Wearing a mask is our new normal, but as we cover our mouths and noses to stop COVID-19, some of us are uncovering a new problem — “maskne,” or mask-related acne.
Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal, a Cleveland Clinic dermatologist, says some masks aren’t breathable and can trap hot air — among other things.
“Sweat, bacteria, heat, all of that accumulates and essentially creates the perfect storm for bacteria to multiply, and that’s when we’re seeing acne,” she says.
To reduce the risk of developing maskne, Khetarpal recommends wearing a 100 percent cotton mask, which is more breathable than other fabrics.
It’s also important to clean your mask daily to wash away bacteria and sweat.
If you’re using a medical mask, she recommends changing it every day.
She also advises against wearing heavy makeup under a mask because it may cause irritation and get trapped in your skin.
Instead, opt for a lightweight, tinted moisturizer or sunscreen — just be sure to look for one that’s oil free and won’t clog pores.
And when you take your mask off for the night, wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
If you’re still struggling despite pimple prevention actions, products formulated to treat acne may help.
“You can certainly try over-the-counter treatment ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid — these all come in cleanser or leave-on forms; that’s definitely a good place to start,” she says
Khetarpal says acne treatments can be irritating and drying, so using a gentle moisturizer at night is a good idea.
She adds that people with tender, deep cyst-like acne should seek the help of a medical professional because that type of blemish can scar.
— Source: Cleveland Clinic, visit clevelandclinic.org