Is it stress? The changing seasons? Your new foundation? If you're wondering what may be causing more pimples than usual to pop up around your nose and mouth, the culprit may surprise you: your face mask.
Maskne—a word that started trending during the COVID-19 pandemic—describes acne caused by wearing a face mask. The phenomenon often affects people who wear a face covering for prolonged periods, especially those who already have acne-prone skin. While the condition is an inconvenience, there are small steps you can take to limit breakouts.
What causes mask acne?
Mask acne is a form of mechanical acne, which is commonly caused by heat and friction—like your face and a mask rubbing together. "When there is an external irritant that causes rubbing, in acne prone people skin cells tip in under the skin and this causes acne," says skin Expert "Sam"
How can I prevent mask acne?
Unfortunately, mask acne is difficult to avoid for some people.
"We all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which makes wearing a mask of the utmost importance," "It is hard to keep the mask from rubbing and allow the skin to breathe."
There are some steps to take to reduce your chances of mask acne:
Cleanse your face with a product containing benzoyl peroxide. This tip is especially useful for anyone who has oily skin, but beware: You don't want to overdo it and strip all the natural oils from your face. "It is normal for there to be oil on the skin, and if too much oil is stripped the skin's defence is to make more oil, which can lead to a vicious cycle,"
Wash cloth masks frequently. Use a fragrance-free laundry detergent and consider rinsing your masks an extra time to ensure anything that could irritate your skin is removed. Do not use dryer sheets.
Visit a dermatologist. If your mask acne is particularly bothersome or the above tips don't work for you, a prescription cream for acne may be helpful.