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Maskne: How to treat and avoid acne from face masks

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Acne From Face Masks

Wearing a face mask is part of our new-normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to help prevent the spread of the disease. Unfortunately wearing a mask for long periods can cause skin issues in some users, but there are ways to prevent and treat acne caused by masks.

What is maskne?

Maskne is the term used to describe skin issues, spots and irritation caused by the prolonged use of a face mask. Face masks play a really important role in preventing the spread of coronavirus & should be worn when required unless you’re exempt.

What causes maskne?

Multiple skin irritations that can be accentuated by wearing a face covering. Those with previous skin issues are more susceptible to flare ups. These conditions (which we treat at PrivateDoc) include:

  • Acne - Sebum & trapped dirt clog pores and cause spots.
  • Eczema - An inflammatory condition causing chronic itching and sore inflamed skin.
  • Psoriasis - Flare up periods where patches of skin become red, flaky & crusty with silvery scales. The patches most often appear on elbows, knees, scalp and the lower back.
  • Rosacea - Facial flare ups including flushing, redness, tiny blood vessels appearing, spots, thickening of the skin and sore, dry eyes.

Those with one of the above conditions are more likely to experience further irritation from wearing a mask as the skin is already sensitive, if you have one of these conditions speak with us today to start a treatment plan here:

Tips to prevent acne from masks 'Maskne'

Wash your face frequently.

Washing your face regularly is crucially important for maintaining a good skincare routine, but even more so during the pandemic to help prevent mask irritation.

You should wash your face with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser;

  • In the morning, after waking up
  • In the evening, before bed
  • After exercise, sweating or wearing a mask

Use gentle skincare products.

Many skincare products contain fragrances or harsh chemical cleansers which can lead to irritation on the skin which is then accentuated whilst wearing a mask. You can ask your doctor for advice on which products are best for your skin and should always check the labels of the products you use. When starting a new routine monitor your skin for any irritation, redness or tingling and disuse products which cause abnormal reactions.

Even minor irritation can be accentuated through wearing a mask so it’s important to find products which work with your skin.

Treat any skin issues or concerns.

If you have sensitive skin or suffer from acne, rosacea, psoriasis or eczema already you;re more susceptible to experience maskne; this is why it’s essential you address your skin concerns with a consultation that will allow us to find a suitable prescription treatment. We have a simple online consultation which you can complete in minutes and one of our friendly GPs will then be able to advise on a treatment plan.

Even minor irritation can be accentuated through wearing a mask so it’s important to find products which work with your skin.

Use non-comedogenic moisturisers.

Whilst moisturising is great for healthy skin, some moisturisers can clog pores which can then lead to breakouts when trapped under a mask. We recommend looking for non-comedogenic moisturisers. Non-comedogenic products are typically oil free and have been formulated to avoid clogging pores, which can help prevent maskne.

Avoid make-up where possible.

Whilst make-up can make you look and feel great, it can cause your pores to become clogged which can then lead to skin issues when mixed with the humidity under a face mask.If you do need to wear make up, try to opt for brands that offer non-comedogenic products which will allow your skin to breathe beneath the make-up and mask.

Use gentle cleaning products to wash your mask.

Harsh cleansers can make your skin more sensitive, which can then lead to irritation from mask use. Opt for gentle cleansers to minimise and prevent breakouts and leave you skin clean without irritation!

Keep your mask clean.

If you have a reusable mask you should wash it frequently after each use with skin-friendly non-biological detergent. These mild cleansers ensure your skin won’t breakout due to having a dirty mask or having an adverse reaction to the detergent used.

Ensure your mask fits correctly

Take mask breaks where possible.

Healthcare workers have found that taking a 15 minute mask-free break when safe to do so every 4 hours helps prevent skin issues. The recommendation is to remove your mask outside with social distancing rules to allow your skin to breathe before remasking.

Remember wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of Covid-19 and it is essential we all follow the guidelines whilst wearing a mask is advisable.

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