Wearing a mask would be a normal part of your routine now. In fact, you cannot go out unless you are wearing a mask. Undoubtedly, it has played a major role in reducing the spread of coronavirus.
However, due to the constant wearing of a mask, I am sure you have started to feel that your skin is breaking out. From itchiness to rashes and to acne and peeling of the skin, it must have been a nightmare for you.
But, No Need to Panic! You are not alone in this. This particular condition is one of the common side effects of the mask and is known as the “Mask Acne” or “Maskne”.
Not only, this causes acne, but also cause irritation, bumpiness and irritation. So, if you are worried about maskne then read on. You’ll not be able to explore the causes of maskne but how to treat it in simple steps as well.
What You Need to Know About Maskne Skin Problems
It is a broad term that includes various skin conditions due to wearing masks and they are:
- Acne– It results when the pores on your skin are clogged with the dead cells, oil and dirt. It can cause pimples, blackheads and whiteheads.
- Contact Dermatitis– This occurs when a person is sensitive and allergic to any material due to any material of the mask. It can result in irritation, red rash and blisters.
- Rosacea– If you suffer from rosacea then wearing the mask would further worsen your skin condition. This can further result in redness and pimples.
So, if you are already suffering from any of these skin issues then your chances to develop maskne increases.
What Causes Maskne?
As I have mentioned above, there are different skin issues that cause maskne and even the symptoms vary from person to person.
Now coming back to your skin, you have natural oil, dead skin cells and bacteria on your skin. While wearing a mask, all these substances develop more on your skin and block the pores.
The risk of acne is further increased when your mask traps the humidity due to sweating and breathing. Another reason for the acne is the friction that your masK cause on your face. When you are wearing a mask or covering your face with any material then it rubs against your skin that leads to irritation and chafing.
You might also be allergic or sensitive to any material of your mask. Chemicals are also used to pretreat your mask so they might feel rough on your skin. In the same way, you would suffer from irritation, if your mask is pretreated with any scented detergent.
How to Avoid Maskne?
Since wearing a mask is an official thing while you are going out, you have to wear it to reduce the spread and infection of COVID-19. But, this doesn’t mean that you let your skin suffer.
So, there are many ways by which you can protect yourself from the maskne. Let’s have a look at them.
Ways to Avoid Acne and Irritation
1. Wear a Cotton Face Mask
If you are not a healthcare provider or the one working on the frontline in the pandemic then as per CDC, you can opt for the cloth face covering. You also need to save the N95 masks for the people who actually need them.
Face masks that are manufactured from woven cotton instead of synthetic fabric are breathable, soft and have a reduced chance of rubbing against your skin.
2. Wash Your Face Regularly
Your mask would be having direct contact with your skin if you wear a face tight mask. This would be the perfect scenario for the oil, dirt, dead skin cells and sweat to build up. For this very reason, it becomes essential to wash your face regularly with a mild pH-balanced cleanser and then wear a face mask.
In case, you are wearing a homemade cloth face mask, you need to wash it thoroughly and regularly as it can absorb the natural oil from your skin.
You also need to make sure not to use scented detergents and fabric softeners while you are washing your homemade face mask as it can cause irritation.
3. Protect Your Skin from Irritation
To protect your skin from getting rubbed by the facemask, you can apply any ointment so that your skin won’t suffer from chafing and friction. Regular vaseline would work and any skin healing balm which your skin specialist would recommend you.
If you are the frontline heroes who are providing healthcare services you need to keep hydrocolloid bandages with yourself. These bandages will protect you not only from the cuts due to the tight-fitting N-95 face masks but also help in healing the wounds.
4. Skip Makeup
Where makeup can give you a complete makeover, it can also affect your skin by creating a humid and warm environment for your skin. It can alter the production of sebum which can cause breakouts and clogged pores. So, if you are observing any acne around your chin, mouth and nose, you need to reconsider using makeup under your mask, especially concealer and foundation. However, above the mask, anything is fair.
5. Avoid Using Harsh Skin Products
If you are among those who put a lot of skincare products on their face, they need to seriously consider it for your skin becomes really sensitive if you are wearing a mask even for a shorter time period. In order to reduce maskne related skin issues, you need to avoid using harsh skincare products that include exfoliant, chemical peels and even retinoid.
6. Take a Mask Break
Just like you take a break for food, you also need to take 15 minutes to break every 4 hours. Obviously, make sure to do that only when it’s safe. This technique has really helped the workers who are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19. This will surely help your skin.
The places that are safe for taking a break from your mask include:
- At home
- Inside your car when you are alone
- Outdoor when you can have at least 6 feet distance from the people
7. Consult Your Dermatologist
If you are suffering from any skin issue, you need to visit your dermatologist and follow the treatment plan of your doctor as it’ll keep your situation under control. The same is the case, if your maskne condition doesn’t get better even when you are following all the aforementioned steps, you need to consult your doctor.
Take Away Note,
COVID-19 has undoubtedly shifted the normal norms of living. It has not only affected health but every walk of life. At one point where wearing, a mask should be your priority, taking care of the skincare routine should be equally important for you in this case.
Life is busy and taking care of your skin is hard, but taking care of your skin protects it from lifelong skin problems.