While wearing a face mask helps protect yourself and others from coronavirus, unfortunately it’s also the catalyst behind a series of new skin ailments often referred to as known as ‘maskne’ (or, mask acne). If you have noticed an increase in acne, clogged pores and skin irritation around the area where your mask is worn, you’re not alone. Maskne is a real, common side effect of wearing a mask throughout the day.
Coming to the rescue are medical skincare treatments and products that help alleviate the discomfort and undesirable aesthetic associated with maskne. Now that New York is unmasking, understanding how to prevent maskne and knowing how to get rid of maskne will help you to put your best face forward.
What is maskne?
Maskne is a skin condition that causes increased amounts of acne from wearing masks throughout the day. Maskne is actually a form of acne and is similar to the type of acne that athletes who wear helmets may experience. Just like wearing a helmet, the friction and rubbing from a mask creates pressure on the skin and eventually leads to inflammatory skin lesions.
With extended mask use, the skin becomes dehydrated and unable to regenerate, leading to increased sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance that’s produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands that helps moisturize and protect the skin. As a result, this causes a buildup of oils on the surface of the skin that can lead to acne breakouts.
Symptoms of Maskne
Just like with traditional acne, maskne can cause many uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms. The way maskne presents itself may not be the same for everyone. In general, it will vary in severity based on skin type and underlying skin conditions.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Redness and inflammation
- Red bumps on the face that may vary in size
- Pus-filled bumps
- Itching or burning
- Dry, scaly patches
Maskne and oily, acne-prone skin
Oily skin can clog pores and lead to acne. Wearing a mask allows oil, bacteria and dead skin cells to build up, resulting in clogged pores. In addition, wearing a mask can cause your skin to sweat, whether you are aware of it or not. The sweat can become trapped underneath the mask and also contribute to an increase of blocked pores. Hot or humid weather can also play a role in maskne as it can make you sweat under your mask.
Maskne and dry skin
Ensuring your skin is well-hydrated is crucial for maintaining healthy, balanced skin. And, unfortunately, masks can wreak havoc on skin that is already prone to dryness. Due to improper hydration levels, the skin can become more flakey and irritated when wearing a mask. Masks can absorb the beneficial oils from the face and dry out the skin further.
Maskne and Rosacea/Eczema
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness and inflammation. It often appears on the cheeks, nose, or forehead as bumps with small purple spots. Eczema is an allergic reaction to something in your environment that affects your skin by causing itchy patches of dryness, scaling, cracking, and sometimes oozing.
When masks are too tight, the pressure can cause friction that increases irritation and exacerbates eczema and rosacea symptoms. Additionally, your breath collects inside the mask and causes dry skin that becomes red and itchy. According to the Allergy and Asthma Network, you should wear a two-layered cloth mask made with cotton or another natural, breathable fabric. Avoid synthetic fabrics, as these are more likely to increase irritation in people who have allergies or skin sensitivities.
Ways to Prevent and Treat Maskne at Home
If you’re prone to acne, you may find it difficult to fight against this condition. However, there are proactive steps you can take to decrease maskne and the severity of symptoms. Try a few of these maskne tips to prevent and treat maskne at home:
- If you’re experiencing excess sebum, clogged pores and an increase in blackheads, wash your face with a cleanser containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Gentler, soothing cleansers are better for those experiencing dryness, itching or burning.
- Dry by blotting the skin with a clean towel
- Moisturize with a skin protecting product following cleansing
- Wear a fresh disposable or cloth mask each day
- Hand wash reusable cloth masks in a gentle facial cleanser; laundry detergent is a common skin irritant.
- Ensure your mask fits properly
- Focus on a gentle skincare routine until you are able to meet with a Medical Aesthetician to re-organize your products if nothing you try seems to be working.
A good skincare routine can prevent breakouts before they happen. It’s a must for anyone who wants to unclog pores and exfoliate dead skin cells from the face. You’ll want to tailor your regimen with your skin type and sensitivities in mind.
A great example of an effective skincare routine includes 4 steps (sometimes more):
Product recommendation: SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating SCRUB
Product recommendation: SkinCeuticals Daily Moisturizer
Don’t underestimate the power of medical-grade sunscreen. Sun causes damage to the skin and can worsen existing acne.
Product recommendation: Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen
Product recommendation: SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50
MedSpa Skin Treatments for Acne
No matter the cause of your acne, Tribeca MedSpa has a customized approach to treat your riddling skin condition. The following anti-acne treatments effectively combat many types of acne, whether the acne is caused by high bacteria levels, hormonal changes, stress or mask acne:
- Microneedling is a procedure that involves using small needles to create tiny punctures on your skin. The body’s immune system then creates new collagen and elastin which help make your skin look younger. As the small needles poke holes in the top layer of your skin, they remove the source of the recurring acne in the process.
- Laser Retexturizing Treatments are not only popular for the treatment of aging skin, but also with acne scars or other complexion issues. Laser retexturing combines exploitation and laser skin rejuvenation to even the skin tone.
- Tribeca MedSpa’s Signature Facial will detoxify, nourish and hydrate your skin, leaving it looking healthy and rejuvenated while addressing acne concerns. Our treatment options range from those designed for specific or targeted needs such as acne treatment facials, rosacea treatments, and anti-aging treatments. With our anti-acne facial, we provide a deep cleanse, exfoliation, chemical peel, and a detoxifying mask that will help draw out impurities and prevent periodic or ongoing breakouts.
There is an abundance of treatments available to treat acne, but how they are strategically combined will impact the effectiveness in address your acne. Both men and women see unexpected breakouts, texture changes or pigment changes as stress hormones, hormone changes with aging, and estrogen and testosterone levels fluctuate, add in mask wearing, and there’s a perfect storm of conditions.
Request a complimentary consultation – available both in-person and virtually – to discuss your skin concerns and treatment options with an experienced medical aesthetician.