‘Maskne’: a New Sign of the Times

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Do you still remember sometime in April, you’d go out, and you’d run back in your house like the wind, after a minute, because you forgot your face mask? Scary yet funny times. That was you in the first few weeks of that month. But now, wearing masks has become a part of our daily routine, a part of ourselves like it is some extended body part. We always have it everywhere we go.

Well, that is if we are responsible citizens at this time of the pandemic. We are practicing social distance and wearing masks. We are doing this not only because the law mandates it but also because we are serious about protecting ourselves and other people from the COVID-19 virus.

Wearing masks has been reducing the risk of getting the virus. But at the same time, it is taking a toll on our skin. Wearing masks is also an opportunity for bacteria to attack skin areas that are under the facial mask. People are calling it the “maskne.”

What is “Maskne”?

“Maskne’’ is a new word coined to describe acne caused by wearing face masks; induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are usually found in areas where we come in contact with the face mask: chin, cheeks, and nose.

The skin professionals and even Arizona dentist Rod W, Gore DDS, call maskne by its clinical term: acne mechanica.

It is a kind of acne triggered by heat, pressure, and friction against the skin. It is the same acne that football players get on areas where the chin straps are placed on and on the sides of their faces where their protective gear rubs. The same thing goes with wearing face masks tightly for a long period.

How to Prevent Maskne

1. Wear the right mask

You would want to go for a fabric that will create as little to no friction as possible. Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist, said silk is the best type of mask to avoid maskne. Be sure to frequently wash your masks and consider buying a few so you can change masks at least twice a day without any problems.

2. Simplify skincare routine

You might want to put your 7-step Korean skincare routine on hold for now. Choose mild cleansers and lightweight moisturizers. To lessen the chances of getting irritations, opt for fragrance-free products.

You would want to keep your skin hydration as this is one big factor of breakouts. Hyaluronic acid and ceramide are some of the ingredients that are best for hydration.


3. Make ‘quick-wash’ a routine

Whether you are a sweaty person or not, you will sweat under your mask, my friend. Sweat can also be a reason for your breakout. Consider doing a quick wash, especially on days you are sweating too much. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer afterward. It is also important not to overwash. This can dry out and strip the skin, which can give you more acne.

4. Wear less makeup

We don’t have a problem with you wearing ten layers of foundation when you need to run to the grocery to buy your tissue. But if your skin’s condition is suffering from this so-called maskne, makeup might not be a great idea now.

Makeup can only add more irritation and invite more bacteria to the skin. If you really can’t go makeup-free, tone it down. You can use a tinted moisturizer that has SPF as an alternative. After all, half of your face will be covered by a mask.

How to treat it when you get it

When it happens, turn to acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Look for cleansers and moisturizers that have them. Every skin is different, so do not forget to patch test whenever you try out a new product.

And, please, please stop touching your face. Just don’t.

Above all else, it is best to reach out to your dermatologist for professional skin advice.

Wearing your masks is vital to stopping the spread of the virus. We can’t excuse ourselves from not wearing one just because of maskne risks. A face mask is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others from getting infected by COVID-19. Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid it or treat it if you get it.

Regular cleansing, moisturizing, and changing your skin-friendly mask at least twice a day may help avoid getting maskne.

If the problem persists, we recommend that you consult a dermatologist.

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