Tips to help combat acne from face masks

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As the COVID-19 pandemic has now made wearing masks the norm, many people have developed ‘maskne.’

The term ‘maskne’ refers to the acne like bumps that show up in the distribution area where masks sit on the face.

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Masks already create a humid environment around the face and the addition of South Mississippi’s typical summer humidity and heat can make maskne worse.

News 25 talked to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ashley Emerson of the Dermatology Clinic in Gautier about some of the ways maskne can be treated. “Another issue with wearing masks that I don’t think people realize is how important it is to have a good snug fit. So everybody’s associating with masks that are too tight, or it’s rubbing too much. But masks that are ill fitting or too big, those are the ones that we mess with. So not only are we– is it moving around because it’s too big and it doesn’t fit, we’re also putting our fingers not only on the mask, but around and on our face and on the sides of the mask to re-fit it, to re-shape it. And so, not only are we getting the chaffing affect from it not fitting, we’re also getting the dirt and oil from our hands on our face.”

Below are some quick-hit points about skin care with masks:

  • be sure to clean / change your mask regularly – dirt and oil collect and result in irritation and acne formation
  • take regular breaks from wearing your mask when possible – this allows trapped heat & humidity to escape instead of remaining concentrated under your mask
  • make sure you are wearing a comfortable and well-fitting mask – masks that are too large tend to move & require more adjustments, which result in increased chafing and touching of your face
  • for those without underlying acne issues, make sure that you tailor your skin care & moisturization routine to your skin type – oilier complexions do well with gel-based moisturizers versus dryer complexions, who may need a slightly heavier moisturizer
  • for those already on acne treatment, be sure you discuss any mask-related worsening with your dermatologist so that appropriate adjustments to your therapy can be made – you may need a lower strength of one or more of your topical medications

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