MASKNE - Acne caused because of prolonged use of a Face Mask

Wearing a mask has become the norm when going outside. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's another problem that's cropping up. Maskne is a type of skin condition that refers to acne resulting from wearing masks for long periods of time. People who are prone to skin irritation, allergies, and acne are most susceptible to Maskne and wearing a mask may sometimes worsen their situation.

+ Types of Maskne

Beauty fans are always looking for ways to hide their Maskne. Applying a soft and supple face mask on your skin could do wonders after a day's worth of putting on tight COVID-19 masks. But before you get to that, you must understand the different types of Maskne out there. Understanding how Maskne is caused and how its types will help in selecting the best skincare products is easy. Make sure you do a patch test and try out skincare products before buying. There are 2 Types of Maskne1. Contact DermatitisContact dermatitis is a skin condition that stems from your skin constantly coming in contact with your mask. Locking up the moisture in your skin and staying hydrated is key to avoiding constant friction. Look for ingredients like Shea butter and Aloe Vera in your skincare blends to soothe, nourish, and hydrate your skin.2. Heat-trapped Bacteria Acne breakouts are stemming from heat-trapped bacteria in the masks cause Maskne. This type of breakout is more common than you think and happens during summers. Making sure that your skin is not dry and moisturizing it with gentle ingredients will help with this. There are many Home remedies for Maskne that you can try out as well.

+ Causes

Since the CDC start recommending everybody to wear masks in public, it's become a regular outfit for us now. As long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we won't be stopping wearing these masks anytime soon. Before the pandemic ever happened, athletes would be prone to Maskne the most due to the sweat, heat, and friction produced from wearing helmets and straps all the time. For people who wore masks throughout the day, the pores would get blocked and produce oil build-up.However, now the problem is that there's humidity being produced from wearing masks for prolonged periods of time. Breathing for hours with these on the block up the pores and create a humid environment for bacteria. This is what causes the acne build-up, which eventually turns into blackheads.There are Three Major Causes for Maskne 1. Rubbing and ChaffingThe elastic band used to tie the mask's strings behind the ears and the front of the mask going above the bridge of the nose, they come in contact with your skin. Too much friction and chaffing with the skin leads to oil build-up, dryness, redness, and consequently Acne. Tight-fitting masks put pressure on the skin and force it to break down.2. Skin IrritationChemical detergents used for cleaning face masks leave residues in them, which lead to skin irritation. This also includes fabric softeners which have substances that cause inflammation. Over time, the inflammation builds up and leads to dryness, reddish patches of skin, and dark marks.3. OcclusionOcclusion is a phenomenon when heat and moisture get trapped inside your mask when you're wearing it. This creates an environment for yeast and harmful bacteria to thrive in and over time, and it leads to the development of acne cysts. The cysts may pop anytime, and pus leaks out as well. In severe cases, it causes a massive skin breakout referred to as 'folliculitis.'

+ Diagnosis

The best way to find out if it's a case of Maskne is to visit a dermatologist and get a skin test done. Sometimes diet, stress and other lifestyle factors could result in Maskne and not just the masks themselves. Your dermatologist may prescribe hyper cortisone creams and shots for effective treatment, in severe cases. Avoid fatty foods and do not pop your pimples when they first show up to avoid making your Maskne worse.

+ Prevention

1. Choose the Right MaskFinding a mask that is comfortable yet not too tight is key. Light, breathable fabrics like cotton and chiffon do not cause chaffing. Respiratory masks provide more room to breathe than disposal masks and are easy to maintain. Silk-lines masks are the best for those with acne-prone and sensitive skin2. Spot TreatmentsSpot treatments involve taking care of your skin with the following ingredients, Zinc, Salicylic Acid, Sulphur, and 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide. They help in treating Acne and restoring your skin's natural glow. Watch out for common Maskne Symptoms and opt for spot treatments accordingly!

+ 10 Ways to Stop Maskne

1. Wash your MasksYou should wash your masks after every use. It is suggested to hand wash or machine-wash using unscented soaps. Skip the fabric softener for best results.2. Have a Skincare RoutineFor those who have oily skin already and are prone to breakouts, having an effective skincare routine in place is key to prevention.3. Opt for Softer FabricsThe material of the mask influences if someone gets Maskne or not. Lighter fabrics like cotton or chiffon that are breathable and tightly woven are good.4. Eat Low-fat and Low GI foodsIf the cause of Maskne is somehow related to your diet, consider ditching the carbs and going low-fat. Low-fat will reduce sebum build-up on the skin, thus preventing clogged pores and acne. Remember that low-fat doesn't mean no-fat, which means you must find your sweet spot. Avoid processed foods and eat clean at home since that regulates hormones and your sebum production (it's a lot healthier too!)5. Moisturize and Cleanse DailyBefore even going outside, make sure you moisturize and cleanse your face. You can use petroleum jelly for this, and it's a good idea to avoid wearing makeup before putting on the mask.6. Don't Wash too oftenWashing your face too often could disrupt the natural pH balance that may lead to dry or oily skin. You don't need to wash more than twice a day, especially if you're constantly wearing your mask outdoors. Using gentle cleansers is key to preventing Maskne because the skin barrier gets disrupted through acne and irritant contact dermatitis.7. Apply Silicone GelApply a thin layer of silicone gel on the straps and areas of the mask where the fitting is tight. Look for the pressure points and layer the gel in those areas. This will help in preventing friction and skin irritation.8. Change Disposable MasksDon't wear disposable masks for too long and change them often. For those who are using cloth masks, it's recommended to wash them every day.9. Get Good CleansersWhen you're shopping for products, look for hyaluronic acid and facial creams with ceramides in them. These ingredients help in building up the skin's barrier and calm down the irritation. The vitamins and minerals in these compounds also nourish it, and they are safe for regular usage.10. MedicationIf all else fails, visit a dermatologist and get prescription OTC (over the counter) products. These are effective for eliminating blackheads and restoring your skin's moisture barrier. However, you'll need the prescription and dosages will be determined based on your overall skin health and how you're doing.

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