Maskne – is mask acne real?

Stacie ContrerasSkin Care

Mask Germs

Is your mask creating acne?

If so, you may be suffering from Maskne, or acne from wearing the mandatory masks. Since masks are here for awhile, what can you do?  Does your skin get itchy or dry?  Do your lips feel dry as well? Are you having breakouts under your mask?

If you answered yes then you may be suffering from what has now been deemed “maskne”.  Maskne has become a side effect for many people with the mandated wearing of masks.  Mask + acne = maskne.  It refers to the acne and skin issues resulting from prolonged mask wear.

People are finding themselves breaking out more along the areas where the mask rubs and causes friction or where your lips or lipstick may rub along your chin or around our mouth due to the pressure of your mask.  Many nurses are suffering from bruising as well as acne and rashes after working 12-hour shifts.

So what is causing these issues?

According to Dr. Lucy Chen at the Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in Florida, the mechanical friction or rubbing of the mask fabric against your skin is causing breakouts. It’s creating a warm, moist environment for your skin oils to produce and bacteria to become trapped, clogging pores. Add in the warmer weather of summer months and in many places more humidity, this is creating an increase in the amount of oils produced as well.  Factor in that most people are not washing their fabric masks often enough nor replacing their disposable masks each time they wear them.  Both of these factors coupled with the previously mentioned issues and you have a perfect breeding ground for maskne.

How can you fight maskne?

  1. Wash your face. According to Dr. Sandra Lee, otherwise known as the Pimple Popper, you should clean your face prior to wearing your mask and after removing your mask.
  2. Moisturize your skin. With a mask rubbing against your skin, your skin barrier needs to remain balanced and healthy. It is important to have the right balance of moisture as too little will send your body into oil making overdrive, thus creating more problems.
  3. Skip the makeup or be cautious what you are using as most will clog your pores. SeneGence is  non-comedogenic including its makeup line, but I have suggested to my clients that they take a lighter approach as well.  Going more for our CC Creams and eye shadows, rather than full foundation and contouring.
  4. Cotton masks are better for your skin according to Dr. Sandra Lee.  It is more breathable, and less irritating to the facial skin.  It must be washed though, something that many people are failing to do.
  5. If you are struggling to wash your masks or find them always getting moist when wearing, consider disposable masks that you toss after each single use.  They can be found on Amazon and even locally in several stores now.  I have seen bulk packages at both Costco and Sams Club recently.
  6. Using ingredients with salicylic acid helps as well.  According to Dr. Hadley King, a dermatologist in New York, “Salicylic acid is an excellent comedolytic, or pore-clearing, ingredient because it exfoliates the stratum corneum (the surface of the skin) and penetrates pores to remove sebum. This helps to prevent pores from becoming clogged and can help remove clogs that have already formed.”
  7. Exfoliating your skin to remove dead skin cells as well as using a good facial mask to moisturize and draw impurities out will both help. Exfoilate your lips as well as your face.
  8. Numerous doctors, including Dr. King, suggest products with hyaluronic acid for this step. “Heat, perspiration and friction from the mask rubbing skin will potentially cause an irritant dermatitis and perhaps a facial yeast overgrowth,” Dr. Harold Lancer says, adding that the soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of hyaluronic acid “moisturize the skin and fight these issues.” SeneGence has products that can help containing Hyaluronic acid.
  9. If you are going to wear makeup, wash your brushes more often. Avoid bacteria build up in them that could transfer to your face potentially.
  10. If you choose to wear makeup, why not play up your eyes more. Take more time showing off your beautiful peepers since they are what shows above the mask.
  11. Take care of your lips. Balms or lip colors that are smudge free are important so as not to smear waxy products all over your mask and then your skin. This transference of waxy products can clog pores and create problems.  Good non-waxy lip balms that hydrate your lips is important as the constant wearing of masks tends to dry them out.