Maskne is a fairly new phenomenon that only gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are still in the midst of COVID-19, many nations have previously mandated the wearing the masks in public. Some places have eased their regulations where people have the option to go mask-free in public places.
Despite the ease of regulations, many people, myself included, still prefer to wear masks in public places, especially when it’s crowded. One downside to wearing a mask frequently for long periods is the development of maskne. “Maskne” is made up of the words, “mask” and “acne”. You’ve probably guessed by now that wearing masks can cause an outbreak of acne and let me tell you, it is not fun at all.
Maskne has become such a worrying topic that experts have stepped up to talk about this issue that affects millions.
If common folks like you and I get maskne from wearing masks, imagine the millions of healthcare professionals and front-line workers who have to wear layers of tight-fitting masks for hours on end!
If you’re suffering from maskne or worried about it, this article’s for you. Read on to learn more about the causes of maskne and the steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting it.
Types Of Masks
The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the market for disposable medical face masks. You’ve probably seen or used one of those blue disposable surgical masks. These are the best for people who are prone to maskne, as long as they are disposed of once they become dirty.
Cotton and reusable masks and masks with cute patterns have been invented to even come in kids sizes for young children. The point is, that there are various types of masks made from different materials in the market today.
Some experts advise people to wash reusable masks frequently. I hope you’re not eating anything right now because it’s only going to get more graphically disturbing. While your mask filters out the dust, it also traps oil, sweat, and dirt within it. This means that every time to put your mask back on without washing it, you are constantly reapplying the nasty stuff back to your face.
Over time, as more residual particles are left on your face, your skin will suffer due to the build-up and cause acne and breakouts.
What you’ll need to do is to let your skin breathe once in a while. If you’re cooped up in the office, take a fifteen-minute break without a mask in stipulated mask-free areas.
You’ll also want to wash your masks frequently with soap and water. If you’re wearing disposable ones, be sure to bring a few spare ones to change throughout the day when they get dirty.
It is to no surprise that hot and humid conditions will make you sweat more and worsen maskne so be aware of that. If you need to know, dermatologists advise people to go for 100 percent cotton masks.
Ditch The Makeup
Experts strongly recommend people go makeup-free if they have to wear masks for long periods of time. Makeup contains a lot of foreign chemicals that prevent your skin from breathing. Adding a layer of mask and the oil, sweat, and dirt that are trapped within will definitely damage your skin over time.
So, if possible, try to put on minimal makeup. If you have to put on makeup for any reason, try to tone it down at the very least. Dermatologists recommend applying tinted moisturizer with sunscreen to keep your skin hydrated and protect it from harmful UV rays.
When you remove your makeup, use micellar water or a gentle cleanser so that you don’t overwash and dry out your skin. Be sure to apply moisturizer afterward too.
Go Minimalist With Your Skin Care Routine
With new skin care products seemingly dominating the shelves every month, you might be tempted to get the latest products and try them out. However, too much of a good thing may not be the best for you — remember quality over quantity. Applying too many different chemicals to your face might not necessarily be good for your skin. Hence, it’s better to take a minimalist approach to your skincare routine and do the bare minimum.
Opt for products that are not concentrated with acids, fragrance, or retinol as they irritate your skin when you put a mask on. Of course, do not skip out on the important parts such as cleansing and moisturizing. Frequent moisturizing of your skin can reduce mask friction and hence mitigate skin damage.
What To Do to Treat Maskne
Fortunately, maskne is treatable. Your best bet is to visit a dermatologist to get a detailed diagnosis and professional medical advice and treatment if you are suffering from chronic maskne.
However, if you are unable to afford the cost or time, dermatologists suggest that you go to your local pharmacy and get an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide with 2.5 or 5 percent concentration — but nothing higher than that.
People with black or brown skin are more prone to develop hyperpigmentation from maskne. This would darken the acne spots on one’s skin. If that’s the case, apply a topical with glycolic acid to lighten the spots. However, generally, long-term usage of skin lightening agents should be monitored by a dermatologist as it could cause complications so it’s best if you visit one.
Other simple tips include applying sunscreen even when you’re indoors and avoiding overeating processed food. The foreign chemicals from processed food can worsen maskne symptoms and irritate your skin further. Instead, opt for more greens and natural foods. Remember to drink more water to stay hydrated as well.
Maskne, while not desirable, is not too big of a worry. Hopefully, this article has provided you with simple and practical tips to deal with maskne. With proper knowledge and steps, you can reduce your chances of developing maskne and even recover from it. That said, if you’re suffering from a severe case of maskne, do make a trip to a dermatologist to seek professional help and advice.