As people around the country have begun wearing face masks for hours at a time each day to combat the spread of COVID-19, many have noticed a “new” form of acne breakouts to deal with. These skin irritations, known as “maskne”—which are worsened by the humid summers in South Florida—are common among residents of the Naples area. Our medical dermatology providers at Skin Wellness Physicians can help you control breakouts caused by masks. But what really causes these bumps and other typical acne symptoms to appear?
Maskne, which is actually a form of acne called acne mechanica, can be linked to any of these contributing factors:
Excess Physical Friction
This type of acne is especially prevalent among athletes and soldiers who tend to wear a lot of heavy equipment like helmets, sweatbands, shoulder pads, or tight clothing that rubs against the skin. Face masks not only put similar pressure on the skin, especially when constantly touching and adjusting them, but also trap heat and sweat against the surface.
Dirt and Bacteria Accumulation
More intense breakouts are likely if you aren’t washing your protective mask regularly with soap and water to get rid of grime and makeup after using it. You can also spray masks with alcohol to keep them clean.
Certain Types of Masks
N95, surgical, or respirator masks can be made of rough materials, and some of these masks also create a very tight seal around the mouth and nose, so if your skin is very sensitive, it may be better to choose masks made from softer, more breathable materials like silk or cotton.
Your Skin Care Routine
If you’re prone to acne, it’s best to change your routine. Leaving on your makeup too long under a mask can cause pores to become clogged more easily. Irritating or harsh products will also aggravate breakouts, but keeping your skin clean is essential, so use mild cleansers, toners, and moisturizers daily.
Explore options for cosmetic and medical dermatology services at Skin Wellness Physicians, serving the Marco Island and Naples area communities. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at (239) 732-0044 or submit a form to send us your info.