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'Maskne' Why Your Face is Breaking Out

Living during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way all of us live our daily lives. A lot of us are working remotely, social distancing and of course, wearing face masks when we venture outside of our homes. While face masks help prevent the spread of disease, they also wreak havoc on our skin.

If you’re experiencing an increase in clogged pores, blemishes, inflammation and irritation with prolonged mask use, you’re not alone. This condition sweeping the nation is called, ”maskne,” which is a clever combination of “mask” and acne”, and it’s defined by occasional breakouts and irritation along the chin, nose and cheeks caused by friction from wearing a face mask.

So, how do we prevent face mask breakouts? Find out my essential tips for preventing and treating maskne blemishes!

Why do I get pimples after using a face mask?

If you don’t generally deal with acne, you may be confused by this increase in pimples and blackheads after wearing a mask. Here are two reasons why this can occur:

Skin cells can’t shed properly underneath a mask.

Dead skin cells clog pores and lead to blemishes. Normally, we shed them from our face throughout the day, but when you’re wearing mask for prolonged periods, they have nowhere to go, causing them to stay on your skin. Ultimately, they end up in your pores, right where you don’t want them.

The area beneath your mask creates a humid environment

which contributes to pimples.

Ever notice you break out more during the hot, humid summer months? Similarly, breathing under your mask creates a hot, humid environment ideal for breeding the bacteria on your skin that leads to breakouts.

How can I protect my face while wearing a mask?

Mask acne doesn’t have to be an inevitable byproduct from keeping yourself and others protected from COVID-19. Take these precautions to prevent and treat maskne.

Make sure your mask is breathable and fits properly.

With a multitude of mask designs readily available, you should have no trouble finding one. Unfortunately, you may need to go through a few different designs and fabric types to find one that works for your skin long-term.

While the homemade mask you purchased online may be cute, the fabric and shape could be a key factor in why you develop increased blemishes. Here is what you should look for in skin-friendly mask:

  • Make sure the mask actually fits your face shape. You want it to fit snugly around the nose and sides of the face. This reduces friction that can cause skin irritation.

  • Make sure there is enough room for you to actively talk and move your lips without them rubbing against the mask.

  • Cotton masks are a good, breathable choice if you want a washable version. However, make sure you wash masks in fragrance-free detergent as fragrance can further irritate sensitive skin.

Masks get dirty over the days of wear. If you can, wash your mask daily. Alternatively, change it out daily if it is disposable.

Mouthwash is also helpful if you tend to get humidity in your mask area or when wearing a constrictive mask. Generally, the germs that are in your mouth can affect the mask greatly and spread to the face - mouthwash helps to kill some of the 'bad actors' in your mouth, all while keeping your breath minty-fresh!


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