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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Maskne - What is It?

Dr Thivi Maruthappu, Consultant Dermatologist writes:

What is maskne?
Type “maskne” into Google, and you’ll find over 1 million hits. So, what exactly is maskne? It was initially coined as a term to describe the development of acne after wearing facial masks (mask + acne), it is now used as an umbrella term to cover all manner of facial rashes that can happen due to our increased use of face masks, which in the UK are compulsory on public transport, shops, hotels and many other settings. With this in mind, it is important to address maskne, its possible causes and what can be done so that we can uphold compliance with face coverings.

Why do masks cause skin rashes?
Masks can cause facial rashes for a number of reasons. The friction caused by tight areas of the mask rubbing repeatedly against the skin, for example over the nose, cheeks and ears can result in redness, flaking and peeling skin and in some cases even sores. This can be worse if you have an underlying skin condition like eczema.

Masks create a humid and occlusive environment underneath them. They can trap moisture and sebum, both of which can aggravate pre-existing acne or cause new breakouts by clogging pores. The combination of masks and warm, humid summer weather can certainly make things worse for skin conditions such as rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and perioral dermatitis. However, it can be tricky to tell these skin conditions apart from acne so if in doubt make sure to see your health care provider.

What can you do to prevent maskne?
Maskne prevention really depends on which skin condition has been triggered. Frictional skin damage requires careful treatment to restore the skins natural barrier function. Application of a rich emollient at sites of repeated trauma can help to reduce friction, but if masks are being worn for long periods of time, it’s important to reapply throughout the day. Consider choosing soft fabrics such as cotton, which is gentler on the skin and is less likely to cause friction than synthetic fibres such as polyester.

For true mask acne, use a gentle skin cleanser twice daily and look for active ingredients such salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide which have been proven to address acne. Avoid wearing makeup under masks as this can exacerbate things further and always look for products labelled “non-comedogenic”. When you are able to take your mask off, for example in the privacy of your own home, remove it and wash your face carefully. If your acne is persistent or affecting your confidence or mood, don’t wait to seek medical help as topical or oral prescription treatments may be necessary. If you are using cloth masks, make sure to wash them regularly with a mild fragrance-free detergent to remove traces of sebum, dirt and bacteria that build up throughout the day.

Article from British Skin Foundation site here


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All the best Jan

37 comments:

Sandra Cox said...

Interesting article, Jan. I hadn't heard of this before, but it makes sense.

Sandra Cox said...

PS I hadn't been around because of internet issues.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.
Mask wearing has been sporadic here and I haven't experienced this - for which I am grateful.

DVArtist said...

Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing it.

Laurie said...

That’s really interesting!

JFM said...

Thank you Jan for this informative article
It is info that I didn't know ❤

happyone said...

Interesting to read about, I hadn't heard of this either!

Tom said...

...no problems here!

Diane said...

Wonderful article thanks for sharing it Jan.

Hugs diane

William Kendall said...

This is the first I'm hearing the term.

J.P. Alexander said...

Muchas gracias por la información. Mi rostro siempre se irrita cuando uso la mascarilla.
Te mando un beso

Magic Love Crow said...

I break out, when I have to wear my mask for 8 hours at work!! Thank you for this interesting read! Big Hugs!

Jeanie said...

I've been lucky that for all the masks I've been wearing I haven't had maskne. Very informative!

Rose said...

Who would have thought! I am lucky I don't have to wear one for 8 hours of work.

Linda said...

Timely advice. I would add to wash cotton masks in unscented detergent, rinse well. Avoid fabric softener.

Phil Slade said...

Good information Jan. I'd not heard of this term until now. The sooner we get rid of these antisocial things the better. Why oh why do people wear the damn things while walking in the fresh air, often with no one else in sight. If they are that concerned they should stay home.

Good post. Deserves a wider audience.

mamasmercantile said...

I hadn't come across the term but knew about the issues of mask wearing. I have stopped wearing makeup and it does make a difference.

At Home In New Zealand said...

First I read all about Covid Arm, and now I discover Maskne. I wonder what else is occurring because of this virus? One thing is for sure, our lives have been irrevocably changed from what we used to accept as normal.
Take care and be safe :) xx

Ella said...

I've never heard of it! But is good to know!
Thank you for the information!

My name is Erika. said...

I've had lots of maskne in the form of major chapped lips all winter. Glad to know there's a name for my cause. Hugs-Erika

Inger said...

It must be difficult for those who are out at work or other places all day long and have to wear a mask. And those gloves too, I wonder how they affect their hands. I too have never heard of this, but I have seen pictures of marks on the faces of nurses and doctors who have to wear protective gear all day long. True heroes they are, for sure.

bill burke said...

I haven't heard of this before, so thank you for sharing this.

Elkes Lebensglück said...

Very interesting post, thank!

Hootin' Anni said...

I have noticed wearing a surgical mask dries my skin.

Christine said...

Interesting haven’t heard of this.

This N That said...

I know masks cause skin problems..never heard of this term..I don't have to worry because I only wear a mask once in awhile for an hour or so...I don't go anywhere..I guess that's a good thing..Have a good weekend..

Jenn Jilks said...

My poor hairdresser has that!

Lady Caer Morganna said...

If people have no problem then LUCKY THEM but I know PLENTY of co-workers who can relate - my Line Lead at work being one of them. I saw what it does when I ran onto her in the ladies room and OMG her skin was red and bloody! THIS IS A PROBLEM for many.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Thank you for posting!

I hadn't thought about prevention. A small gauze pad will help. It may not look attractive on my nose, but it's the thought that counts. lol

Teresa said...

Muy interesante. Buen fin de semana.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I hadn't heard about this but I'm glad you shared it. I feel sorry for those that have to wear a mask all day. I'm glad we can get outside in nature and not have to wear one...because we don't see anyone else. Enjoy your weekend!

Carla from The River said...

Yes, I suffer from this as well. And both my boys. And many friends.
I also get a bloody nose from a very long day of wearing the mask.

Debbie said...

i don't wear masks too often because i am always home. i do, of course, wear one if i go anywhere. i know how lucky i am to be home and not facing this problem!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

I didn't know about this problem happening, so this was very informative and helpful.

Ananka said...

I feel very lucky that I don't suffer from any issues with wearing a mask. I only wear it in shops. I spend a lot of time walking and don't wear it in the fresh air.

NatureFootstep said...

ouch, that was new to me. Thanks for the information.

Crafty Green Poet said...

It's a balancing act between getting your mask tight enough to prevent your glasses steaming up yet not so tight as to cause skin problems! I don't wear my mask for extended periods (just in shops and on public transport and when walking from home to a bus or shop, i don't wear one when I'm just 'going for a walk').