Wearing a mask is one of the fundamental guidelines of coronavirus prevention. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a face-covering in all public spaces in order to avoid contracting or spreading SARS-CoV-2. However, constantly wearing a mask can also irritate that skin and cause problems.
For people with sensitive skin, wearing a mask consistently throughout the day can also lead to painful acne breakouts and pimples. In addition, masks may also worsen existent acne.
The development of acne, especially around the jawline and mouth, is one of the most common dermatology concerns of 2020. Also known as ‘maskne’, the problem is also experienced by people with no history of such skin-related issues.
Usually, breakouts are treated by eliminating the trigger which may vary from person to person. In the case of acne from a face mask, the trigger is the mask itself.
This makes it difficult to control and prevent acne as wearing a mask is also important in the control and prevention of coronavirus infection. So, how can skin irritation be avoided?
According to dermatologists, the simple solution is by switching the type of mask. Acne from a mask is due to constant rubbing of the skin with irritable material of the mask. Often, the mask is also dirty and covered with bacteria.
For reducing friction and rubbing, a mask made with gentler material is ideal. For example, silk masks are the most effective so far. They can also be re-used and washed for getting rid of dirt and germs to avoid acne.
Another type of mask that can be worn by people with acne-prone skin is an anti-bacterial mask. Although not resusable, it can help with mask-related acne and avoid new breakouts significantly.
In addition to changing masks, some other skincare steps can also make a big difference such as moisturizing properly before wearing a mask. Not only can this also reduce friction but protect from dry and cold weather.
To avoid skin discoloration and dark spots from acne, make sure to wear sunscreen during the day.
Also, do not forget to wash and cleanse properly after coming home and removing the mask to remove dirt and bacteria. Using a topical over-the-counter cream and ointment for acne at night can also help soothe new pimples and treat them.
In cases of severe or painful acne, seek help from a skin specialist as they can prescribe stronger topical creams, lotions, and even oral medication to help get rid of a breakout.
Lastly, do not forget that this is a difficult time and many health issues including acne flare-ups may be associated with anxiety, high levels of stress, and depression.
Poor diet and unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking, consuming alcoholic drinks, and using drugs may also be potential triggers.
In such cases, the solution lies in a combination of following skincare steps and talking to someone about problems for relieving stress. Getting professional help for any mental health issues can also make a significant difference.