Until last year, the term “maskne” was not a thing. We didn’t need such a term because we weren’t wearing masks every day. Now that we are, we’re seeing more patients complain of new or unrelenting breakouts. Because we may be wearing masks for a while, we should know what maskne is all about and how we can manage this side-effect of this health practice. Although the term maskne sounds a lot like acne, there is more to it than an increase in breakouts. In addition to causing a bigger problem with pimples, maskne also describes a worsening of eczema, perioral dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and rosacea.
Skin irritation can occur more easily due to mask-wearing for one simple reason. Bacteria and other microorganisms that inflame the skin thrive in humid, warm environments. We breathe and talk from behind the sheet of material, which creates just such an environment around the nose and mouth.
Is Maskne Preventable?
A few strategies may decrease the risk of recurrent maskne or may decrease the severity of symptoms. These include:
- Care for your mask. Masks are made of paper or cloth. Paper masks are disposable and should not be reused, as the material can harbor bacteria after just one use. Cloth masks can also harbor bacteria so should be washed regularly with fragrance-free soap. Drying masks on a medium to high setting also helps kill bacteria. Finally, a cloth mask should be breathable. Cotton is an ideal fabric.
- Care for your skin. If you didn’t wash your face daily before you began wearing a mask. Now is the time to start. Whether you wash your face in the morning or at night, use a gentle cleanser and soft cloth. You should also apply a good moisturizer based on your skin’s needs. If you have oily skin, choose a lighter moisturizer. If you have dry skin, you could benefit from a thicker moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or ceramide.
If you are already struggling with maskne, contact one of our San Antonio offices. We have several services that can help restore optimal skin health and appearance, including microneedling with PRP, chemical peels, and more. Call an office near you to schedule your visit with Dr. Vivian Bucay.