5 tips to avoid and prevent Maskne

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has found a lot of us still stuck at home, working from our kitchen tables or makeshift desks, and taken away from our normal routines.

A rise in stress levels associated with the coronavirus outbreak has, without question, caused skin flare-ups.

As if 2020 wasn’t already a dumpster fire with affable hugs among friends having to beabandoned and hand sanitizer replacing your favourite lipstick as a must have item in your purse … now we have to deal with maskne.

If you are suffering from skin breakouts a little more than usual right now it might not just be the added anxiety of the coronavirus that has created extra pimples on your face.

It could be what dermatologists call maskne (mask + acne).

It's not pretty

As the name suggests, it is a type of breakout that results from wearing a face mask.

This irritating side effect of stopping the spread of the virus is not pretty.

The skin around the nose, mouth and chin is delicate and those white heads and black heads in the areas where your face mask contacts your skin directly can be downright nasty.

As maskne progresses, tiny breakouts can become irritated and progress to more unsightly inflamed blemishes.

Those with pre-existing acne and other related skin conditions may experience more frequent bouts of maskne and in more severe cases it looks like a diaper rash spread across the lower half of your face.

Healthcare and other Essential Workers most at risk

Healthcare and other essential workers are most at risk of suffering from skin issues, due to tighter-fitting masks worn for longer periods of time but you don’t need to wear protective gear for hours on end to experience unwelcome side effects.

When we first shifted to working from home, some of us were thrilled to have our skin get a much-needed breather from pour clogging makeup and pimples were banished.

But these days more people are wearing masks for an extended period of time a lot of them have noticed they now have zits.

Prior to the pandemic, this form of facial irritation referred to as acne mechanica by dermatologists, was experienced mostly by athletes due to the sweat, heat, and friction in their helmets and straps.

How it's caused

Acne mechanica in general is triggered by pores being blocked by sweat, oil, and makeup.

Breathing for hours with a mask on creates humidity and forms a breeding ground for acne.

The friction of the mask can also block and clog pores.

Since masks are becoming mandatory in many places, it’s important to do whatever we can to overcome concerns about wearing them and learn how to mitigate any skin reactions we may suffer.

The good news is you can still have a beautiful complexion while protecting yourself and others by wearing a mask.

As we adapt to our new lifestyle there are measures we can take to ensure that we’re living in the healthiest possible way we can, given the circumstances and wearing a clean mask is a good start.

1 - Avoid using your mask again and again because acne-causing bacteria can build up inside it.

2 - If you have a disposable mask, throw it away and grab a fresh one for a new day.

3 - If you have a cloth-based mask, wash it after every use and have two or three so you can switch it up.

Face masks have become the accessory of 2020 so why not have a few of them.

Many of them are stylish and designed to match your cute outfits.

4 - Make sure you wash your face before and after wearing a face mask.

A good face cleansing routine is essential in preventing acne flare-ups.

5 - Consider skipping foundations and concealers while wearing a face mask. Their heavy formulations, combined with the enhanced humidity under the mask, could affect your skin’s sebum production and potentially lead to an increase in clogged pores and breakouts.

Why not take advantage of this time to let your skin breathe.

Exfoliation helps reduce the occurrence of acne and blackhead breakouts