As a result of using face masks, an increasing number of people experience skin irritations and breakouts. Some are even having breakouts for the first time.
As the name suggests, “maskne” is acne brought on by wearing a face mask.
New York City dermatologist Michelle Henry, M.D. said, “The clinical term for maskne is acne mechanic, and it is caused by friction, rubbing, and occlusion of the skin by outside forces.”
Dermatologist Tiffany J. Libby, M.D said that “Any friction and irritation can push bacteria into the skin, creating micro-tears — which allow easier entry for bacteria and dirt — and can lead to inflammation which then drives the acne process.”
While maskne is a term that most haven’t heard before, it’s not anything new to dermatologists or people who work in fields that require face masks.
These breakouts can appear where the mask is worn — the bridge of the nose, jaw, and cheeks — and can take the form of whiteheads, blackheads (if oxidized by the air), abrasions, and cysts, according to New York City-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D. Dr. Henry also adds that masks can also cause rosacea, perioral dermatitis, irritant dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and skin breakdown.
On a good day, masks trap humidity, dirt, oil, and sweat, but now that summer is here, our chin, mouth, and nose are much more prone to breakouts. “Maskne is even worse in the summer because our pores produce more oil, which provides the perfect atmosphere for cysts,” says Dr. Henry.
How can you treat and/or prevent “maskne” you ask? Well, according to doctors, here are a few daily tips that they suggest doing to prevent your face from becoming a bumpy surface:
- Wash your face before and after wearing a face mask- Maskne can be effectively treated with a consistent skincare routine that includes washing and moisturizing. Washing your face morning and night to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria is the safest way to prevent and treat maskne.
Best products are those with benzoyl peroxide and Salicylic acid: Differin Daily Deep Cleanser ($10.49), CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash ($14.99), La Roche-Posay Hydrating Gentle Cleanser ($14.99), Skinfix Barrier+ Foaming Oil Cleanser ($28.00)
- Use a chemical exfoliant- While benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid spot treatments can help target whiteheads once they are formed, chemical exfoliants, which dissolve dead cells on the skin’s surface, are key for preventing mask breakouts from forming in the first place.
Best products: Humane Clarifying Toner ($17.95), Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($8.50)
- Apply moisturizer- After cleansing, be sure to add moisture back into the skin — but skip your heavy winter creams. Doctors suggest using a gentle, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer.
Best products: Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion ($12.99), Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer ($10.20), Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer ($17.95)
- Skip your makeup
- Wash/dispose of your mask