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Maskne is a relatively new term coined to describe appearance of acne like lesions on facial skin as a results of wearing face masks. Though so-called “maskne” (mask + acne) isn’t always related to acne, you might notice some facial breakouts as a possible side effect of mask use.

Risk Factors for developing Maskne

People might be more likely to experience face-mask-related bumps and rashes if they’re already living with skin issues, such as: 

Acne, Eczema, Skin allergies 

Symptoms of Maskne

Symptoms of Maskne consist of red, bumpy rash around their mouth and chin. These symptoms are very similar to perioral dermatitis in which area around the eyes can be affected, too. Pus containing and draining and containing skin lesions such as pimples, white heads, develop shortly after a few days of mask use.

Using the right type of mask to avoid Maskne

Most protective masks made of cotton or polyester blends, such as T-shirt or pillowcase fabrics, are fairly gentle on the skin. A smooth-texture material will cut down on friction that can chafe and irritate the lower part of the face.

Some commercial face masks are pre-treated with formaldehyde to disinfect them. If you’re allergic to that chemical, those masks could spark a breakout. Also, synthetic fabrics are an issue for some people. Likewise, laundering washable masks with heavily scented detergents or softeners can cause itching, redness or rashes. Choosing a natural fiber-cloth mask and unscented laundry products can help prevent skin irritation or sensitivity.

Prevention and Treatment of Maskne

1. Oil, nasal mucus, saliva and sweat can get on your face mask wherever it touches your face. Wash your mask with gentle, nonirritating soap after each use and dry it in the dryer. Store your fresh masks in a bag to keep them clean.

2. Use gentle, mild soaps and water for your face, nothing scented or antibacterial.

3. Try a good, bland moisturizer at night.

4. For anyone who starts to get irritation on their facial skin, use a barrier cream or spray, such as petroleum jelly or zinc oxide. Diaper cream is a great option because you’re pretty much addressing the same issue as diaper irritation: irritated, raw, sore skin due to a warm, wet environment.

5. If you know you’ll be spending time with a mask on, consider taking a break from unnecessary cosmetics. Since no one will see the lower half of your face, it’s a perfect time to skip makeup or anything that could clog your pores or aggravate acne or other skin lesions.

6. Last, but not the least, get COVID vaccine so that we can say good bye to this pandemic and the masks.

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