If you have been breaking out more often than usual, it is likely because of your mask. There has been a flare up of acne in people, particularly perioral dermatitis, which occurs most commonly around the mouth and nose. People who are breaking in this area of their face are suffering from what is being called “maskne” online. People are breaking out more often due to increased stress and wearing masks for an extended period of time. The mask allows for bacteria and organisms to multiply due to the intense moisture trapped inside the masks. This is especially true for healthcare workers who are wearing protective gear for hours on end. The pressure of the N95 mask is causing pressure and friction on the skin.
The tiny little hair follicles that exist on our face are constantly rubbing up against our masks. This creates friction which in turn irritates the skin due to moisture build up. If your skin is relatively dry and you haven’t experienced maskne, it is likely that during the warmer months you’ll see breakouts begin to appear. Additionally, the facial products that you apply may also cause you to break out because your mask doesn’t allow for much air circulation. If you’re leaving your mask in the sun and repeatedly and using it day after day, you are putting your skin at risk by using a mask that is full of bacteria.
The best way to reduce maskne is to continuously wash your mask or use a different mask every day. If you are wearing any type of facial product such as foundation, moisturizer, or sunscreen, you have already contaminated your mask. Once you wash your mask, you should put it to dry immediately so that bacteria doesn’t grow due to it being wet. If possible, you should opt for a cotton mask since they allow your skin to breathe much easier.
Another important tip that can help prevent maskne is the use of gentle skin care products. Use products that are light and won’t clog your pores or irritate your skin. If your skin is irritated due to harsh skin products, wearing a mask all day will only make the situation worse. Use products that are sulfate and fragrance free. Stick to water based foundations instead of oil since they tend to be more lightweight. Considering that half of your face is covered, you don’t need a foundation that is full coverage. Once you have applied your skin care products, allow them to sit on your face for at least 15 minutes before putting your mask on. By then, the product would have absorbed fully into the skin.