As dermatologists have discovered over the last couple of decades, and very much so in…
Over the past year, most of us have had to wear protective masks in our everyday lives. Whether it’s running errands at the grocery store, visiting your doctor’s office for a checkup, or dining out at a restaurant with family and friends, most places now require people to wear masks to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19.
However, with the increase in mask-wearing, our dermatology office has also seen a rise in acne caused by masks, which has now been named “maskne.”
If you’ve been dealing with this troublesome skin condition and are looking for top tips on how to alleviate it, we’ve got you covered. Earlier this week, we sat down with Dr. Deepa Lingam, a board-certified dermatologist at the Center for Surgical Dermatology, to get her expert insight on maskne and what she recommends to patients for treating maskne.
What You Should Know About Maskne
What is Maskne?
Also known as mask acne, maskne refers to the breakouts that develop on the skin under the mask where there is constant friction, rubbing, pressure and occlusion. As a result, there is a buildup of oil, sweat and bacteria that contributes to acne.
What Causes Maskne?
When wearing a mask, especially if you’re someone who has to wear one regularly, the constant friction and rubbing combined with the oil, sweat and bacteria on the skin causes acne. In addition to clogging pores, wearing a mask can instigate skin irritation, which further triggers breakouts.
What Does Maskne Typically Look Like and Where Does it Show Up?
Maskne can develop on the nose, cheeks, chin, jawline and around the mouth. This form of mechanical acne can initially present itself as irritated red patches from the constant friction/rub and eventually leads to small red bumps.
Furthermore, patients who have a history of acne or rosacea are often more prone to developing deeper cysts/nodules, which are typically quite painful.
Additionally, periorificial dermatitis is a rash that presents as red, scaly patches with small red bumps around the nose and/or mouth. More frequent flares of this condition has also been seen as a result of regularly wearing masks.
What Do You Recommend for Treating Maskne?
For a daily skincare routine, it’s best to stick to gentle cleansers without fragrances, especially for patients with sensitive skin. Also, cleansers with benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid or salicylic acid can help with maskne prevention, as these ingredients are well-known for addressing acne.
Additionally, you can spot-treat troublesome areas, such as maskne along the jawline, with leave-on benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid products. If the condition does not improve, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a Dermatologist who can properly evaluate and consider prescription strength antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or topicals to help improve maskne.
What Daily Steps Should Be Included in a Skincare Routine to Prevent Maskne?
As a board-certified dermatologist, I recommend the following daily skincare routine to my patients to help them ward off maskne.
- Wash your face frequently.
- Regularly change out your masks and wash them frequently (using a hypoallergenic detergent). Additionally, silk masks are less irritating on the skin and cotton masks are more breathable.
- Use a gentle cleanser and oil-free moisturizers (for sensitive skin) prior to applying a mask. Moisturize frequently and use an exfoliating cleanser with salicylic acid or glycolic acid at night. Avoid any exfoliating products or products with retinol during the day when the mask is to be worn. These can be used at night in combination with an exfoliating cleanser.
- Avoid applying makeup under the mask to prevent clogging of pores.
- When using sunblock, stick to mineral sunscreens as opposed to chemical sunscreens, which may cause more irritation and sensitivity to the skin under the mask.
Clear Skin is Possible at the Center for Surgical Dermatology
Have you tried everything to get rid of your maskne, but nothing seems to work? Make an appointment with our board-certified dermatologists, and we’ll help you find a suitable maskne treatment plan! Clear skin is possible.
The Center for Surgical Dermatology is passionate about skin health and we’re ready to help you get your maskne under control. We have been operating in Central Ohio since 2007 and have offices in Westerville, Gahanna, Columbus, Lancaster, Granville, and Pickerington, OH. Please get in touch today to learn more about our services. You can call (614) 847-4100 to schedule your first appointment.