Have you been experiencing acne break out during this month or those who hadn’t had acne in the pasts experiencing few extra pimples around the mouth nose and cheeks? Well, it might be because you are wearing your face mask for long time. Today many people are experiencing this problem called Maskne or Mascne.   As you are being encouraged to wear face masks in public to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, maskne is something that will likely to become more common in near future.

What exactly is maskne and why does it happen?

The term Mascne or Maskne is a type of acne around your peri-oral areas that is cause by wearing mask for long period. Dermatologist call this as Acne Mechanica. Maskne is a type of acne formed in areas due to repetitive friction, pressure, stretching, rubbing or occlusion.

How can mask cause Acne?

Mascne is caused by the combination of friction from the mask, which irritates the skin barrier, as well as the hot moisture trapped inside, which dilates the pores and allows bacteria and oil to clog them up. When the follicles get clogged, they become inflamed leading to nasty acne breakouts.

How does maskne or mask acne look like?

Maskne look like tiny little whiteheads or sometime blackheads that pop up after wearing your medical mask for longer period of time to prevent corona spread. Although most cases are limited to mask areas, but when severe, it may spread beyond mask area. Usually, here you won’t see any deep and painful large pimples which are caused by hormones.

mask with acne

How to treat Masacne?

Treating Masacne or acne mechanica needs to be done gently. Lot of people with acne uses aggressive acne treatment in the firstline. This isn’t a right thing; it can further damage skin barrier function leading to more irritation.  For people experiencing red and extra dryness of skin or breakouts you may apply hydrocortisone cream for short period of time which will help calm irritation and inflammation.

It is necessary to wear mask in the public when social distancing is difficult to maintain, but you can always take off the mask and let the skin breathe whenever you are away from people.

10 Tips to Prevent masacne when wearing masks

  1. If you are wearing a cloth mask, wash it every day. If a disposable one, discard it when it becomes damp or at least air it out.  Apply silicone gel strip in the pressure point if you are wearing N95 mask for long.
  2. Don’t touch your protective mask often; always wash your hands after you touch on something.
  3. Wear well fitting mask, do not use tight masks.
  4. Cleanse and moisturize your skin immediately after you remove your mask. Be gentle, use gel or water based moisturizers that can help with clogged pores. Moisturizers also hydrate the skin, rebuild the barrier and give it a chance to heal quickly.
  5. Wash your face at least twice daily with gentle cleanser. For acne skin you can use mild medicated cleanser containing salicylic acid or benzyl peroxide to effectively remove oil and to provide an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect.
  6. Remember not to over wash your face, when you are over washing you are stripping natural oils off your skin and making it more irritated.
  7. Avoid the use of makeup, foundations and concealers which leads to clogged pores resulting in acne breakouts.
  8. When frequents washing is impossible you can use oil-free wipes to freshen up the skin.
  9. If you have active acne, treat it as quick possible to avoid further complications. Your doctor will suggest you anti-acne medications that best suits your skin. Don’t try to treat it yourself with strong medications like adapalene which can make skin more irritating.
  10. If doctor are unreachable, over the counter acne products that help resolve the clogged pores are also beneficial.