A woman with acne and irritation from wearing a protective face mask.
Wearing a reusable or disposable face mask in public is a crucial measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19. While this protective barrier helps shield you and others around you from the deadly virus, using these masks frequently can take a toll on your skin’s natural barrier—often causing irritation and breakouts on your chin or around your mouth and nose—thanks to trapped sweat, dirt as well as heat and moisture from your breath.
These tiny zits or mask-induced acne are what we commonly know as ‘maskne’. “Maskne is another term for acne mechanica, which is acne lesions that form on the skin in areas that are occluded (blocked or sealed-in), such as under a mask,” explains Dr. Joyce Park, a board-certified dermatologist in the Bay area. “It’s an extremely common skin condition right now, during the pandemic. However, ‘maskne’ is not just limited to acne,” adds Dr. Lindsey Zubrintsky, a Pittsburgh-based board-certified dermatologist. “When people refer to maskne, they might sometimes be referring to exacerbations of other conditions, like rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis (eczema) or perioral dermatitis. This may be an exacerbation of a previous condition or new development of a skin condition,” tells the skincare expert.
So, how do I fight maskne?
Although mask-wearing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, there are a few tips that you can integrate into your daily routine to effectively prevent and treat maskne. Without further ado, here are eight derm-approved ways to keep maskne at bay:
Other than that, don’t forget to wear sunscreen. “With increased inflammation of the skin, there is a higher likelihood of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Applying sunscreen can lower the chance of that happening,” explains Dr. Zubrintsky. And lastly, don’t forget to treat your lips with petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) before going to bed and before wearing the mask, recommends the AAD. “To prevent breakouts, take care to apply the petroleum jelly only to your lips,” it adds.
I’ve been a digital journalist and writer for the past four years, primarily covering the world of lifestyle and wellness. After completing my postgraduation in