May 26, 2020

Since the coronavirus outbreak, face masks have become an essential part of our lives. However, in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease, wearing N95, surgical and cloth face masks can cause skin irritation on your face after prolonged use. And the side effect of that is “maskne”—a name that combines the words “mask” and “acne.” These breakouts pop up as whiteheads and blackheads on the areas where your mask sits: the bridge of your nose, cheeks and chin. Redness is also common around those sections due to friction and irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

Maskne has affected many frontline healthcare workers around the world, who have been working tirelessly around the clock to fight Covid-19. And now that it is mandatory to wear a mask in public, there is a chance that you can develop this skin condition. The warm and humid climate doesn’t help either, so here are some suggestions to prevent maskne.

Wash your face

It is vital to wash your face with a cleanser before putting on a face mask, and immediately after you take it off. This will help kill bacteria that may form over time while your mask is on. Avoid using scrubs which can lead to excess irritation if you have pimple-prone skin, and go for a milder alternative like the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser that not only soothes but also removes dirt and impurities. 

Opt for a soft and breathable material

Wearing masks with a softer and more comfortable fabric can help to reduce the friction against your face (especially for those with sensitive skin). Ziran, an LA-based fashion company, makes sustainable and reversible silks masks from scrap fabrics with zero-waste.

Apply Vaseline before putting a mask on

Applying a thin layer of Vaseline on parts of your face that are covered helps to reduce friction, restore moisture and keep your pores from clogging.

Do not wear makeup

Wearing makeup under your mask will dramatically increase the chances of getting clogged pores, which will lead to acne. If you must, apply makeup sparingly and do not use heavy foundation. Be sure to remove your makeup and wash your face immediately afterwards to prevent the build-up of oil, dirt and bacteria. 

Benzoyl Peroxide

If you already have maskne, benzoyl peroxide is an effective solution to treat acne. Alternatively, you can try PCA Skin Acne Cream which clears your skin as well as protects it from future breakouts.

Image credit: Ziran