“Maskne” – Acne Caused by Face Mask Wearing is Real!
Acne caused by face mask wearing has become a real problem for many people with acne prone skin – as well as for some people who have never experienced acne before. There’s even a new term for acne caused by face masks: “Maskne”!
Face mask acne is caused by the constant rubbing and occlusive pressure from the face mask wearing, along with the trapped dirt, oil and recycled breathing that results from wearing a mask frequently.
Fortunately, the skin care experts at Ruthie Harper, MD in Austin TX know exactly how to keep acne at bay. And if acne ever becomes a problem in your life – from face masks, adolescence, adult hormone changes, or anything else – we offer the latest and most advanced acne treatments in our Austin, TX office.
How to Prevent Acne from Wearing Face Masks
- Keep your mask clean to avoid acne. If it’s washable, wash your mask frequently and have a number of masks that you can cycle through. While wearing one mask wash the others. This also lowers contamination risk for Covid-19.
- Take a mask and fresh air break to avoid acne. If possible, let your skin and body breathe by taking occasional breaks outside for fresh air. If you have sweat into your mask- consider applying a new mask when you begin masking wear again. This is most important for health care workers as they are most affected by constant mask wearing.
- Pick the right face mask fabric. If you are a health care or front line worker this may not be on option as a N95 mask will be required. But some manufacturers are now offering N95 masks lined with cotton to absorb moisture and keep skin cooler with less trapped oil and moisture. The goal is to prevent sweat, dirt and moisture from sitting on your skin for prolonged periods of time. We have some of these washable N95 cotton masks in the office!
- Change your skin care routine to prevent acne breakouts. In my practice, we custom formulate an acne wash based on your skin type. This will combat acne caused by mask wearing. The wash is based on the “goldilocks principle” of enough antibacterial ingredients to ward off acne, but not too much to create dryness and irritation. And consider washing your face throughout the day if you are sweating a lot.
- Use a light moisturizer and go fragrance free. Skin can become dry and chapped with mask wearing so choose a light moisturize and go fragrance free as fragrances are often times a source of irritation. And while fragrances may not have been a problem prior to mask wearing, now that they are constantly right next to your skin- they pose a new threat.
- Apply an “occlusive” protective moisturizer. If your skin becomes chapped, apply a more occlusive moisturizer designed for protection, similar to products I use in my practice after a peel or laser procedure. These should be applied only to chapped areas as all over use may be too heavy and lead to more vs less acne.
- Use a custom retinoid product to treat mask acne. Consider a retinoid type product custom designed just for you. Retinol of Retin-A allows constant skin turn over, helping to prevent blocked and congested pores that lead to acne. We custom compound our Retin-A and put it in a moisturizing antiaging base to get all the benefits of these products without added dryness or irritation.
- Use mineral based make-up to reduce acne breakouts. Stick with a mineral based makeup again without fragrance and focus on application only where and when its needed. If you are home, go makeup free. If at work, wear makeup where it shows.
- Focus on your eyes. Using eye focused makeup to brighten and express eye style is a good idea since they are the areas not covered by a mask and eye make-up will likely not lead to an increase in acne.
- Skip sunscreen if your sheltering indoors. On the other hand, if you are going out to get a change of scenery, chose a light non-comedogenic sunscreen that contains only zinc or titanium as its active ingredient. Do not use chemical sunscreens (oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate) as these are more likely to cause acne.
- Spot treat acne with a salicylic acid product. If you do end up with a break out or two, spot treat the acne spot only keeping in mind that more aggressive all over acne treatments can be irritating.
- Don’t pick at acne, and keep your hands off your face. Acne makes it more likely you will touch your face- resist this temptation to keep you safe and lower your risk of contracting Covid.
- Consider IPL to reduce acne scars and pigmentation. If you develop red or brown hyperpigmentation spots after an acne break out, find a good aesthetic physician who can keep your skin blemish and pigment free. We use IPL and radiofrequency devices in my practice to both reduce acne and combat excess pigment that can occur after a breakout.
- Watch your diet to avoid acne! Dairy is the number one food culprit causing acne as well as the comfort foods that we are all likely to indulge in as we weather the pandemic. If you are experiencing acne, eats lots of lean protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. This can also prevent the dreaded Covid-15, the 15 pounds of weight gain that can happen while sheltering at home.
Face Mask Acne Treatments – Austin TX
Dr. Ruthie Harper and her team of Austin, TX skin care experts offer the latest, state-of-the-art technologies in acne treatments for teens and adults.
Each acne treatment will begin with a professional skin consultation in our Austin, TX office. Then customized skin care treatments are selected to remedy your specific skin issues, using the most innovative and effective acne products and technologies available.
Get the smooth, clear, healthy skin you will love with advanced acne treatments at Ruthie Harper, MD in Austin, TX!