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What is Mask Acne & How to Treat It?

What is Mask Acne?

Face masks are nowadays a part of everyday life. Because of the constant coronavirus cycle peaks and lows, masks have become necessary wherever you go, whether it’s a restaurant, for a stroll in a park, or any public place. Developing breakouts after wearing masks is a very common condition and many people face it. Mask acne is a term used for several skin conditions that occur due to wearing a mask. The skin conditions include the following:

What is Mask Acne & How to Treat It?

Acne: Acne occurs when the pores in the skin get blocked with oil and dirt leading to pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. They are seen commonly occurring in people wearing surgical masks or respirators.(1)

Rosacea: This condition can get flared up on wearing a mask.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis: Contact dermatitis can occur if the skin is sensitive to the material of the mask. It can lead to rash along with redness and irritation and is found occurring in those who wear masks for more than 6 hours without a break. It leads to dry, scaly patches to skin ulceration.(1)

Atopic Eczema: This condition is also known as atopic dermatitis and occurs in people who have sensitive skin.

Periofacial Dermatitis: In this condition, small pimples appear in the area around the eyes and mouth. It can appear on wearing masks or putting cosmetic or corticosteroid creams.

Urticaria: Wheals and hives can occur if the mask puts on pressure or if made of material that a person is allergic to. Urticaria appears at once and disappears within 24 hours.

Seborrheic Eczema: It is a type of dermatitis in which greasy, yellow scales develop on the scalp, forehead, eyebrows, and in the folds of the skin around the nose and lips.

What Causes Mask Acne?

There are numerous causes of mask acne with clogged pores being the most common. There are oil, bacterial and dead skin cells present on the skin surface. On wearing a mask the build-up increases and further blocks the pores.

The mask keeps in the humidity that develops due to breathing and sweating and can increase the risk of acne. Friction is another possible cause of mask acne. The mask continuously rubs on the skin leading to chafing and irritation.

Some people are allergic or sensitive to the material of the mask. Some of the masks are pretreated with chemicals and feel rough on the skin. Also, washing a mask with scented detergent may lead to skin irritation.

Treatment of Mask Acne

Wearing a mask is really important even if one suffers from mask acne. To be best protected from Covid-19, keeping mouth and nose covered is very important.

You can find out ways in which you can prevent acne and not prevent wearing the mask.

Clean Face Regularly

Regular skincare is important to keep it healthy.

Wash face regularly i.e. one time in the morning and other before going to bed at night. Also, make sure that you clean your face after sweating and wearing a mask.

Use lukewarm and mild cleansers to wash the face and pat it dry. Do not rub it as rubbing may cause irritation.

Use Gentle Cleanser to Wash Face

Gentle cleansers help in removing excess oil and dirt without causing much harm to the skin. Cleansers containing alcohol and perfume may cause skin irritation and also make it hard for anything to heal.

For severe mask acne, medicated cleansers can be used. Those with sensitive skin can speak with a dermatologist to get prescribed one that would work best for their skin.

Use Noncomedogenic Moisturizer

Moisturizer helps in keeping the skin hydrated and the ones labeled noncomedogenic do not block pores.

Wash Mask After Use

Wear one mask for just one day and wash it(2). Make sure you use unscented, hypoallergic detergents to wash the mask.

Keep the wet and dirty masks away or in plastic bags so that they can be washed later as soon as possible to prevent molds from developing.

Remove Mask Every 4 Hour

It is recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology Association to remove masks every 4 hours, to give time to the skin to breathe.(3)

Make sure you remove the mask only when you can practice social distancing with the people. Always wash hands before taking a mask break.

Choose the Right Mask

Be mindful of the mask you choose.

Choose the one that fits snugly, has two or more layers, is made of natural and soft fabric, and has wire on the top to prevent the air from leaking.

Mask acne can be frustrating, but to prevent them you cannot avoid wearing a mask. Following the precautionary measure and natural treating solution to keep the skin from breaking out.

If your mask acne are severe and persist even after trying all home measures, consult a doctor for a solution that suits your skin type, because not wearing a mask is no solution to it.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 11, 2022

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