“Maskne”: how to prevent mask-related acne

The Los Angeles County mask mandate was reinstated over the weekend, and 10 counties in California now strongly recommend indoor face masks.

So if you suffer from mask-related acne or “maskne” it may not go away anytime soon. But our health expert, Karen Owoc, is here with advice to help prevent and deal with this side effect of wearing a mask.

Maskne is not new.

Mask-related acne has always been a problem in professions where it is necessary to wear a mask regularly, but now that the general public has to wear a mask (and often for long periods of time), maskne has become more of a public health issue. .

The science behind Maskne

• Yeast, bacteria and other flora (for example, skin mites that live on your skin) are present on the skin.

• When you breathe, you expel warm, humid air that is trapped inside your mask. This warm and humid environment is the ideal setting for the growth of yeasts, bacteria and skin mites.

• These microorganisms can clog (and infect) your pores and also create friction between your mask and the skin, resulting in small pimples and pustules (small bumps on the skin that contain fluid or pus).

The three keys to preventing Maskne

  1. Skin hygiene
  2. Mask hygiene
  3. Oral hygiene
  4. Skin hygiene

• Wash your face with a mild foaming cleanser (nothing too harsh which dries out the skin and irritates it more). You can use one with salicylic acid. Salycylic acid (beta hydroxy acid) is known to reduce acne by exfoliating the skin and keeping the pores clear.

• To help remove excess yeast, you can wash your face 2-3 times a week with anti-dandruff shampoo (contains selenium sulfide,

zinc pyrithione or ketoconazole). These ingredients are antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal agents. Yeast is the main contributor to dandruff.

• Cleanse your skin with a simple tonic lotion (for example, a few drops of witch hazel on a cotton ball) or an UNSCENTED baby wipe if you have to wear the mask for long periods of time during the day or if you have hair on your face. face.

• Hot air and moisture from sweat are trapped under the thick layer of hair (beards and mustaches), so wash off between washes.

• Make sure the skin and hair on your face are completely dry before putting on the mask.

• Apply a light coat of makeup, lotion or sunscreen (with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide). It can act as a barrier against irritating friction between your skin and the mask. Thick layers of these products can make acne worse.

Hygiene mask

• Change your mask frequently, especially after exercising and sweating.

• Wash off masks after use to control infections and reduce irritation.

• Always wash new sheet masks before wearing them. Fabrics that may have been treated with formaldehyde resins * are: rayon, synthetic cotton blend, 100% wrinkle-resistant cotton. They can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

* Formaldehyde levels in clothing have declined dramatically since studies in the 1980s, but are still present.

• Wash masks with fragrance-free detergent and rinse, rinse, rinse! Dirt and germs are removed from the surface and trapped by the detergent. If you don’t rinse well, you end up with a mask that contains both germs AND detergent.

• Do not use fabric softener on masks, which contain quaternary ammonium compounds to combat static electricity. According to a study (NYU School of Medicine), these compounds also cause irritation to the skin and respiratory tract.

Oral hygiene (avoid “masking the mouth”)

Oral symptoms of the mask include bad breath, tooth decay, and inflamed gums.

• Do not breathe through your mouth. It dries up the mouth, which leads to bad breath. When you breathe out through your mouth, the bacteria in your

the mouth gets stuck in your mask. Mask wearers tend to breathe through their masks.

• Stay hydrated.

• Practice good oral hygiene.

• Do not eat mint or chew sweet gum, which exacerbates cavities.

• Change masks frequently and wash them frequently.

Takeaway meals: Remember the three keys to prevention: 1) Good skin hygiene, 2) Good mask hygiene, and 3) Good oral hygiene.


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