Face masks have become an essential accessory in our daily lives. Although face masks have become one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they can come along with some side effects. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, complaints about pimples, blackheads, and other skin issues have reached an all time high which could be attributed to wearing a mask.
Acne mechanica, also commonly known as maskne, is the term used to describe acne as a result of wearing a mask. Acne mechanica is caused by the friction, pressure stretching, rubbing or occulsion between the fabric and your skin. Acne mechanica is most commonly found in football players who wear helmets and chin straps for a long time. However, several people have developed this condition through consistent use of mask wearing. Moisture trapped underneath the fabric of the mask can cause skin inflammation and irritation which can result in clogged pores. Maskne can worsen with humidity and heat, so it is important to treat especially during these hot summer months.
If you are experiencing maskne, here are some tips that can help:
Change/wash your mask frequently: It is very important to keep your mask clean and dry to minimize any bacteria growth. Excess moisture can clog your pores which negatively affects your skin. Bring extra masks with you if you need to wear a mask for an extended period of time, and wash your mask after every use.
Be gentle: If you are experiencing maskne it is important to be gentle with you skin. Do not overdo it by using a bunch of face washes, masks, or scrubs as this can make your skin even more sensitive. Keep it simple, wash your face before and after wearing a face mask with simple face soap and water.
Develop a simple skin care routine: Apply a good moisturizer to keep your face hydrated, and try not to wear makeup underneath the mask. Overly dry or oily skin can enhance the probability of developing or worsening maskne, so moisturizers are a great way to help your skin healthy.
Wear a mask that is the right fit: Wearing a mask that is either too snug or too loose can cause chafing which can lead to irritation. Your mask should fit comfortably and conform to your face to minimize friction. The Zensah Performance Face Mask is a good option because it contours your face and is antimicrobial, breathable, and moisture-wicking. This face mask is also reusable and washable, so you can wear it over and over again.
Use fragrance free laundry detergent: A problem that may result when using fragrant detergent is that the fragrance stays on the fabric of the mask which can cause skin irritation if you have sensitive skin. When washing your mask, it is best to use fragrance free laundry detergent and only wear your face mask when it has fully dried.
It is critical to wear your mask in public and maintain the social distancing guidelines. However, maskne doesn’t have to be a problem every time you need to wear a mask. Remember that if given the right social distancing and location, it is beneficial to take your mask off for a few minutes and give your skin a breather. By keeping your skin healthy, and your mask dry and clean, the chance of developing maskne can be eliminated.