Maskne – Causes, Symptoms and treatments

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Wearing a face mask or facial covering is becoming increasingly more common, but the close contact to skin, combined with a warm moist environment between the surfaces creates an opportunity for the skin to become irritated, blotchy and sore, leading to a condition commonly referred to as Maskne.

In this article, we look at what causes Maskne, and what you can do to reduce its effects, and treat it.

What is Maskne

Maskne is the term given to an outbreak of acne vulgaris or irritation on the face, generally focused around the mouth and nose area, as a result of wearing a face mask for an extended period of time.

Wearing a face mask or face covering for short periods of time likely won’t cause too much irritation, but longer-term use, either due to environmental or health care factors can lead to this condition becoming more prominent, particularly in those with blemish-prone skin.

What causes Maskne to occur?

Grades of acne severity image.

Whilst triggers like stress or having blemish-prone skin can lead to flare-ups of acne, the difference with Maskne is that its cause is linked to the use of various types of face mask or face protection (including visors). 

The need for this type of equipment to be tight-fitting means there are multiple contact points between skin and mask, that see a build-up of warmth, sweat and friction. 

Our faces are covered in tiny follicles that become blocked at various points around the nose, mouth and forehead, all of which create a petri-dish for bacteria to grow and a flare-up to occur, even in people with no history of blemishes or acne.

How to treat Maskne

The most obvious answer would be to not wear a mask or protective equipment, but in many instances, this isn’t possible or advised, so alternative treatments must be sought to help reduce the opportunity for irritation and flare-ups to occur.

Change your face mask regularly if using disposable PPE - A build-up of sweat beneath the lining of a mask can lead to moisture and irritation through rubbing. Where possible, replacing a mask allows your skin a chance to breathe and reduces the chance of aggravation.

Choose a fabric mask that fits and wash it regularly - Ill-fitting masks that are either too tight or too loose can both lead to excess friction and aggravation of the skin surface. Once the skin is broken it comes more susceptible to bacteria, so ensuring that your mask fits well, is a good first step in reducing the chance of developing Maskne.

Also remember to wash your mask regularly, which will help to keep your mask dirt-free and bacteria at bay.

Avoid make-up - Wearing make-up provides more opportunity for pores to become blocked, so where possible, avoid wearing any or very minimal make-up on areas of the face that will be covered by, or come into contact with a face mask.

Best skincare for blemish-prone skin

Eucerin DermoPurifyer Cleansing Gel leaves skin feeling clean, fresh and supple.

The Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control range has been specially formulated to work against the main causes of blemish-prone skin.

Soap- and fragrance-free, Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Cleansing Gel is a non-comedogenic daily face wash for blemish-prone skin. With 6% Ampho-Tensides, it cleanses skin gently but effectively removing dirt, make-up and any excess sebum. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, the gel eliminates skin bacteria and prevents bacterial growth.

Once the skin has been cleansed, you should ensure that a suitable moisturiser is being used to help lock in moisture, avoid further dryness and help repair the skin's natural barrier.

Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Mattifying Fluid helps reduce blemishes and soothes skin.

For daily care, the innovative Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Mattifying Fluid effectively counteracts pimples and blackheads and helps to control demanding blemish-prone skin in the long term. Skin is noticeably clearer and the long-lasting matt effect improves the complexion.

Suitable for all mild to moderate forms of blemished skin, the innovative Eucerin DermoPurifyer Skin Renewal Treatment has been specially formulated to reduce the appearance of pimples, papules and pustules as well as to fade blemish marks. Eucerin DermoPurifyer Skin Renewal Treatment starts to visibly improve skin after just one week, revealing clearer and smoother-looking skin over time.

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