Many professions require people to wear masks all day as part of their job, so wearing a mask isn’t a new thing. But for the rest of us who aren’t used to wearing masks all day at work, school, grocery stores or restaurants, how can we adapt and keep our skin from breaking out with what is called “maskne”?
First of all, it’s important to know what causes maskne. Masks can trap in oil, humidity, sweat and dirt, which is perfect for bacterial growth. The pressure and friction caused by the mask against the face can cause inflammation that triggers maskne, or acne mechanica. Breakouts commonly occur on the nose, cheeks and chin.
Washing your face every day is something we all should do, but it’s especially important when you’re wearing a mask all day. Choose a gentle cleanser that won’t dry out or irritate your skin, which can compromise the skin barrier and cause certain skin conditions to get worse. Washing your face reduces the bacteria that causes breakouts. Use an exfoliating cleanser 2-3 times a week to remove dead skin and buildup and to unclog your pores. Follow up with a light moisturizer that will protect your skin from bacteria.
Makeup can lead to breakouts, so aim to wear a light foundation or no foundation at all. If you do wear foundation, wash it off each day to prevent bacteria from getting trapped in your pores.
Whether you use disposable masks or reusable masks, be sure to change them out frequently. Toss disposable masks after each use and use a new one each day. If you use cloth-based masks, keep several on hand so you can swap them out each day and wash between uses to remove the oils, saliva and sweat trapped in them.
If you’re concerned about maskne or have other skincare concerns and live in or around Phoenix, make an appointment by calling (480) 610-6366.