Got “maskne”? In case you haven’t heard the phrase, it’s been coined to represent the breakouts that occur after wearing a mask for extended lengths of time. If you work in healthcare and wear multiple layers of masks, or you work in a hot or humid environment, your symptoms may be even worse.

While this is not an entirely new problem for those that already wore masks for their jobs, it has become much more common in the recent months. The combination of increased mask wearing and increased stress is causing a breakdown in your skin’s natural barriers and provides a moisture rich environment for bacteria to flourish. In addition, the constant rubbing of the mask against your face irritates the small hair follicles, leading to acne. In extreme cases, skin ulcers and bleeding can occur.

Traditional acne treatments, such as alpha hydroxy acids or Retin A, are not recommended, because they may irritate the damaged skin further. You may get rid of your acne, but trade it for red and painful patches of skin.

Until mask wearing is no longer necessary and required, here are our top tips to stop the maskne:

1. Wash and dry re-usable masks after every use. If you exercise in a mask, change it immediately to a clean and fresh mask afterwards.

2. Use mild cleansers, and no exfoliation! No scrubs, no face brush, no washcloth, use only your fingertips.

3. Use a daily moisturizer that is fragrance free. Added fragrance can be especially irritating to sensitive skin, even more so when trapped under a mask.

4. Use this as an opportunity to streamline your skincare. The less products the better, and don’t try anything new.

5. Take a break from the makeup. If you have makeup on, try and remove it before wearing a mask.

While unsightly and frustrating, maskne can be treated, even if you need to wear a mask daily. There are treatments and suggestions we can make for your individual situation, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation or call us with questions!