The CDC recommends citizens to wear cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19- especially in more crowded spaces such as grocery stores. While wearing a mask during quick trips to essential shops may not cause the average person strain or irritation, essential employees are met with new challenges. Long hours working behind the shield of a face covering can cause painful irritation and breakouts.
Is Wearing a Face Mask Causing your Acne?
Acne caused by face masks, referred to as acne mechanica, is a result of blocked pores from heat, friction, and pressure on the skin. Blockages from tight masks can cause a buildup in pores which creates an excess production of bacteria- leading to acne. Here are 5 tips to care for your skin while wearing a face mask to prevent breakouts and irritated skin.
Maintain a Gentle Skincare Routine
The first step to acne prevention is establishing a consistent skincare regimen tailored to your skin type. More specific to mask-wearing, your routine should include a gentle cleanser, a hydration product, and a repairing ointment for high-friction areas.
Wearing colored cosmetics can accelerate the pore clogging process when the skin lacks airflow. To prevent breakouts, try to avoid wearing makeup on the skin.
Wash Your Mask
For those who wear cotton or fabric masks, washing after each use is recommended. If the mask is left dirty, it will increase bacteria growth on the skin.
Wear Cotton Masks
Essential employees, or the general public who may choose the type of face covering worn, should opt for 100% cotton masks. Cotton masks are more breathable than synthetic or medical-grade masks. When alone, at home and in your car, remove your mask.
If acne persists, treatments are the best option. Topical acne medications containing salicylic acid, for example, exfoliate the skin and aid in the unclogging of pores.
Preventing ‘Maskne’ During COVID-19
With the proper care and prevention techniques, you can maintain healthy skin and adhere to mask-wearing guidelines. If you have any further questions, regarding mask irritation please let us know on our Ask Dr. Z page.