Local dermatology center gives tips on dealing with “maskne”
Maskne is acne caused by the wearing of face masks
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - There’s a new term in 2020 - “maskne”. Maskne is acne caused by the wearing of face masks and usually occurs on the lower part of the face around the cheeks, chin, and mouth area.
Rebecca Bartlett with Cenla Dermatology says breakouts caused by masks are likely caused by a condition called acne mechanica - when an ill-fitting mask causes friction to irritate your skin. “It happens in football players who wear their chin strap. They may break out in a lot of acne on the chin area. Sometimes cyclists will have that acne mechanica across the forehead for wearing their helmet when they’re cycling, so that is a known condition, so we feel like mask acne is just a spinoff of that.”
Bartlett says the heat that gets trapped inside can also be a breeding ground for bacteria-induced breakouts. “In general, a more breathable mask like a cotton mask would be less likely to do that from a heat perspective. It doesn’t trap as much of the heat in.”
She recommends not wearing makeup on the lower half of your face, taking your mask off to let your skin breathe throughout the day, cleansing your face twice a day, as well as washing your mask regularly, and storing it in a clean area. "Avoiding touching the face a lot, washing your hands before you do touch your face, so when you remove your face you have clean hands before you do touch your face."
Bartlett says the pandemic has led to more patients experiencing maskne and flare-ups of other conditions like rosacea, but the good news is there are lots of treatments available if you’re still experiencing problems. “Acne, in general, is a very common problem so the fact that people are struggling with it more because of the masks it’s very normal and it’s totally manageable.”
Bartlett says you can try some over the counter treatments with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinol. There are also prescription options available at your dermatologist’s office.
Cenla Dermatology is located at 1587 North Bolton Avenue in Alexandria. The office is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon.
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