Maskne Is the New Acne: 7 Steps to Help Eliminate Acne Breakouts Caused By Face Masks by Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., FACMS, FAAD
Maskne is acne breakouts caused by keeping your skin under wraps. (It’s even been added to the Urban Dictionary.) As wearing face masks continue to be our new normal, our skin-care routine calls for a few adjustments. Warmer weather is on the horizon. Wearing face masks, plus the added heat and sweat, make our chin, mouth and nose area more susceptible to irritation and bacteria buildup.
This is happening because of a phenomenon called acne mechanica, which is a physical type of breakout that results from excessive heat, friction, rubbing and more. So how do you avoid whiteheads along the lines of which the mask sits: the bridge of the nose, chin and cheeks? Here are tips for nixing breakouts:
1. Cleanse, Cleanse and Don’t Forget to Cleanse
This is the first step is crucial, otherwise you are trapping bacteria under the mask and pushing it further into your skin. Use a gentle cleanser to not strip the skin of natural oils and keep the skin barrier intact.
Dr. Dendy's pick: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser
2. Gently Exfoliate Skin
Rather than harsh scrubs that can irritate compromised skin, choose a chemical exfoliant, such as one containing salicylic acid, which penetrates deep into pores to unclog them. Exfoliating will prevent further breakouts and speed up recovery time.
Dr. Dendy’s pick: Humane Clarifying Toner
3. Moisturize Strategically
An added occlusive barrier will create an environment for healing and avoid bacteria spread. First moisturize with your regular moisturizer and then layer an occlusive balm along the area the masks sits.
Dr. Dendy’s picks: Glo Barrier Balm
4. Minimize Makeup
Swap out thick foundations and concealers for lighter, non-comedogenic formulas. Makeup plus sweat plus a face mask is trapping bacteria in your pores with nowhere to go.
Dr. Dendy’s pick: Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Makeup
5. Keep Your Hands Clean
Unfortunately, masks slip and slide. Before making any adjustments, make sure to avoid transferring bacteria by using sanitizer regularly while out.
Dr. Dendy’s pick: Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer
6. Wash Your Mask
It is very important to wear a mask every time you are in public for the safety of yourself and others – choose one made of softer fabric with a lower coefficient of friction, like silk. For homemade masks, make sure to wash regularly. Hand wash in hot water. Try to have a few clean masks on hand so you can wash between each outing. For paper masks, spray down with at least 60 percent isopropyl alcohol after each use in order to minimize bacteria that may be accumulating.
Dr. Dendy’s pick: KES Sustainable Washable Face Mask
7. Cleanse Again!
Wash your face immediately after removing your mask. Pat, don’t rub, your skin dry. Follow step 3 and add moisturize back into cleansed skin as dry, irritated skin is also more vulnerable to acne-causing bacteria and breakouts.
Dr. Dendy’s pick: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
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