Maskne is the new Acne
Maskne is the new Acne
In this new age we find ourselves in, lots of things are now different – including regular use of a face mask to help slow the spread and community transmission of Covid-19. It’s a great thing, of course, that we are taking these steps to protect ourselves, and others, however an unwelcome side effect can be the experience of acne associated from the mask use. Hello Maskne.
How is Acne Formed?
Acne vulgaris, or more regular run of the mill acne, happens when our hair follicles and it’s partner the sebaceous gland, become blocked with oil or skin cell debris and results in whiteheads blackheads, pustules, papules, nodules or cystic lesions which can occur on various parts of the body. Hormonal changes, diet, stress and certain medications can all trigger a breakout of acne and certain risk factors can be present too, like your genetics, your age (hi there teenagers), incorrect product use or, you may have guessed it, friction or pressure on your skin.
Why does a Face Mask make it worse?
The acne we experience from wearing our face mask isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Health professionals have dealt with these skin problems for a long time, and it has a proper name – acne mechanica. This can happen on other parts of the body too, but on our face, it is acne that develops from the friction caused by wearing a face covering or mask.
Wearing our masks causes heat and sweat to get trapped on the skin, restricting our skin from breathing, and blocking our pores. Initially, your skin may just feel a bit rough and bumpy and feel irritated, but after a while these smaller bumps progress to become more obvious blemishes. Continued friction from our protective wear ramps up the irritation and causes the bumps that leads to a breakout. You will know your mask is the culprit if your skin is relatively clear everywhere else.
What Can I Do?
Consider the type of face mask you choose to wear and wash, or dispose of it, often. You don’t want that lovely environment of sweat and oil sitting on the mask and on your skin for too long.
Wash your face well too. By all means, choose the best type of cleanser for your skin type, but it’s important to keep your skin as clean as possible. Also consider the type of moisturiser you use. Whilst less is more underneath the mask (maybe take a little break from your make-up, unless Zoom or Google Meets calls for it) the use of moisturiser can help your skin cope with the friction, and subsequent irritation that mask wearing can cause.
The use of an acne spot treatment regularly on the area will help clear mask related breakouts, but just keep an eye on what’s actually happening to your skin, as a rash or skin irritation may require more gentle care, and treatment designed for sensitive skin may get you a better result. See below for some options that can help.
Don’t feel too bad about your skin condition underneath the mask. There are several practical steps you can take to ensure your skin is as healthy as possible, many of us are going through the same thing, and it’s mostly covered whilst in public anyway.
In time things will change, and so will your skin and its condition.
Some Maskne Solutions
A couple of skin cleansers to consider:
A couple of acne treatments to help clear things up:
For skin irritations and sensitivity: