Over the last three months, we’ve all experienced major changes that have affected our lives drastically. With the CDC’s recommendation to wear a face mask in all public settings to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19, masks have now become an essential item in our wardrobe. For some people, these facial masks have shown to be more of a nuisance, causing break-outs in the chin and cheek areas, now known as “MASKNE”. MASKNE (mask acne) or “acne mechanica”, it is caused by the combination of constant rubbing from the mask –which irritates the skin barrier, as well as the hot moisture trapped inside, which dilates the pores and allows bacteria and oil to clog up. Once the follicles are trapped with dirt and other build-up, they become inflamed, leading to breakouts around your cheek, eyes and nose.
According to a New York City dermatologist, Dendy Engleman, MD, the skin gets clogged when the skin gets irritated. From there, sebum and bacteria reproduce rapidly under the skin causing tiny shallow whiteheads. (Deep painful bumps are actually caused by hormones). “.Dr. Engleman says it’s also all about the location of the breakouts in determining the cause. MASKNE will appear along the chinstrap, over the bridge of the nose, and cheeks. Breakouts can be seen when wearing medical grade, paper, and cloth masks. Improper or infrequent washing of cloth masks can produce build-up and bacteria as well.
Check out a few things you can do to prevent MASKNE.
- Give the face a break anytime you’re not socially distancing.
- Keep the area around the mask moisturized with a light hydrating moisturizer throughout the day to prevent the mask from drying out your skin.
- Wash your mask or change out your old disposable masks for a new one at least twice a week to ensure you aren’t putting bad bacteria back into your clean face.
- Most importantly, be sure to continue your regular skin care routine.