Acne mechanica is the medical term for “maskne”, a skin condition brought on by prolonged wear of facial personal protective equipment e.g face masks. It is caused due to the breakdown of your skin’s barrier (its outermost layer that shields you from outside damage while keeping hydration locked in). A damaged skin barrier can lead to all kinds of skincare related issues including irritation, breakouts, and acne. On top of that, the prolonged occlusion, heat and sweat can cause the skin to become dry, itchy and raw. Other common face mask skin problems include: Allergic contact dermatitis, Rosacea, Seborrheic dermatitis and Folliculitis.
Masks are meant to be worn for a few minutes but now that we (except you’re one of the rebels who have decided to just do as they wish…sideeye) have to wear them longer because of covid-19, the skin is prone to maskne especially if you wear homemade/cloth masks. This is not to say these masks are bad but they are more likely to cause skin irritations and make it easier to get acne.
Here are some tips to prevent and treat maskne:
- Wash your face – Make sure your face is always clean before wearing a mask. Use a gentle cleanser that is fragrance and oil free.
- Apply a moisturizer – Not only will this keep your skin hydrated, moisturizer is going to act as a barrier protection between the skin and the mask (reducing friction) and also help support the function of the skin. Apply onto a cleansed face before wearing and after taking off a mask. Not sure which moisturizer is right for your skin type? Check out these products!
- Make sure to wash your masks regularly – Bacteria can build up in masks if you are using the same masks over and over. This is especially true for cloth masks. Dirt and oil from the skin plus bacteria from the mouth and nose will end up on the cloth mask. Make the switch to daily disposable masks or wash your cloth masks regularly with fragrance free laundry soap or detergent. Fragrance within fabric can be an irritant and you definitely don’t want it on your face.
- Let your skin breathe – You don’t have to wear your mask 24/7. Whenever it is safe to do so, take it off. An example is if you are riding in your car or alone at home, you don’t need to be wearing your mask. So, you can take your mask off during these parts of the day. This will allow your skin breathe.
- Stay away from makeup – Many people continue to wear makeup when wearing a face mask which can make the breakouts worse and clog the pores more. Take this time to let your skin breathe and look into investing in a good hydrating skincare routine. If you’re wearing a mask, you don’t necessarily need to wear makeup underneath it. If you do decide to wear makeup, I would recommend sticking to a strict skincare routine to ensure your skin does not get clogged and congested. Add a glycolic acid toner for mild exfoliation and improved skin radiance.
- Make a doctor’s appointment – If you don’t see a difference in your skin after implementing these skin care tips above, it may be time to call your dermatologist.
I hope you found this helpful. If you have more tips on how to prevent and treat maskne, please share in the comments.
Hugs and Kisses,