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Your questions answered about the mysterious ‘maskne’

Posted by National Skin Cancer Centres on Sep 17, 2020 3:43:00 PM

As the world continues to fight against the spread of COVID-19, we are having to make more societal changes than ever, such as wearing face masks. Along with immediate implications following these changes, we are also seeing their flow-on effects… cue the dreaded ‘maskne’.

Maskne, or ‘acne mechanicha’ as it is technically known, is a term used to describe acne around the lower face caused by wearing a face mask. Since the beginning of the year, the number of people with maskne concerns has continued to surge – and it seems there is no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

With restrictions set to ease in Victoria shortly, it can be expected residents will be out and about for longer periods of time meaning they will be wearing a face mask, in line with the state’s mandatory face covering enforcement, more frequently.

Now, we know you have many more questions about maskne, so we have put together a quick Q&A below on everything you need to know.

What causes maskne?

Maskne comes to life from a variety of factors. Starting off there is moisture, along with dirt and bacteria, that are trapped under your face mask in the perfect environment for breakouts, acne, clogged pores, and flare ups. This perfect environment is caused by consistent pressure and friction of the mask, as well as humidity from your breath and a lack of exposure of fresh air. As a result, mask-wearers can be left with irritable and uncomfortable inflammation.

Is maskne preventable?

There are several tips you can follow to help ease maskne. The first is avoiding, or minimising, wearing make-up when possible. Pore-clogging make-up, such as full-coverage foundation, is not easy on the skin and can not only cause acne, but also exacerbate its likelihood and harshness. Instead try using noncomedogenic products such as mineral make-up options.

Next, make sure you are cleansing your face correctly, and if possible do so at night after you have finished wearing your mask for the day. As bad bacteria is trapped under your mask, it is best not to do your skin routine in the morning when your skin will later be exposed to this environment and have a lack of airflow. Now is also not a good time to experiment with rich, heavily-scented skin care. Keep it simple with hydrating and soothing products that will not boost the severity of maskne.

Another tip is to regularly wash your face mask. A mask should only be worn for a maximum of four hours at a time, so if you are opting for a cloth mask make sure to wash it after every four hours of use. This will ensure you destroy any existing bacteria and dirt. An extra tip, wash your mask in a neutral soap and leave it to air dry in the sun.

We know you have heard this last piece of advice before but… do not touch your face! Not only does avoiding touching your face help stop the spread of disease, it also helps to minimise additional breakouts as less bad bacteria is spread across your skin.

How can I treat maskne?

Maskne treatment is very similar to regular acne treatment in that a gentle exfoliation followed by the application of hydrating products will usually do the trick. Use a gentle exfoliator two to three times a week to clear your face of dirt and old skin cells, then follow this with a moisturiser. To assist with hydration, also make sure to drink plenty of water and maintain a healthy diet filled with vitamin-rich foods.

While this treatment might work for some it may not for others, so we recommend consulting with a Skin Doctor or Skin Therapist for further guidance about your skin concerns. To do so, please call us or book a consultation online.

Topics: acne, Acne treatments