Maskne is a Real Thing in the pandemic


In the age of the COVID-19, people require wearing masks to protect themselves and others. Though wearing a face covering is a crucial part of navigating life under this pandemic, there are some unwanted consequences. For instance, frequently wearing a mask could lead to acne outbreaks. This phenomenon has been labelled maskne, and while it is inconvenient, there are ways to reduce your risk or manage it if it develops. 

Check out these helpful tips on how you can prevent or treat maskne.

What Causes Maskne? 

You’re entrapping a lot of hot air near your face when you’re breathing and talking with a mask. This process makes your face susceptible to acne because bacteria, yeast, and various types of flora are more likely to grow in humidity. 

Learn How Lotions, Sunscreens, and Makeup Affect Maskne

After you get a maskne, you may think it is best to cut down on lotions, sunscreens to reduce the risk of having more outbreaks. However, experts believe that you should have a balanced approach. Lotions and sunscreen can help protect skin from friction with the mask. Thus, decreasing your chances of getting an outbreak of maskne. But even if there are potential benefits, thick layers of sunscreen, makeup, and lotions could trigger breakouts when wearing a mask. Find the right balance and keep your routine simple.  

Looking Into Different Types of Masks

One may find lighter fabrics may be more comfortable and less irritating for the skin. But, they don’t do as good a job of protecting you from contracting COVID-19. There is a myriad of masks out there, and with patience, you can find one that is comfortable, breathable, and offers the protection you need. There’s likely a specific kind of fabric that you may find more comfortable for your skin. Regardless of what type of mask you choose, a great way to reduce your chance of irritation is by washing it before you start using it and cleaning it regularly afterwards. 

A woman wearing a mask
Photo: Wiki Media Commons

How To Reduce Risk of Getting Maskne 

There are plenty of practical things you can do to reduce the risk of getting maskne. Here are a few: 

  • Take Off Your Mask When You Can: You don’t have to be continually wearing your mask if you are in a safe environment. For example, you can feel free to take off your face cover when you are driving alone in your car and don’t expect to have any passengers. 
  • Carry Extra Masks With You: When you’re going out, bring an extra mask with you just in case you accidentally get it wet or dirty. This way, you can wear a dry and clean mask at a moment’s notice. 
  • Wash Your Mask: Frequently washing your mask can get rid of maskne-triggering bacteria.
  • Use Cleansers: Facial cleansers can help reduce your risk of developing a maskne.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid can help you sustain your face’s moisture balance.

 Ways To Treat Your Acne and Maskne:

Sometimes, regardless of all the precautions, you will have an acne outbreak. There’s no need to worry. Check out these scientifically proven methods for treating acne:

  • Benzoyl peroxide: This drying agent can help treat acne by drying it out. 
  • Retinoids: Dermatologists recommend retinoids such as tretinoin for treating moderate to severe acne.
  • Oral Contraceptives: Birth control medications can manage your hormones and subsequently help treat acne. 
  • Oral Antibiotics: Dermatologists may prescribe antibiotic medications in addition to topical products such as retinoids to treat your acne. 
  • SpironolactoneSpironolactone may be used for women who have excessive male hormones (androgens) and experience acne.

There’s No Need To Fear Maskne

Masks are a daily part of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if they aren’t always so comfortable, it’s a scientifically proven way to stop the spread of COVID-19. Maskne isn’t just a social media fad — it’s the real deal and can potentially affect you if you aren’t careful about taking care of your skin. However, with the right tips and products, you can prevent maskne or treat it if it develops. 

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About the author

Carey Ma

Carey Ma is a freelance writer from Burlingame, California. She enjoys writing articles for professionals that are interested in self-improvement, health, and wellness. In her spare time, you can find her exploring local coffee shops in search of a new favorite.