What is ‘Maskne’?
As an attempt to slow down the effects of COVID-19, mask-wearing has become a part of everyone’s daily routine. While masks are ideal for protecting against the spread of COVID-19, they aren’t too great for the skin. For those with acne-prone skin, wearing a mask increases issues that are already tough to manage. Throughout the day, oil, sweat, and bacteria are trapped on the skin. This moisture, in conjunction with pressure and friction, causes what is known as maskne, mask acne, or acne mechanica¹.
While maskne is generally known as mask acne, it is actually an umbrella term for skin conditions that are caused by wearing a facial covering. These conditions may include:
- Acne - This happens as a result of clogged pores and bacteria trapped amongst the skin. Some forms of acne may include pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads¹.
- Folliculitis - Also known as an infection of hair follicles, Folliculitis can cause bumps that appear to be an acne breakout. Common symptoms can also include itchiness or pain¹.
- Contact Dermatitis - Happens when you’re sensitive or allergic to the material of your mask. This can lead to rashes, irritations, or even blisters¹.
- Rosacea - For those with Rosacea, wearing a facial covering may lead to flare-ups in the skin, which can cause redness and pimples¹.
- Humidity: The combination of breathing, talking, or sweating while wearing a mask for long periods of time create humidity and moisture in the surrounding areas, forming a hot spot for breakouts.
- Friction: The continuous rubbing and pressure of a mask against the face leads to redness and irritation.
- Prolonged Occlusion: Dirt, oils, and bacteria become trapped in the skin as a part of daily mask-wearing and can result in clogged pores, dry, itchy, and irritated skin.
While masks are necessary to minimize the spread of COVID-19, there are many ways to help your skin fight off maskne.
- Wash your face before putting on a mask. • Keeping your face and skin clean can help reduce bacteria and irritation.
- Switch out masks daily. • Toss disposable masks after each use.
- Opt for natural fabric masks. • Cotton or silk masks are more breathable and skin-friendly.
- When possible, try wearing minimal to no makeup.
- American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends removing your mask for 15 minutes every 4 hours to give your skin a break².
• Wash fabric masks after every use.