Maskne: What is It, and What Causes It?
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, face masks have become a massive part of our daily lives. They are now necessary for trips to the grocery store, the DMV, or even to dinner. These masks can be uncomfortable and downright annoying at times, yet they are an effective barrier against the transmission of the virus. But for many mask wearers, the actual discomfort comes from what has been labeled ‘maskne.’
Maskne is a condition marked by breakouts on skin, rashes, and irritation along the face of a mask wearer. It’s a common condition that many people suffer from daily. But what exactly causes it? Since maskne can involve several skin conditions, the exact causes can differ and are hard to pin down. But, If you suffer from mask-induced skin issues and are looking for some answers, then you’ve come to the right place!
What Causes Maskne?
If you’ve noticed a decline in the quality of your skin’s health since the beginning of the pandemic, you’re not alone! Millions of individuals suffer from blotchy, itchy skin from wearing masks. But figuring out precisely what causes maskne requires an understanding of the underlying conditions. In fact, several skin issues may cause mask-induced acne. Let’s take a look!
Most of the time, maskne results from clogged pores from skin cells, bacteria, and oils that regularly build upon the face. Skin issues are common for many people, but placing these already present conditions in a closed mask that’s humid, full of bacteria from breathing, and sweating can exacerbate many skin issues.
Sometimes these symptoms may be caused by a sensitivity or allergic reaction to the mask’s material. Irritation can even occur due to the detergent used to wash reusable masks. Other times, skin issues can be brought on by the mask rubbing against your skin for extended periods.
Let’s take a look at some of the skin conditions that can be triggered by wearing a mask:
Acne is a common skin disorder that affects millions daily. This condition typically occurs when pores become filled with dirt, skin cells, and oils, causing them to become swollen and inflamed. Masks that are humid and restrict airflow can exacerbate these symptoms. With a consultation, your dermatologist can prescribe a good acne treatment for you.
Rosacea is a skin condition that typically affects the face. Symptoms of this disorder include red splotches, bumps, and visible blood vessels. Treatments for this condition include antibiotics and ant-acne medication.
Folliculitis is a skin condition where smaller, white-headed pimples appear around inflamed hair follicles. These bumps are often raised, itchy, and prone to infections. Severe cases of Folliculitis have been known to cause permanent hair loss at the site of infection.
4. Atopic Dermatitis:
This condition usually develops during early childhood and tends to occur in people with a family history of the condition. This disorder can surface anywhere but typically appears on the arms and behind the knees.
5. Contact Dermatitis:
Contact Dermatitis is a skin issue where external irritants can cause intense reactions, rashes on face, splotches, and itching. Most of the time, irritation is caused by soaps, fragrances, allergens, or even jewelry. Taking steps to identify and avoid potential irritants or allergens can help reduce symptoms. Additionally, creams and certain medications can reduce symptoms.
6. Seborrheic Dermatitis:
This condition normally appears on oily areas of the body such as the scalp, face, and back. The symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis include scaly patches and irritated skin. Treatments generally involve medicated shampoos, lotions, and creams.
7. Perioral Dermatitis:
Perioral Dermatitis is a condition noted by small, pus-filled bumps and peeling skin around the mouth, nose, eyes, and cheeks. Medications such as topical creams can relieve the symptoms of Perioral Dermatitis.
Effective Maskne Treatment
If you suffer from maskne or one of the numerous skin conditions aggravated by wearing a mask, there are several ways to reduce symptoms. Below, we’ve organized several steps to minimizing maskne issues:
1. Visit Your Dermatologist
If you suffer from any skin issue, your first step should be to consult with a dermatologist. These trained medical professionals will inspect, diagnose, and suggest treatment plans for your skin condition.
2. Pick the Right Mask
To help reduce any maskne issues you may face, you will want to choose a snug, comfortable mask that does not rub or irritate the skin. Additionally, some masks may contain chemicals or materials that cause allergic reactions.
3. Toss Disposable Masks
If you’ve worn disposable masks, you know how quickly they can become dirty. Dirt and oils from your face can cause or irritate already present skin issues. As well, chemicals and irritants present in disposable masks can cause rashes and irritation. By keeping your masks clean, you can minimize the effects of maskne.
4. Wash Your Masks
As mentioned previously, dirty masks can cause or exacerbate skin issues. By keeping your reusable masks clean, you can keep acne symptoms to a minimum.
5. Improve Your Skincare Routine
Keeping your skin free from dirt, bacteria, and oils can do wonders for the health of your skin. Therefore, taking the time to develop a skincare routine can help you reduce maskne and many of the underlying causes.
General Skincare Tips
1. Matching Products to Skin Type:
Taking the time to research skin types and which products work best can have tremendous effects on your skin health, masks or not!
2. Using Sunscreen
They say it doesn’t matter whether it’s sunny outside or not- you need sunscreen! Choosing at least SPF 30 or higher can help protect your skin from cancer, premature aging, and sunburns.
3. Avoiding Tanning Beds
Just like the sun’s harsh UV rays, tanning beds can cause aging, sunburns, and cancer. To protect your skin’s health, you should minimize the use of tanning beds.
4. Avoid Touching the Face
You may not realize it, but you probably touch your face many more times a day than you should. Touching the face can expose pores to bacteria and contaminants that are known causes of acne.
5. Checking the Skin Regularly
It may be understated, but keeping an eye on your overall skin health can do wonders for maintaining your skin’s tone and clarity.
Choosing the Right Mask
Picking the correct type of mask is a large part of ensuring that your skin remains free and clear from maskne symptoms. Below, we’ve put together a quick list of effective ways of choosing a suitable mask.
1. Smart Mask Practices
• Wear it properly
By making sure that your mask is snug, you can prevent chafing, irritation, and outbreaks. It’s also a good idea to take breaks outdoors where you can remove your mask for short periods to give your skin some fresh air.
• Mask hygiene
Keeping your masks clean and adequately washed will reduce the number of contaminants that make their way to the pores on your face.
• Avoid Irritants
To reduce maskne symptoms, applying less makeup and being aware of the detergents used to launder your mask can help you avoid allergens that cause maskne to worsen.
2. What Mask Type is Best for Your Skin
If you’re prone to breakouts, you might find silk-lined masks beneficial. Silk is a natural product that is much gentler to your skin than other alternatives.
Cotton masks are light, breathable alternative that will allow air to circulate better around your face, reducing sweat and oil buildup.
Suffering from Maskne? Connect with Winston Salem Dermatology Today!
Winston Salem Dermatology is dedicated to providing our customers with modern techniques and real-world results. Our skilled specialists are knowledgeable in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of skin conditions. From acne to psoriasis and everything in between, we have the experience to help.
And medical treatments are only a part of the services we provide! We are proud to offer an expansive array of cosmetic procedures to help you always look your best. Facials, acne treatments, IPL therapies, and microdermabrasion are just a few of the services we provide. Don’t wait! Give us a call today at (336) 774-8636 to schedule your appointment and harness your youthful glow!