How To Get Rid of Mask Acne & Prevent Maskne Breakouts - Acne Wipeout

The coronavirus pandemic has altered many areas of our everyday lives. Non-stop virtual meetings, 100 percent remote classroom learning, drive-by birthday parties and perhaps most of all the introduction of wearing masks — everywhere.  Some of the new realities that the pandemic has introduced are harmless and may actually be better for us in the long run. I mean, is it really a bad thing that you have walked around your block so many times that you now have nicknames for all the neighborhood trees? Probably not. However, there is one thing that has been introduced as a result of wearing masks so frequently that is not to be taken lightly. It’s called “Maskne”.

What is Maskne (Mask Acne)?

Maskne or mask acne is the formation of pimples or acne that results as a result from frequent or prolonged mask wearing. As a result of the duration of mask wearing during the coronavirus pandemic, many people who are either required, or who choose to wear masks for long periods of time are  experiencing mask induced breakouts under the face and mouth area where masks are worn.

So What Causes Maskne Breakouts??

There are actually a few reasons why mask acne develops.

  1. Clogged Pores: The overarching cause of Maskne is the clogging of your skin's pores. Since we typically already have oil, bacteria, and even dead skin cells on our face, wearing a mask can cause these chemicals to build up at faster rates, due to the lack of oxygen and air flow being blocked by the mask. This leads to the blocking of your pores and can introduce pimples / acne on the affected area.
  2. Hot Skin—and Not in a Good Way:  Wearing a mask for a significant amount of time can also produce a high amount of moisture and humidity due to your breathing and sweating. One of the common causes of non-mask acne is triggered by sweat from rigorous exercise which leads to clogged pores. The increase in moisture caused by wearing a mask somewhat mimics the experience we see with athletes developing acne after wearing helmets, or other protective gear, while sweating for long periods of time.
  3. Mask Friction: Another Maskne trigger is caused by skin friction.  This happens when the material of a face covering rubs against your skin. This can lead to chafing and irritation of your skin which results in an acne flare up. Certain mask types cause this issue more frequently as masks, when worn properly, should fit fairly snug over the face and jaw line.
  4. Fabric Irritation: Sometimes the fabric of the face covering you are wearing could be the culprit for Maskne. Since many of us were not used to wearing masks every day—and had to scramble to stockpile a weekly, monthly, or even yearly supply of masks to wear—in many cases this introduced new fabrics that were previously unfamiliar to our face and skin. Also, detergents from washing cloth masks could be further cause for irritation. Keep in mind that for many of us, our face is not used to being covered or having material on its surface for any period of time—let alone for potentially several hours per day.
  5. Plain Old Stress: Yes, another long-term acne cause applies here. The pandemic has been fraught with such uncertainty and high stress that a lot of the reason for mask acne may literally be the result of stress.  The presence of stress can also exacerbate hormonal issues, which commonly triggers acne and pimples all over the face, including the areas where masks are worn.

 

10 Maskne Treatment and Prevention Tips:

  1. Over The Counter Products Like  Acne WipeoutSince clogged pores is the number one underlying cause for mask acne, acne treatment products like Acne Wipeout are a great place to start clearing up Maskne. Look for products that work to reduce clogged pores and provide both day and night acne treatments.
  2. Be Sure to Take Mask Breaks:Remember, it’s important to let your skin breathe. If you work in an area where masks are required the entire time you are at work, be sure to take several 15-20 minute breaks, other than your lunch time, to let your skin breathe. This would also be a good time to wash your face if possible.
  3.  Avoid Makeup When Wearing Your Mask: This one seems kind of obvious right? Aside from the fact that no one can really see your face while behind the mask, wearing make-up underneath your mask is like doubling your risk for clogged pores. If makeup is required to be worn, we recommend using non pore clogging products that will stand up well under the added heat and moisture behind the mask.
  4. Be Sure to Moisturize & Cleanse Daily: To avoid the dry skin that can result from prolonged mask wearing, use a daily moisturizer or face wash that will reduce the presence of dead skin cells which can lead to pimple flare ups. We recommend taking a skin type test in order to help find the moisturizer or face wash that is right for you.
  5. Wash Cloth Masks with Mild Detergent:The CDC recommends you wash cloth / reusable masks daily or whenever they get dirty. As we mentioned above, since your face may not be used to detergents, it’s wise to use mild detergent products to help reduce reaction-based breakouts.
  6. Try a Different Mask: Perhaps the easiest one on the list. If you are experiencing mask acne, try a different mask to see if your flare up goes away. Many times, your mask could be the cause. The mask material, humidity being caused, or mask friction, could all be triggers for your acne flare up.
  7. Get Some Retinol in the Mix:  This is another treatment option. Retinol is a popular acne treatment ingredient that is naturally derived from Vitamin A.  Products like Acne Wipeout have developed retinol products that are designed to reduce irritation.
  8. Get Some Sleep: This is another one along the lines of reducing your overall level of stress. Just like Maskne is a Covid-led phenomena, so is Coronasomnia.  Studies show that because of the heightened anxiety and the almost perpetual fear Covid has caused, we are sleeping less during the pandemic. This lack of sleep can lead to hormonal spikes which can be a trigger for mask acne breakouts.
  9. Go With Cotton: Many dermatologists recommend using cotton face masks because cotton masks are typically softer and create less friction on the skin than disposable masks. The additional breathability helps reduce the moisture trapped in the mask and in turn helps reduce the risk of Maskne.
  10. Avoid Touching Your Face: This is one to keep in practice for good. Even though Covid may have taught quite a few of us a good lesson about the importance of hand hygiene, touching your face is still a bad idea and a common way to trigger Maskne. Keep in mind that every time you touch your face you transfer oils, dirt and germs directly from your hands to your face, or from one part of your face to another. This is especially true if you touch the area of your face that was previously being protected by a mask, since that area may already have additional oil and moisture built up.