As if we don’t have enough to deal with, it seems like a new beauty woe has entered the ring. It’s called “Maskne”, and it’s the term of choice for acne breakouts that are popping up under the masks that have become an essential accessory for everyone. Wearing a mask is necessary for keeping you and others safe during the ongoing pandemic, but maskne doesn’t have to be. Read on to find the causes and solutions of this timely skin concern.
Maskne is the acne caused by wearing a face mask for a prolonged period of time. It can appear as pimples, blackheads, and clustered breakouts on the lower half of the face. This type of acne is known as “acne mechanica,” because it’s the mechanical friction of the mask rubbing against your skin that is causing the breakouts.
Wearing a mask for hours on end, a daily situation for most of us at the moment, allows a moist environment to develop between our skin and the mask’s fabric. Sweat, oil, and bacteria become trapped, clog pores, and the result is maskne. It’s not unlike what doctors and surgeons have experiences in the past—also athletes, who have to deal with acne caused by helmets and chin straps.
When it comes to maskne, even though you have to keep wearing your mask there are steps you can take to treat and prevent the resulting breakouts.
Unless you have a reusable mask that can be washed, you should replace your disposable one regularly. Typically, these disposable masks are used in the medical field, where they throw them away after just one use, or about 90 minutes. For everyday use, you should still replace your mask at least once per day, and don’t use the same one two days in a row.
If you’ve invested in a reusable mask made out of fabric, that’s great—just make sure you’re keeping it clean. Fabric absorbs everything it comes into contact with, from sweat and makeup to bacteria and oils. Washing it by hand or throwing it in with the laundry at the end of the day is a good practice. Don’t resort to disinfectant sprays, since these won’t remove the residues that cause acne.
More than ever, it’s important to keep your skin clean to discourage bacteria from settling in. Using a gentle cleanser each night is fine, paying special attention to the lower half of your face. You can also set up .
There are a lot of good topical treatments for acne out there. Adding an AHA, BHA, or retinol product is a good way to treat breakouts both during the day and at night. However, make sure not to overdo it. Since your skin is already stressed from the mask, applying too many new products could exacerbate the problem further.
Give your skin an immediate break by lightening up on the makeup, or skipping it completely. Especially under your mask, where no one is going to see it anyway! If you still would like to wear makeup, be sure to remove it thoroughly each night and avoid these mistakes.
Light, breathable fabrics like cotton are effective at blocking pathogens, but easier on your skin than synthetics. We’ve seen some fashionable masks made out of polyester, satin, and even leather—but it doesn’t do skin any favors.
As usual, you should never pick at, pop, or squeeze a pimple. That will only make it worse, and possibly leave a scar behind as well. The best thing to do is apply a topical ointment and leave it alone. Or, seek out a dermatologist’s advice if your acne is painful, inflamed, is accompanied by a rash, or looks infected.
If it seems like your maskne is here to stay, consider treating the deeper causes of acne with a . These non-invasive treatments are an effective way to treat current breakouts and prevent future ones from happening, so you’ll have clear, smooth skin to show off once masks are a thing of the past.
Our advanced ™ use Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to eliminate acne-causing bacteria, while soothing inflammation and promoting faster healing. The treatments are comfortable, quick (around 15-30 minutes per session), and deliver visible, lasting results.
Clear the way for beautiful, blemish-free skin today by locating a provider near you using the search field below.