Unfortunately, yes, it is. And the struggle is real. Maskne has always affected people who wear a mask for their profession but now it is affecting a lot more of us. Maskne is a form of acne mechanica. Acne mechanica is caused by the rubbing or friction of fabric against the skin. The friction irritates the skin, allowing bacteria and dirt to build up in the pores and cause clogging. Wearing a mask can cause friction.
Now we have to wear a mask in the middle of summer. Along with the friction, add in that summer humidity, sweating, and sunscreen. These are contributing factors that can cause acne under normal conditions let alone when wearing a mask. Moisture gets trapped under the mask creating the perfect damp environment for acne to start forming. Also, don’t forget when you breathe or talk, you create hot air – that also gets trapped under a mask.
All these conditions can wreak havoc on your skin and cause breakouts. But what can you do to prevent or minimize these breakouts?
- Cleanse daily, am and pm, after workouts or after wearing a mask for a prolonged period, with a gentle cleanser. A gentle cleanser can keep your skin calm without over-drying.
- Use a lightweight moisturizer. Yes, your skin still needs hydration.
- Use salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, depending on your skin type, to treat acne. You can treat the whole face or spot-treat where needed. Be careful with benzoyl peroxide as it can bleach fabric.
- Go without makeup if possible. If you do choose to wear it, it should be mineral makeup and non-comedogenic. Keep in mind that makeup can stain masks and if you’re wearing a mask that could be reused, like a cloth mask or a precious (K)N-95, it may affect your ability to clean and/or reuse.
- If wearing a cloth mask, make sure you wash it daily. If it is a new cloth mask, wash it before wearing it for the first time. You may want to skip the fabric softener and use a gentle detergent as some softeners can be irritating, especially to sensitive skin.
- If acne becomes severe, you may want to see your personal physician or dermatologist for treatment.
A great in-office treatment for acne is microdermabrasion. It can be done on any skin type at any time of the year. It exfoliates and removes dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the skin and improves skin texture and tone.
If you are having problems with acne, or maskne, you can call us to schedule an appointment for a treatment or a consultation. Having maskne may not be completely avoidable but it can be controlled and treated. And please continue wearing your masks!