With the recent pandemic, and the many states mandating the donning of face masks, more and more individuals are experiencing problems. They are noticing occurring around their nose and their mouth. As it turns out, they are falling victims to “maskne,” a new term that is used to describe the formation of acne that is caused by the wearing of a mask.
We have all, after having to wear a face mask for hours at a time, know the sweaty, sticky, humid feeling that develops—downright icky at best. What happens is that the mask traps that moisture, along with oil and bacteria, that turns into the perfect breeding ground for clogged pores—resulting in breakouts.
Don’t lose hope—there are home remedies for this type of acne that will have your skin looking vibrant again, even if no one will see it.
What Is Maskne?
Acne mechanica, the more scientific term for maskne, is a form of acne that is typically triggered by the friction or pressure on the skin present when wearing heavy clothing or protective gear.
When wearing a mask for hours at a time, noticeable breakouts will occur in those areas where the mask meets the skin—such as your chin, cheeks, or nose. In addition to maskne, there is the possibility that wearing a mask can lead to the outbreak of eczema, commonly presenting with dry and itchy skin.
Why Do Masks Enhance Breakouts
Many are wondering why it is that masks play a role in enhancing these breakouts. The reason is that the mask serves as a trap for such culprits as sweat, dirt, oil, and even humidity. These are then stuck on your skin throughout the wearing of the mask.
When your mask pushes on your skin, via friction, it essentially pushes that dirt, oil, and sweat into your skin, which then increases inflammation, which in turn will trigger an acne outbreak.
Prevention And Treatment
- Wash Your Face
In order to combat the formation of maskne, it is vital that you make sure you wash your face thoroughly before putting a mask on and after taking a mask off. This will aid in reducing any lingering bacteria that may work towards an acne outbreak,
It is suggested that you opt to use a face cleanser that will not work towards the drying out or irritating of your skin. Make sure to read the ingredients label, and avoid those items such as aluminum, parabens, polyethylene, and retinyl acetate.
One of the most vital steps to prevent the formation of maskne is removing both dead skin cells and any lurking bacteria from your face. This is achieved through the exfoliating of your skin at least once a week to remove any buildup and aid in the unclogging of your pores.
The process of moisturizing your skin before donning your face mask has a two-fold effect. It aids in the prevention of the dryness and itchiness that often occur when wearing a mask for extended periods of time, as well as providing a protective layer of defense for your skin against any bacteria. An excellent choice for a skin moisturizer is coconut oil, which has shown to have antibacterial effects. Just remember when applying that a little coconut oil will go a long way.
- Lighten Up On The Makeup
To help aid in getting rid of those pimples that are occurring under your mask, try lightening up on your makeup. If you usually choose to apply foundation, or bronze, in those areas of your nose, chin, or cheeks, try forgoing applying any makeup on those days that you expect to be wearing a mask for extended amounts of time. The combination of makeup and extended periods of mask-wearing can result in making your maskne worse.
- Avoid Foods That Promote Acne
Although extended periods of mask-wearing may be contributing to your maskne breakouts, so can your diet. There are foods that have proven to be acne promoting, including sugar, processed foods, fried food, dairy, and alcoholic beverages. These will, more often than not, fuel your breakouts if not aid in their cause altogether. Supplement your diet with food rich in probiotics, high fiber, organic proteins ( such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken or wild-caught salmon), and Vitamin A (including spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes)
We have all recently heard of the benefits of probiotics when it comes to gut health and digestion. However, they are also beneficial for preventing acne as well. Recent research shows that the use of both oral and topical probiotics can be of potential aid in the treatment of acne, with the extra added bonus of slowing down the sign of aging skin.
- Use Clean Masks
Please don’t fall into the habit of leaving your mask in your car, or your bag, and wearing it repeatedly before cleaning it. What will happen? Bacteria will begin to build up—big time! When you wear the mask again, without washing it, you are re-exposing your face to all that bacteria, along with any remaining moisture or dead skin cells. This is the perfect storm for a significant acne outbreak. If your mask is made of cloth, it is vital that you wash it after every use. It might be advantageous to have two or three masks, so you will always have one available when needed. If you prefer using disposable masks, make sure to use a clean new one each day.
Maskne is a new term being used for a condition brought on by the extended wearing of facial masks. It promotes the buildup of dirt and bacteria in the areas of your chin, nose, and cheeks which then result in acne breakouts. Using the tips discussed above can not only prevent maskne breakouts but treat them when they occur.