Aug 31, 2020

“Maskne”, or mask acne – how to avoid the latest pandemic problem

Whether you work in health care, live in Melbourne, or are being vigilant about keeping coronavirus at bay, chances are you’ve come across some bonus side effects to mask wearing. Whether it’s the ever present sweat on your upper lip or your frustratingly foggy glasses, there are a handful of mask associated symptoms that we’re all learning to deal with. 

One that lasts after the mask is removed, is “maskne” – or mask related acne. These little white spots that gather around your mouth and chin can most commonly be found along your masks lines of contact. These sorts of skin breakouts are caused by the friction of the fabric or elastic rubbing on our skin for hours at a time. 

Spots caused by masks usually start as small surface white heads rather than deep painful bumps as your pores can become clogged with bacteria and sebum. If these small whiteheads are left untreated, they can become more infected and turn into fully blown angry pimples. 

There’s a few ways to help ease these frustrating maskne breakouts. The first thing to keep in mind is to treat them kindly and lay off the harsh scrubs. Your skin is already irritated, so irritating it further, can only make the problem worse. Keep to gentle cleansers and exfoliators, and steer clear of too many harsh chemicals and acids. 

Another way to help ease these breakouts is to keep hydrated. We all know that drinking water keeps your skin looking clear and fresh, and keeping your skin hydrated with moisturiser can help too. Protecting your skin under the mask can help keep the spots at bay, and using a light non-greasy daily moisturiser can help create a barrier to ease friction causing irritation. 

Finally, if you’re using a cloth reusable mask, always make sure it’s clean. You should be washing your reusable masks after each wear, or keeping a few on rotation. Wearing a clean and disinfected mask will not only help keep your skin clear and happy, but is also one of the most important steps in preventing accidentally catching any germs off the surface of the mask. And it goes without saying that if you’re using a single use or surgical mask, make sure it is only used once before disposing of it.

Bonus tip for those wearing makeup. When getting ready to go out and applying makeup before donning your mask, only applying to the upper portion of your face and keeping the skin under the mask area clean and fresh can help keep any pesky breakouts at bay. The most important thing is to keep your skin clean, and your pores clear and unclogged. 

While mask wearing has caused some discomfort to people who are taking it on for the first time, there are ways to reduce some of the more frustrating side effects. But the most important thing to remember is that in the long run, this is a temporary situation and we’ll soon be able to leave the house and feel the air on our faces. In the meantime, keep your chin up, and covered!

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