Maskne – Acne Mechanica

‘Maskne’ is a real thing affecting many people now during this pandemic. The struggle is real. It is a common problem now due to prolong usage of mask which cannot be avoided in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

What is Maskne?

‘Maskne’ which is also known as Acne Mechanica is pimples located in the area where the mask touches your face.

Maskne is a general term used for several skin conditions caused by the usage of face mask which includes:

  • Acne: A condition which occurs when pores get clogged with oil, dead skin cells and dirt which causes pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.
  • Rosacea: A common skin condition which causes redness, rashes and dilated blood vessels on the face. Wearing face mask causes further flare-ups.
  • Folliculitis: Infection of hair follicles which causes bumps leading to itchiness and pain.
  • Contact dermatitis: Allergy due to sensitive material like mask which result in redness and skin irritation when there is contact with skin.

What are the causes of Maskne?

In most cases maskne is the result of clogged pores.

Our skin is already contaminated with oil, bacteria and dead skin cells due to exposure to the external environment. Wearing a mask further aggravates the build up of these substances and aggravates blocked pores by trapping humidity allowing bacteria to thrive due to breathing and sweating.

How to prevent it?

These are a few skin care tips to protect your face from mask irritation.

  • Wash your face: Use a gentle cleanser that is free from fragrance and oil and rinse your face with luke warm water. This prevents dirt and oil being trapped on the skin surface which causes breakouts.
  • Clean your reusable mask: You need to wash your mask frequently if you use it for more than an hour. Use a mild detergent to wash your face mask as residue from these products can also irritate the skin.
  • Ditch the make up: Avoid wearing a make-up when wearing a face covering. This promotes clogged pores.
  • Apply moisturizer: Put on moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores (these are known as non-comedogenic moisturizer) after cleansing your face. This will act as a barrier of protection between your skin and the mask.

How to treat Maskne?

According to articles from dermatologists, a good foaming cleanser will help the skin to stay clean and calm.

If you have an acne prone skin you can use something with salicylic acid base as a cleanser with your doctors advise.

  • Apply a barrier: After cleansing and moisturizing you skin each morning, apply a thin layer of barrier ointment to the inflamed area (petroleum jelly). Allow it to sit for a few minutes then put on your mask. This technique works well for fabric mask.
  • Sunscreen: Applying sunscreen helps to prevent skin damage and hyperpigmentation.
  • Retinols: If you use retinol for breakouts, apply these products only during night time when you won’t be wearing a mask anymore and be sure to completely clean them in the morning. Retinols should be used with caution.
  • Spot treatment: At night, you can use benzyl peroxide spot treatment of 2.5% directly on the pimples. Remember to wash your face in the morning before putting on your face mask. You can discuss this with your doctor to ensure it suits your skin type.

While maskne can be aggravating, ditching your mask is not an option during this pandemic

You can think of it this way. If you get a maskne, all you need is a trip to a store or a skin care expert to get back the glow on your skin.

If you end up with COVID-19 to avoid maskne, your skin will be the least of your worries as it can become a life-threatening condition.

While it may be tempting to forgo the mask, it is important to understand that wearing a mask is vital during this pandemic.

By wearing your mask, you protect others and show respect for them and on the other hand when others wear their mask, they protect you and show respect towards you.

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