09 Dec How to deal with ‘Maskne’
‘Maskne’ (mask acne) is one of the not-so-nice side effects of wearing a mask.
The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has made mask wearing compulsory in many settings – and often for prolonged periods of time. Whilst it protects others around us, it can also cause itching or skin rashes, as well as making both eczema and acne worse.
What’s happening to my skin?
The British Skin Foundation says that masks can cause facial rashes, skin peeling and flakiness due to friction from tight-fitting masks, as well as making underlying skin conditions like eczema worse.
Acne can be made worse by the hot, humid conditions underneath your mask and the pressure of a tight mask can block oil ducts.
What can I do?
Dermatologist @anjalimahto recommends cleansing morning and night to keep the skin clean. Use a cleanser suitable for your skin condition – try something with salicylic acid for acne (such as La Roche Posay Effaclar Cleanser) or a gentle cleanser for sensitive, irritated skin (such as Avene Extremely Gentle Cleansing Lotion).
For acne, be careful to choose a non-comedogenic moisturiser such as Vinopure Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid. Try to use a face mask (the sort that does help your skin!) up to twice a week – choose ones with clay or charcoal to help cleanse pores (such as Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Mask).
If you’re suffering from dry, itchy skin, a fragrance-free moisturiser could help as a barrier, although you’ll need to apply it regularly. Try Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream or Epaderm cream which is available in pharmacies.
If you’re finding that the mask fit is causing itching or a rash, it might be helped by wearing a cotton or silk mask which is gentler on the skin. If you really want to treat yourself, The Bilk Silk offer a silk mask.
If the acne, rash, eczema or other skin conditions do not clear up after 1-2 weeks of treatment, you should consult your doctor or healthcare provider for further advice.