The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our daily lives. One of the most apparent things that’s changed is that we are now required to wear masks so we can protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus. While masks are a great way to stop the spread of COVID-19, they also come with some unwanted consequences. On social media, people have started sharing stories about their experiences with“maskne” – a term for the acne that develops from frequently wearing a mask. However, there are ways to prevent maskne from developing and mitigating its effects.
Check out this guide on what you need to know about how masks can trigger acne outbreaks.
Maskne: The Causes
When you’re wearing a mask, you’re entrapping hot air on your face for an extended period of time. Anything from breathing to talking releases hot air. This forms an environment that’s warm and humid, causing bacteria and yeast to expand. Combined with the friction of wearing a mask, this increased levels of bacteria can trigger an acne outbreak.
Maskne is undoubtedly frustrating. After experiencing an outbreak, many people are looking for an easy culprit — should they stop using a specific moisturizer or sunscreen because it’s making it worse? The reality is a bit more complicated than easy solutions. For instance, a layer of moisturizer or sunscreen can actually mitigate the friction caused by wearing a mask. However, thick layers of either may potentially lead to outbreaks. When it comes to makeup, the same philosophy applies — a thin layer is fine, while a thicker layer could cause issues.
In addition to adjusting skin care routines, people with maskne may be tempted to wear lighter masks because they cause less friction and are more comfortable. However, even though these masks are more comfortable and may lead to less outbreaks, we should wear masks that prevent us from spreading or contracting the coronavirus — that’s our top priority. That being said, with such a wide range of masks out there, you can surely find one that suits your skin type. Perhaps, your skin is extra sensitive to a specific fabric and so you’re having a negative reaction. Regardless, you should be frequently washing your mask so they don’t accrue a lot of bacteria.
How To Decrease Your Likelihood of Getting Maskne
Maskne doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are practical things you can do to prevent it from happening. Here are a few helpful tips:
- Use hyaluronic acid: this can help you maintain your skin’s natural moisture levels.
- Cleansers: By ensuring that your face is clean, you will be reducing your risk of developing maskne.
- Mask washing: Over the course of the day, your mask gathers acne-causing bacteria. Wash it frequently to prevent maskne.
- Extra masks: Accidents happen. Bring an extra mask with you just in case your mask gets dirty or wet.
- When you can, take off your mask: If you aren’t in a crowded area and can practice social distancing, you can feel free to take off your mask.
How To Treat Maskne
● Benzoyl peroxide: As a drying agent, benzoyl peroxide can dry out your acne outbreak.
● Oral antibiotics: A doctor may prescribe you antibiotic medications which can help treat your acne. These medications are often part of a broader treatment that also includes topical products such as retinoids.
● Retinoids: Dermatologists who treat women with moderate to severe acne often prescribe retinoids such as Tretinoin.
- Oral Contraceptives: Since they can help manage hormones, they may be used to treat acne.
- Spironolactone: Spironolactone can impact your hormones, making it a potential treatment for women who have a high level of androgens (male hormones).
As we adjust to this global pandemic, we will gradually get used to daily inconveniences like maskne. If you are experiencing acne outbreaks, you should feel reassured by the fact that there are scientifically proven ways to prevent or treat it. There’s no need to get too anxious. With the right tips and treatments, you will be okay.