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Ways to Prevent Maskne

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  • Feb 24, 2021

Wearing the face mask has become the new norm after the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. It is not just the most effective tool to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. It also shows that you care about yourself as well as others’ health.
But while masks can protect you from Coronavirus, they can also trigger skin breakouts.
Even though it is called Maskne (mask + acne), these breakouts are not limited to just acne. These can include everything from peeling skin and itchiness to rashes and acne.

What Causes Maskne?

Maskne involves a variety of skin conditions and the exact cause of the symptom can vary. Some of the most common ones are –

  • Bacteria, Oil and Dead Skin Cells – Maskne is most often the result of pores that are clogged. You may already have bacteria, oil and dead skin cells. But these substances can actually build up and block the pores when you wear a mask.
  • Humidity – The mask even traps the humidity because of sweating and breathing which may enhance the acne risks.
  • Friction – Friction is another possible cause. The material of the mask covering the face can rub against the skin leading to irritation and chafing.
  • Allergies – One may be allergic or sensitive to the material of the mask. Some of the masks feel rough on the skin and can be pretreated with the chemicals. Again, masks that are washed with the scented detergent can trigger irritation. So, it is best to wash them with non-scented detergents.

Now that you know these, let’s concentrate on the ways to prevent or treat Maskne.

Significant Ways to Treat Maskne

To prevent skin problems from cropping up beneath the mask, here are some vital tips. These are prescribed by Board-certified dermatologists.
Just take a look.

  • Wash the Face Regularly – You should never skip your regular skincare routine if you want to keep the skin healthy. This involves washing the face –
    • Once every night prior to retiring to bed
    • Once in the morning
    • Once after wearing the mask or sweating

    Use lukewarm water at the time of washing the face. Pat with a clean towel. Don’t rub the skin as that can cause irritation.

  • Cleanse and Moisturize Face Daily – Skin problems can be averted by gentle skincare. Always go for a mild and fragrance-less cleanser. Dry skin is a common skin problem triggered by face masks. This dryness can be reduced by adding a protective layer of moisturizer. Do not apply moisturizer immediately after washing the face. To make the most of your moisturizer, make sure that it contains Hyaluronic acid, Ceramides or Dimethicone. The latter creates a barrier that reduces irritated skin. The following guide can help you to choose the right moisturizer ideal for your skin type.
    • Normal or Combination Skin – Lotion
    • Oily Skin (when the weather is humid or hot) – Gel Moisturizer
    • Dry to Very Dry Skin – Cream

    A gel moisturizer can assist to prevent breakouts.

  • Choose the Right Mask Material – In order to avoid skin issues, you should take precautions regarding the type of masks you wear. Go for a mask that –
    • Is not too tight or fits snugly
    • Has 2 or more fabric layers
    • Is made of soft, light and natural fabric like cotton
  • Skip Make-up – You should not wear the makeup under the mask. The masks are occlusive barriers. Therefore, the trapped makeup can lead to breakouts and clogged pores. Your mask fabric can also get soiled by the makeup residue.
  • Toss The Used Surgical Masks Away – The surgical masks are not meant to be reused as there is not a good way to clean. The surgical masks are best used by only medical professionals. But if you do use disposable/surgical masks, you should not use the same mask more than once.
  • Wash the Masks Regularly – When you wear a reusable (cotton) mask, you should wash it after each use as the surface contains oil and dirt and can become the breeding ground for bacteria from the mouth and nose.
  • Every 4 Hours Remove Masks – The AAD suggests that you should take your mask off every 4 hours for 15 minutes to give your skin a break. You should do so after washing your hands and while maintaining physical distancing. The safe places to remove the masks are –
    • Inside the car when you are alone
    • At home
    • Outdoors when you can maintain 6 feet distance from anyone and everyone

If you don’t see any improvement even after implementing the above skincare regime, then you should talk with your dermatologist at the earliest.

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