Six tips for treating “Maskne”

When the mask comes off, no one wants to see the maskne underneath. As face masks have become a big part of our new norrmal, mask-ne has become a very common complaint.

The need to wear a mask is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and outweighs any inconvenience it might cause, including skin irritation and acne breakouts.

In order for our masks to be effective they need to be snug fitting.  This causes friction on the skin and breaches the skin’s barrier. Bacteria from your nose and mouth along with contaminants from your mask infiltrate the skins barrier and papules and pustules begin to form.

Another contributing factor is the lack of ventilation and perspiration that accumulates under the mask. This warm moist environment is a breeding ground for p. acne bacteria. Oil and make up collect and clog pores leading to blackheads and whiteheads.

Six tips for treating your “Maskne”

  1. Cleansing is especially important to stop the growth of bacteria under the mask. Cleansing twice a day and using a disposable cleansing wipe or toner pads between is a easy and discreet way to keep the acne causing bacteria at bay.
  2. Wear only clean masks: Dirt and oil from your skin plus bacteria from your mouth and nose will end up on your cloth mask. Keep a rotation of cotton cloth masks on hand and wash them after every use. Disposable masks should be discarded after daily use. 
  3. Use an over the counter acne spot treatment when you are home in the evening and can be mask free. Look for a product with benzoyl peroxide or Resorcinol. Acnomel is a popular product that works well and is easy to find for purchase.
  4. Masks can wick the moisture from your skin, causing dryness and irritation that can create acne. Applying an oil free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and provide a barrier of protection to decrease friction from your mask. Fragrance free and oil free are best as heavier products can cause your pores to clog.
  5. Topical antibiotic lotions such as Clindamycin or Minocycline can be prescribed to use under your mask daily. As the skin warms up under your mask and your pores dilate the medicine can get down into them and kill any bacteria. 
  6. Speak to your dermatologist about laser options. Lasers, such as Smoothbeam can decrease oil production and assist in decreasing your maskne. VBeam laser helps to shrink inflammatory lesions- reducing the size and appearance.  

If you are dealing with skin irritation or acne and would like to schedule an appointment with our Del Mar dermatology office, contact us.

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