The coronavirus era has led us to wear masks in public. While masks are a great way to reduce the spread of the virus, they often lead to an unpleasant side effect: maskne or mask-related acne. Let’s take a closer look at what causes maskne and what you can do to prevent it.

What Causes Maskne?

Every time you breathe or talk in your mask, it traps in hot air and creates a humid environment. This causes bacterial imbalances and friction that results in acne or rosacea around the mouth and nose. A mask can also lead to dirt and bacteria buildup and prompt breakouts, especially if it isn’t washed on a regular basis.

Maskne vs. Hormonal Acne

Unlike most hormonal acne which is skin deep and characterized by painful cysts, maskne pimples are usually on the surface of the skin. They are also located in areas that the mask sits on including the nose, smile lines, chin, and nose.

How to Prevent Maskne

When it comes to maskne, prevention is better than treatment. If you’d like to reduce the risk of maskne, change your mask on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to wash it with a fragrance-free detergent and rinse it twice prior to drying it. In the event you workout or sweat during the day with your mask, change it immediately. A sweaty mask can worsen any acne that may be present.

You should also use gentle, fragrance-free skincare products that are designed for sensitive skin. Avoid ingredients such as coconut oil or cocoa butter, especially if you’re susceptible to acne breakouts. Ask your skin care specialist if your antioxidant regiment is right for you skin type.

In addition, be selective about the masks you wear. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends tight-fitting yet comfortable masks. They should be made of a soft fabric so they don’t irritate your skin.

Lastly, if you can, go without makeup on your skin as it can allow your skin to breathe and prevent breakouts under the mask. If you do wear it, make sure it’s non-comedogenic and oil-free.

Continue to Wear Your Mask

There’s no denying that maskne can be frustrating. However, that doesn’t mean you should ditch your mask. By wearing it while you’re out and about, you can decrease the transmission of coronavirus and potentially save lives.