Maskne – what is it?

Maskne - what is it?

Pimples that appear on the cheeks, chin and around the mouth are occurring in an increasing number of people. This is a result of having to wear masks in public places. Is it possible to successfully avoid this problem even if you spend several hours a day wearing a mask? How is maskne treated?

What is maskne?

Maskne or mascne, from mask – mask and acne – acne, is literally a type of acne that is mechanical in origin and results from wearing a protective mask for too long. This term is new – it was coined to describe a problem that emerged during the pandemic.

What are the causes of maskne? The mask we wear is primarily to protect us from viruses and bacteria, but unfortunately, it itself becomes a breeding ground for microorganisms. Just 15 minutes of use causes harmful bacteria to collect on its surface. Additional problems are temperature, which increases the work of the sebaceous glands, and humidity, which is basically unavoidable. These factors promote the proliferation of microorganisms. The body may react to this condition with maskne, seborrheic dermatitis of the face or atopic dermatitis. Treatment in the latter two cases will be lengthy and problematic, so it is better to counteract the problems in advance.

In addition, it is important to realize that the mask negatively affects the breathing process of the skin and can cause clogging of hair follicles and pores. Sometimes the rubbing of the material against the skin causes minor abrasions or irritation, which increases the risk of long-term infection.

Symptoms and treatment of maskne

Typical symptoms of maskne are itching and oily facial skin, the formation of blackheads, both open ones called blackheads and closed ones, and the dilatation of blood vessels in the areas where the mask adheres, that is, on the cheeks, chin, jawline and around the mouth. Importantly, pimples on the chin or cheeks can appear not only in people with a tendency to acne, but also in those who have not had any skin problems so far.

Treatment of acne, including maskne, consists primarily of proper facial skin care. It is advisable to use antibacterial preparations that inhibit the growth of microorganisms, such as those containing tea tree oil or azelaic acid, as well as to take care of proper protection against irritation. Here, light moisturizing creams will be most effective. For women, it is recommended to forgo makeup, especially the application of opaque foundation and setting powders. Beware also of tearing acne lesions – if the skin is already damaged, it is best to disinfect the wound as soon as possible to effectively inhibit the developing inflammatory process.

Prevention of maskne

Protective masks have become one of the attributes of the pandemic. It is known that they must be worn in public spaces for the time being, it is not known how long this will be necessary. At this point no one in power is talking about abolishing this obligation, so it is worth knowing how to prevent maskne.

First of all, it is necessary to change masks frequently if possible, and to wear them for as short a time as possible. Those who, due to the type of work they do, are forced to cover their mouth and nose for several hours a day should put on a new disposable surgical mask once every 30 minutes. After a longer period of time, moisture accumulates on the material, which, as mentioned earlier, promotes the multiplication of microorganisms. Before putting the mask back on, you can cleanse your face with an antibacterial tonic or simply let it air out for a while.

It is worth taking care not to touch the skin with dirty hands – it is not only about the possible transmission of coronavirus, but also the transmission of other viruses and bacteria to the face. Regular use of moisturizing creams also has good protective effects, as moisturized skin becomes slightly less sensitive to micro-damage. Prevention of maskne is key due to the risk of hyperpigmentation and acne scarring.


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