Maskne? Get rid of Acne, how? We tell you.
15 Min Read – Here’s how to reduce the appearance of acne and skin problems caused by extended use of wearing face masks due to COVID-19.
Mask & Acne Don’t Play Well
Mask induced acne is probably one of the few inconveniences we just have to endure as part of a series of necessities coming out of this pandemic. Maskne – a term coined from the words Mask and Acne has been gaining a lot of traction due to the exponential increase of mask wearing around the world. And it’s true because prolong use of face masks – whether it be cloth or disposable – does result in a rise in acne and pimples appearing around the mouth and nose region. Yet, we can’t completely do away with mask wearing and as long as the pandemic continues, acne resulting from wearing masks will continue.
“As long as the pandemic continues, acne
resulting from wearing masks will continue.”
So there’s an actual term for it – Acne Mechanica. It occurs when skin has been subjected to external pressure and friction for extended periods of time usually through the wearing of clothing or coverings. Our skin is pretty delicate, especially around the face where the superficial layer of skin tends to be thinner than other parts of the body. So when that area is repeatedly rubbed or frequently comes into contact with face masks, medical gowns or tight fitting clothing, it is more at risk of breakage. People who are already having Acne Vulagris are even more susceptible to Acne Mechanica.
Walking Acne Laboratories
Medical professionals are more likely to develop Acne Mechanica as these frontliners have to endure multiple layers of face coverings and gowns for extended periods. Not allowing the skin to breathe is a sure-fire way to worsen delicate and sensitive skin. The accumulation of sweat, sebum along with heat and humidity also provides the conducive environment for bacteria (that exist naturally on human skin) to grow and multiply, further increasing the likelihood of acne outbreaks. People with acne skin also tend to have oiler skin in normal circumstances.
” The accumulation of sweat, sebum along with heat
and humidity also provides the conducive environment
for bacteria (that exist naturally on human skin)
to grow and multiply.”
The skin area where face masks cover serve as the ideal petri dish, one gigantic incubator for bacteria growth. The very thing that keeps the Coronavirus away not only attracts but incubates acne bacteria! It’s time to face the fact that we’re walking acne laboratories. This is on top of pre-existing skin problems one is already experiencing. Eczema or thinned skin can worsen a lot more with face masks since eczema skin alone is already dry and more susceptible to skin peeling or abrasion.
Maskne – Affects Everyone
It is not just medical professionals but most other professions are also at risk – as long as skin isn’t allowed to breathe and is constantly subjected to irritation and the mechanical forces of friction through mask wearing. People working in food and beverage, logistics, customer service, education are all victims of mask induced acne and skin problems. After a long day of use, you can literally feel ‘things’ crawling around the underside of your mask and face.
“Masks may increase acne but like
any skin problem, get treatment early
is key in avoiding scars.”
The American Academy of Dermatology has also raised the issue of Maskne1. It has been reported that a whopping 97%2 of workers in the healthcare sector have suffered some form of acne or skin problem associated with long durations of mask wearing – doctors are not exempted from it with this increase in acne flare up that is also recorded at our clinics from people not from the healthcare industry.
7 Tips on how to avoid Maskne, if you can
- If you’re not from the healthcare industry or coming into direct contact with COVID-19 patients or suspected cases – where one is usually required to wear more than a single layer of mask, people working in other industries/sectors can consider wearing of cloth masks since technically, cloth masks are more breathable than surgical masks. As long as one’s skin isn’t covered all the time and the skin has good airflow, it does slightly reduce outbreaks.
- Our doctors here at Dr Cindy’s Medical Aesthetics also recommend adopting a rigid daily skincare regime, just like how wearing of face masks is part of one’s pre-departure checklist prior to leaving the house.
- We also recommend weighing the option of protection in different areas throughout the day. If your government recommends wearing of 100% cotton cloth masks in public but not in healthcare settings, perhaps bringing different mask types in your bag is advisable. Also, do ensure cloth masks are frequently washed after every use! Adopting good mask hygiene practice not only keeps the Coronavirus away but also prevents bacteria growth.
- Gentle cleansers to wash away accumulated sebum, sweat, dirt and grime. You won’t want that muck to just sit there for long periods. Try not to over cleanse as well, best practice is to stick to washing with cleansers a maximum of three times a day. Before leaving for work, during the afternoon and after work.
- When attending a Zoom virtual meeting, you can apply makeup but do try to remove the makeup if you’re preparing to head out. Use micellar base cleansers or any other gentle cleanser to gently remove makeup as you do not want any residue makeup to transfer unto the face mask.
- Applying a layer of fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer will ease the repeated friction from face masks and also moisturize your skin at the same time but use as little products on your face as possible. Surgical face masks like traditional facial masks accelerate the effects of any beauty product you’ve applied on your face so do tone it down a little to account for this pandemic oddity.
- Extra Care – Stay more vigilant and drop in for regular appointments immediately if you’ve more sensitive acne, eczema or other delicate thinner layer skin. These skin tend to result in redness, inflammation like after prolong mask use due the superficial layer of skin, epidermis being damaged from friction.
Maskne Treatment Results
As some countries start reopening different sectors of the economy or restricting them again, we may spend time commuting to and from home more often and spend less time on following a rigid daily skincare regime. To prevent Maskne from getting you down, rebuild your skin from the inside out with expert skin treatments here at Dr Cindy’s Medical Aesthetics. Most of our treatments have almost very minimal downtime and if any, cannot be seen by the general public due to face masks.
Leave less of the hassle of stringent skincare by leaving it to the professionals! We are able to treat Maskne and any other skin problems brought on through mask wearing and more that this pandemic brings on. It’s never too late to start paying attention to your skin as most skin problems can be treated when addressed early and with maximum results at an affordable budget.
- Minimal downtime
- Short treatments, 15-30mins
- Treated with combination of lasers or minimally invasive injections: Acne Red Mark Laser, CO2 Laser, Clear and Smooth Laser, Rejuran
- Regular treatments prevent and reverse mask induced skin problems
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