Our lives have changed dramatically since the onset of COVID-19 in both challenging and positive ways. One thing most of us didn’t expect to encounter is “maskne.” For those lucky enough to not be familiar with maskne, allow us to explain.
WHAT IS MASKNE?
Maskne, aka “mask acne,” generally refers to the breakouts that occur on the nose, upper lip, and cheeks caused by wearing a face covering. Wearing a face covering is very important to keep yourself and those around you safe, but the breakouts can be a nuisance.
Doctors, nurses, and health care workers on the front lines are used to wearing masks. For the rest of us, this is a new, daily phenomenon that requires some inventive solutions.
WHAT CAUSES MASKNE?
Wearing a mask or face covering can causes breakouts for any of the following reasons:
- Friction from the mask against your nose and cheeks can cause the skin barrier to become irritated. An irritated skin barrier may have difficulty balancing oil and hydration levels, thus causing breakouts.
- Masks trap humidity against the skin. This increase in moisture, combined with the warm environment created by the mask, allows bacteria to grow and causes an increase in breakouts.
- Masks, especially those that are fabric based, absorb oils from the skin. The mask, now saturated with oils from the skin, rubs against the skin and sebum left behind, causing clogged pores.
HOW TO TREAT MASKNE:
To treat maskne, we recommend making sure that your skin is clean and well moisturized, morning and night.
- Hydration Sensitive Gel Cleanser: This gentle cleanser helps to remove oils, dirt, and other impurities that can build up on the skin and exacerbate maskne. (Be sure not to over-wash your skin or you’ll irritate your skin barrier even more.) For oily skin types, we recommend our Hydration Oasis Creamy Foaming Cleanser. As always, please consult with your physician or dermatologist if you have questions about your skincare regimen.
- Hydration Oasis Refreshing Gel Moisturizer: An irritated skin barrier needs proper hydration to act as a shield against friction from your mask. This oil-free moisturizer won’t clog skin, so you don’t need to worry about making your maskne worse!
TIPS TO PREVENT MASKNE:
To reduce the probability of maskne, here are a few tips:
Change and/or Wash Your Mask Daily: Ideally, a clean mask should be worn at the start of each day. The recommended choice when an N95 mask is not available or needed is a tightly woven 100% cotton mask that provides a good balance of protection and breathability. Fabric masks should be washed after each use, and disposable masks should not be reused. Your job may require you to wear medical grade masks, so wear the appropriate mask for your situation.
Cotton Lining: When wearing a disposable mask, adding a piece of cotton gauze in between your face and the mask can help alleviate friction that causes breakouts.
Sun Protection: A face mask does not equate to sun protection! Be sure to wear SPF when going outside for activities.
Clean Skin: A mask combined with heavy makeup, thick moisturizers, or excess oil can increase the chances of irritation and breakouts. Start with clean, well-balanced skin and skip the heavy makeup under your mask.