Keep your skin glowing during a pandemic by trying out these scientifically-backed maskne treatment methods
The pandemic brought many changes into our life, but one of the most unexpected is probably mask-induced acne, commonly known as maskne. There has been a sharp rise in the number of dermatitis and acne cases that are linked to wearing masks. A research found out that 37.4 percent of healthcare workers experienced a sharp increase in seborrheic dermatitis (itchy rashes and flakey scales) and acne during the pandemic. It needs to be noted that maskne isn’t just about acne—it manifests in the forms of itchiness, bumps, and swelling.
What causes maskne?
According to dermatologists, masks create an enclosed space that has surplus moisture (comprising of breath and sweat) and low air circulation. This enclosed space ends up excessively hydrating the outer layer of your skin, also known as the stratum corneum. This over activates the skin’s natural oil production and clogs the pores which lead to acne and other issues like blackheads or inflammation.
Additionally, the direct fiction between mask and skin causes irritation which leads to acne mechanica. It is a skin condition in which breakouts, rosacea and eczema occur when the skin is exposed to pressure or friction.
So far there has not been any dedicated maskne treatment but a mix of lifestyle changes and new habits can help you prevent and subsequently treat maskne:
Check out these five maskne treatment methods:
- Follow mask hygiene:
You should regularly wash your masks after every use. A medical advisory says that N95 masks should be replaced every three days and surgical masks should be replaced every four hours. For the general population, dermatologists recommend masks that are made of 100 percent cotton because they can quickly wick moisture and are breathable. If you are someone who wears masks for prolonged use then give yourself a break of 15 to 20 minutes in a secluded place and take your mask off. This will allow your skin to breathe. Some people with skin sensitivity and pre-existing issues like psoriasis or rosacea can get an allergic reaction to synthetic fabric. Therefore, try to wear masks made out of natural fabrics.
Regularly cleanse and moisturise your skin, at least twice a day. You should periodically use a cleanser that has benzoyl peroxide, retinoids or salicylic acid. Make sure that your skin does not have any residue of dirt or makeup before you start your day or go to sleep.
If you have oily skin then opt for a gel moisturiser. Those with normal to combination skin should use a light-weight moisturiser, while those with dry skin should use a cream-based moisturiser. However, regardless of your skin type make sure that the moisturiser is non-comedogenic. Also, remove the mask and spritz a facial spray onto the skin every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
4. Avoid Makeup
Avoid slathering your skin with makeup as it is occlusive in nature and clogs pores. If you really have to use it then try mineral and water-based products that are lightweight. Replace your regular foundation with an oil-free formula.
5. Exfoliate Regularly:
Prevalence of dead skin cells is one of the leading causes of breakouts. Long term mask-wearing can cause dead skin cells to pile up. To remove them include periodic exfoliation into your routine. Use a gentle scrub every 10 days. You can also use a chemical exfoliator made of alpha-hydroxy acids (like lactic and citric acid) or beta-hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid and hydroxyl) to keep dead cells at a bay. One needs to be careful about not overdoing exfoliation as it can cause irritation and end up enlarging the pores.