Wearing masks have become a part of our daily lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, and if you’ve been developing skin problems as a result of wearing a mask, you’ve got a condition known as “maskne”, which is a common side effect of mask-wearing. Maskne is an umbrella term for a variety of skin conditions caused by prolonged mask-wearing and occurs commonly in healthcare professionals, as well as in women of all ages. While acne is one of the most common skin conditions that is caused by mask-wearing, maskne encompasses a range of other skin conditions such as:
- Contact dermatitis
Causes of Maskne
As Maskne is associated with a variety of skin conditions, its causes vary according to the specific condition, but generally, Maskne is caused by the following:
- Clogged Pores. Mask-wearing causes oil and sweat that’s released by the pores to get clogged, and this may cause acne.
- Friction from Mask Wearing. Prolonged contact of the mask against the skin can thin or break the skin, leading to friction and irritation. This skin damage can lead to redness, sensitivities, irritations, abrasions.
- Humidity. Masks essentially help to keep our saliva and other droplets that are emitted from breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing – from getting out into the air and potentially transmitting diseases or illnesses. This creates a seal of humidity that prevents moisture from escaping, resulting in an environment where acne-causing bacteria can thrive.
Maskne Treatments and Tips For Prevention
First of all, keep wearing your mask, as keeping your mouth and nose covered is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from Covid-19.
- Wash your face regularly. Use gentle, non-comedogenic milk or gel cleansers that do not irritate your skin as harsh cleansers may make it harder for your skin to heal.
- Wash your cloth mask regularly, preferably after each use. This removes any germs that may have accumulated during wear
- Take a break from makeup. Certain beauty products cause our pores to clog and may delay healing.
- Moisturize your face before wearing a mask. Before wearing a mask, apply a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer to your skin. Be sure to check the label for the words non-comedogenic, non-clogging or non-acnegenic to find the right option for you. Ingredients such as dimethicone or ceramides can help repair the skin barrier to prevent irritation from the masks.
- Use a breathable, cotton mask that has at least two layers. Make sure the fabric that touches your face is breathable. Cotton is a non-irritating, breathable fabric.
Maskne mainly involves skin conditions like acne that are caused from mask-wearing. It is important to keep wearing your mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your symptoms persist for more than a week after home care, consult a doctor who will be able to advise you on the next steps.
You may need to consider other treatment options for acne.