The new normal of COVID-19 times requires us to wear masks regularly and it's led to a new problem — maskne, or mask-related acne. Here are some steps you can take to avoid it.
As if acne wasn’t enough now we have to battle ‘maskne’ caused due to the phenomenon of wearing masks. While the coronavirus has made it the new normal to inculcate masks in our daily attire from going for a grocery run to the workplace, its prolonged use causes you to sweat and increases your chances of breaking out on your face.
What causes ‘maskne’?
It’s the humidity
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As the name suggests, maskne is acne that is caused by wearing masks. While wearing a mask you breathe, speak and tend to trap in a lot of warm air around the mouth. This creates a lot of humidity, which is suitable for bacterial growth and germs to multiply. The friction of the mask on the skin also causes acne.
“When you wear a mask for a couple of hours, you are depriving that portion of your skin from air circulation and that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria-causing acne. But, this also depends on the kind of mask you are wearing. The N95 masks which are made of polyester or nylon tend to cut off air circulation more than cloth masks and increases the chances of developing acne,” says Dr R.A Chandhini, who works as a consultant with Eloraa Cliniq in Chennai.
While one would think the easiest way to prevent getting maskne is by not wearing masks, this leaves us prone to catching the coronavirus.
So what can you do to avoid this sort of acne? Here’s what Dr Chandhini suggests:
1.Cotton masks to the rescue
While N95 masks are well-known for extra protection, a cloth mask can be equally good. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, a cloth mask has been used in healthcare settings to protect the wearer from respiratory infections. The filtration effectiveness is generally lower than that of an N95 medical mask but if well-designed and used correctly a cloth mask can provide protection.
Dr Chandhini suggests the cloth mask be washed and dried under the sun before the next use.
2. Wash your face
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Dr Chandhini suggests washing your face or cleansing it with facial wipes before wearing the mask. She says, “Once the wearer has removed the mask, it is recommended to use an anti-acne face wash or a face cleanser with glycolic acid that helps to fight the bacteria.”
3. A simple skincare routine
Before wearing the mask, Dr Chandhini also suggests applying a light moisturiser or sunscreen. Apart from that, she warns not to wear too much makeup because that can clog the pores and aggravate facial dermatitis while wearing a mask.
Finally, she says if someone has a lot of acne and is unable to manage it they must avoid purchasing over the counter spot creams and medicines. Instead, they should visit their dermatologist, understand what is the trigger for the acne, and then start a safe course of treatment for the same.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)
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