cause friction, sweat, and oil buildup, leading to breakouts. Taking a 15-minute mask break every 4 hours can give your skin time to breathe and reduce the risk of developing acne.

While wearing a face mask is essential to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, it's also important to take care of your skin. Along with taking regular mask breaks, you can also practice physical distancing when possible to reduce the amount of time you need to wear a mask. By following these simple tips, you can keep yourself safe while also keeping your skin healthy and clear.

3. Treating specific conditions

Treating mask acne can be a challenge, but there are several options available. For mild cases, resolving folliculitis can include gentle daily cleansing using a soap-free cleanser and gentle exfoliation to release ingrown hairs. Dry shaving may also be an option. In more severe symptoms, a combined steroid and antimicrobial cream may be prescribed or antibiotics may be necessary if tests reveal a bacterial infection.

When dealing with mask acne, it's important to follow guidance for specific mask types and take sufficient breaks to speak without the facial PPE. Avoid triggers that can exacerbate the skin condition, such as using harsh products or touching the face frequently. Applying a light emollient every 30 minutes and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help. To protect vulnerable areas with broken skin, apply a silicon-backed dressing on the nasal bridge to keep the mask seal intact. In cases of seborrheic dermatitis or fungal infection develops, an antifungal shampoo or topical cream may be necessary, and moderate strength corticosteroids can manage allergic reactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is mask acne?

Mask acne is a type of acne that occurs from wearing a mask for extended periods, causing irritation and clogging of pores on the face. It can be prevented by using a clean mask, washing your face regularly, and avoiding wearing makeup under the mask.

Why do I get acne breakouts when I wear a face mask?

Wearing a face mask can cause acne breakouts due to increased humidity and friction that can clog pores and irritate the skin, but proper skincare and mask hygiene can help prevent this.

Is maskne the new normal?

Maskne (acne caused by wearing a face mask) is not the new normal, but it has become increasingly common due to the prolonged use of masks. There are ways to prevent and treat maskne, such as washing your face regularly and using non-comedogenic products.

What is maskne and what causes it?

Maskne is acne caused by wearing a face mask for prolonged periods of time. The moisture and friction from the mask can clog pores and cause breakouts, especially in those with oily or sensitive skin.

John Battaglini

John Battaglini

Writer at RHTB

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