‘Maskne’, yes, masked acne, now it’s one thing

A frustrating side effect of mandatory wearing of face masks during the coronavirus outbreak is that it is causing many people to explode. And that generated the term “mask” – or “mask” plus “acne”, referring to blemishes that result from the use of a face covering.

Acne was already the most common skin condition in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, which affects 50 million people a year and costs more than $ 1.2 billion in treatments and loses productivity for those whose cases were so serious that they sought medical attention. .

And the pandemic is exacerbating the problem, not only because of the friction of the masks, particularly the unwashed masks, rubbing against people’s faces, but also because of the stress of the numerous crises that hit the country immediately. And research has found a strong correlation between acne and stress.

The Tokyo Weekender, a popular English beauty magazine in Japan, has declared Maskne “one of the most widespread skincare issues in 2020”, and patients have turned to Twitter TWTR
and Instagram FB,
to complain about the appearance of their new grain crops. And even if it’s been saved so far, the temperatures that induce summer sweat and increased humidity are about to make many complexions worse.

“We are definitely seeing ‘maskne’ more,” Dr. Lucy Chen, a dermatologist who practices at Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in South Florida, told MarketWatch. “We see it much more as the summer months occur, with the extra moisture in the air and the extra heat that actually increases the amount of stress and oil production” on the skin.

He added that his practice has also seen many healthcare workers suffer from acne, bruising and rashes after wearing masks for shifts of 12 hours or more.

So what is causing it? The scientific term is “mechanical acne,” which means that mechanical friction of the mask tissue rubbing against the skin is causing breakouts. “It is creating a warm and humid environment for additional skin oils to proliferate and for bacteria to become trapped, clogging the pores,” Chen explained. “It is similar to what we see in athletes who wear tight helmets or chin straps.”

Some pimples and pimples are a small price to pay to help curb the spread of COVID-19, of course, especially since the US has reported record numbers of new cases this week, and more than 124,468 Americans have already died from the coronavirus.

But there are ways to help prevent “maskne” as well as methods of treating blemishes that appear. This is what you need to know.

Wash your face. Prevention is the best medicine, so it is key to wash your face in the morning and at night, and even every time you remove your mask. “After you get home, immediately wash your face and reduce the oil on your skin,” Chen suggested. You can even wipe your face with a clean cloth dampened in warm water.

But be gentle. It may be tempting to search for the strongest acne cleanser or treatment you can find, but Chen recommends selecting mild products. Your skin is already irritated by the mask, and an overly powerful cleanser could make it worse. If you select a wash to combat acne, she recommends mild ones with salicylic acid to remove excess oils and unclog pores. And maybe just use that salicylic acid cleanser at night, and use a gentler treatment throughout the day.

Wash your mask. That reusable cloth mask has absorbed your sweat, maybe some of your saliva, any drops of coughs and sneezes, your makeup and your moisturizer, let alone anything else you have come in contact with when it has been removed or removed and put on down. It is a breeding ground for all kinds of microbes, so you should wash it regularly. “You need to wash your mask daily, or even rotating through a few different masks would be a good idea,” Chen said. Throw your masks in the washing machine or wash them by hand with hot soapy water. Throw them in a hot dryer, if care instructions allow. And store clean masks in new paper bags to keep them germ-free.

Read more:The best and easiest way to clean your mask

Choose lightweight mask material. If you’re not a healthcare professional or first responder working on the front line, choose a lighter material that allows your skin to breathe more. “If you’re just taking a trip to the grocery store or walking the dog … I would suggest a 100% cotton mask for perspiration,” Chen said.

Do not squeeze or burst anything. A busted pimple not only takes longer to heal than if you had left it alone, but doing so can also spread bacteria and enlarge the outbreak. “People will want to deal with their acne right away, but avoid squeezing, popping, or rubbing too much with fluffy sponges, because your skin is already fragile from the friction of the mask,” Chen said. In short, it will only make things worse.

Practice spot treatments under your mask. If he already has an outbreak or feels swollen below the surface of the skin, Chen recommends using acne patches (sometimes called pimple patches), which are small hydrocolloid bandages that absorb moisture and are usually cut in small circles. They are essentially small pimple bandages that can dry out pimples and prevent itching. You can wear them overnight, or Chen has another trick: “I apply them under my mask, where no one can see them,” she says. “I wore one of those during the day so I wouldn’t touch it and the mask doesn’t rub or worsen it.”

He also recommends over-the-counter treatments with a lower percentage of benzoyl peroxide, such as 2.5% to 5%. (Note, however, that benzoyl peroxide can bleach fabrics like your mask, so you can save it as an overnight treatment.)

Skip the makeup. Consider waiting on the concealer or base on the underside, as it will still be covered by the mask. Removing makeup removes one more thing that could clog pores and create more breakouts. But Chen still recommends a light moisturizer a few minutes before putting on the mask in the morning, to help keep your skin’s protective moisture barrier intact, which in turn helps defend against unwanted bacteria.

De-stress and decompress. Stress can lead to more severe acne, not to mention interrupting your healthy diet and sleeping habits. Here are some expert tips for managing your mental health during the pandemic, such as meditation apps, teletherapy sessions, or simple self-care practices to help you feel better during these tough times.

Consult a professional, especially if your mask causes a rash. Masks can cause skin rashes like perioral dermatitis or contact dermatitis. “The first is more related to the sensitivity of the skin, and the other is related to a true allergy to perhaps the processing chemicals in the mask itself, or what is used to wash the mask, or even the fabric of the mask. mask, “Chen explained. “A dermatologist will be best suited to diagnose it and recommend treatment.”