Have you noticed more breakouts, blemishes, and skin irritations around the bottom half of your face since you started wearing a mask?
If yes! Then you might be dealing with mask-induced acne aka “maskne”.
Mask Acne is Real!
I’m sure you’re wondering, what ‘Maskne’ is?
In this article, we’ll discuss mask-acne, its causes, and preventive measures to avoid breakouts. So keep reading to grasp everything you need to know about ‘maskne’ / ‘mask-acne’.
What Is ‘Maskne’?
In layman’s language, ‘Maskne’ is the term used to describe acne and breakouts caused by wearing masks for a prolonged time. Maskne is a combination of two words, “Mask” and “Acne”.
Maskne = Mask + Acne
In medical terms, ‘Maskne’ is known as acne mechania, a type of acne caused by heat, friction, pressure or occlusion.
Mask acne usually occurs in the areas covered by the mask plus the areas where your face mask touches the skin – mainly on the lower half of your faces like the jawline, bridge of the nose, chin, and cheeks.
Mask acne is different from hormonal acne because it is caused by a face mask which is an external factor.
Apart from breakouts induced by prolonged mask-wearing, some other issues are also triggered by it, such as sensitivity and soreness.
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What Causes Maskne / Mask Acne?
Mask acne are skin breakouts induced by prolonged mask-wearing. Here are a few possible reasons for that :
One of the prime causes of mask acne is friction. Face mask generates friction on your skin that damages the skin’s protective barrier and clog pores. It also creates a micro-environment for bacteria to settle into your pores which leads to breakouts.
In addition to this, friction between mask and skin can make your skin itchy and cause irritant contact dermatitis.
Maskne – mask induced acne occurs when pores get clogged by sweat, dust, skin oils or bacteria trapped on the skin by wearing the mask.
Moisture & Heat
While breathing, your mask traps in a lot of warm air, and it also prevents moisture or any other droplets emitted while breathing, sneezing or talking from escaping into the air. That builds an ideal humid environment for yeast and bacteria to thrive in the skin, which leads to clog pores and cause breakouts and acne.
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How To Prevent Mask Acne To Occur?
Face masks become an indispensable part of our lives. As all of us must wear face masks daily due to Covid19, so we need to take some preventive measures to avoid skin eruptions caused by prolonged mask-wearing.
Prevention is better than cure.
Here are some most helpful tips to limit further breakdowns caused by wearing face protection.
1. Choose The Right Face Mask
For general usage, always opt for soft, breathable, lighter fabrics such as cotton or cotton blends as they are comfortable and fairly gentle on the skin and don’t create as much friction against the skin.
Ditch synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon as these fabrics can cause more irritation and breakouts.
Ensure that your mask fits properly to cover your face well, but it should not be too tight because it can irritate your skin.
Always wash your face mask before you use it for the first time.
2. Keep Your Face Mask Clean / Wash Or Switch Masks
If you’re using a reusable cotton mask, don’t forget to wash your mask after every use to remove any acne-causing bacteria, dead skin cells and oils from the mask.
Use warm water and a mild detergent to wash your face masks.
Treat your mask like you (hopefully) treat your undergarments.
It’s always better to invest in multiple masks to switch the mask every day so that you can wear a clean mask while the others are in the wash.
3. Take Mask Breaks
Try to take a mask break for 15 minutes every 4 hours. In that break, step away from others, take your mask off to allow your skin to breathe for some time.
Let the skin breathe.
4. Cleanse Your Face At Least Twice a Day
Use a gentle, foaming, oil-free, non-comedogenic (that does not clog pores) face wash to wash your face twice a day to remove all the accumulated dirt, bacteria and excess oil from the skin.
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Ensure that your skin is clean before going to bed.
Splash….splash, cleanse your face.
Make sure to wash your face before putting on a mask and after taking it off. It will hinder the build-up of bacteria, oil, and any pore-clogging factors.
If you have excessively oily and acne-prone skin, use a face wash that contains salicylic acid to effectively remove excess oils and cleanse clogged pores.
5. Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Always moisturize your skin a few minutes before you wear your mask, as it protects your skin from mask friction.
Nourish the skin, you’re in.
After washing your face, apply a lightweight moisturiser with at least SPF 30 to prevent dryness and keep your skin hydrated.
Not only will this help your skin maintain a protective barrier to retain moisture, but it also protects your skin from UV rays.
6. Hold Off On Makeup
Take a break from makeup as this is the right time to let your skin breathe.
Wearing makeup under the mask, particularly heavy foundations and multiple coats of products, can clog pores and prompt irritation and breakouts.
Skin first, makeup second.
If you want to wear makeup, then try to choose lightweight, oil-free and non-comedogenic products.
Skip the makeup where the mask covers your face – the lower half of your face. But feel free to do eye makeup – focus more on your winged eyeliner and mascara!
7. Wash Your Hands Often
Wash your hands often with lukewarm water and soap to avoid breakouts.
When you adjust your mask, you introduce oil, sweat and microscopic-dirt from your hands to your face, leading to clog pores and cause maskne.
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How To Treat Mask Acne?
If maskne is left untreated, it can lead to more breakouts and pimples.
Treat it if you got it.
Don’t worry; mask acne is treatable, and there are many ways to treat blemishes and acne caused by masks.
Here are some best solutions to clear up ‘ mask-acne’ :
1. Adopt Gentle Skin Care Routine
To clear out your mask acne, follow a simple skincare routine that includes cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing.
Use a cleanser with a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to cleanses your skin thoroughly. High concentrated (more than 5 %) benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can make your skin excessively dry.
2. Practice Spot Treatments
For the spot treatment of acne breakouts, use over-the-counter acne-fighting ingredients. Try using products containing one or more of these ingredients :
- 2.5 or 5 % Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
These over-the-counter products aids to unclog pores, kill acne-causing bacteria and zap pimples to reveal clear and healthy skin.
3. Use Pimple Patches
If your skin feels dry, irritated, and inflamed by using spot treatments like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, use pimple patches to treat your mask acne.
Pimple patches are small bandages made of hydrocolloid, which soak up the pores’ moisture and oil without drying the surrounding skin. These patches reduce acne inflammation, acne scars and promoting the healing process of zits and acne.
These acne patches act as a cover-up that protects the zits from dust and external bacteria. Besides, it inhibits you from picking the pimples and protects the rubbing between the mask and the skin.
You can apply pimple patches under your mask, where no one can see them.
4. Consider Using Retinol
Add Retinol in your acne treatment routine.
Retinol is an acne-fighting ingredient that removes dead skin cells to regulate skin cell turnover and clear acne. It renews the skin and makes your skin look radiant and clear.
Retinol can make your skin sensitive to sunlight so, always use low concentrated retinol at night.
5. Consult A Dermatologist
If you have already tried the methods mentioned above but don’t see any improvement in your acne, it is high time to consult with a board-certified dermatologist.
In conclusion, we can say that mask acne can be avoided by taking the right preventive measures. If you have any other tips to prevent or treat maskne, let me know in the comment section.
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