The mask has emerged as the most effective defence against respiratory diseases and pollution this year. But to keep our faces shrouded under a protective layer for long hours has meant the rise of a new set of problems – pimples, rashes and irritation on our facial skin. This acne-like phenomenon, caused by the effect of the mask, has been on the rise this year and merits a name in its own right – maskne.
What is Maskne?
Although the term Maskne has been popularised recently, the condition is not new at all. Doctors and nurses routinely encounter it, and in medical terms, it is called Acne Mechanica – acne brought about by the prolonged use of a mask or any facial protection equipment.
Maskne is caused due to the generation of heat and friction from the fabric of the mask, and the obstruction of the facial area. The mask acts as a closed compartment, in which the moisture generated by talking, and perspiration gets trapped. This results in the clogging of oil glands and pores. The buildup of oil secretion and proliferation of floral bacteria then causes acne and inflammation.
Wearing a mask can also cause other skin-related problems like dryness, irritation and rashes. In some cases it can also result in contact dermatitis – an allergic reaction to the ingredients or components of the mask, such as formaldehyde in polypropylene surgical masks. But reactions can vary from one skin type to another and the wearer would need to try different masks to know which one would be suitable for them and which one to avoid.
Rosacea – a skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in your face, can be triggered by masks. The increase in skin temperature under the mask and rising stress levels due to the pandemic has made rosacea a common occurrence. Cases of folliculitis, a condition where bacterial infection causes the inflammation of hair follicles on the face are also being reported. Maskne can be controlled or eased with these simple tricks.
1. Wash Your Face Before Putting on a Mask
Wash your face before wearing a mask to remove dirt and ensure that excess oil does not get trapped under the mask. Use a gentle, fragrance-free, and pH-balanced cleanser that doesn’t irritate or dry out the skin.
2. Don’t skip the Moisturiser
Even though it gets humid under the mask, don’t forget to moisturise your skin. Use a gentle, non-irritating, fragrance-free moisturiser with the perfect consistency for your face. Use moisturisers with ceramide, hyaluronic acid and dimethicone, as these ingredients form a protective barrier which protects your face from the mask. They reduce the effect of friction and keep skin hydrated for a long time.
3. Wear a Clean Mask
It is essential to wear a clean mask, to avoid getting infected by the virus and take care of your skin. Used masks often have germs, bacteria and dirt from the previous use, which can aggravate skin problems. If you are using a cloth mask, wash it frequently and handle it only by the straps. Do not forget to wash your face with a gentle cleanser after a long day of wearing a mask.
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4. Ditch Your Makeup!
If you are wearing a mask for a long period, it is best to avoid wearing makeup, especially a concealer or foundation, which can clog your skin. Instead, try using a light compact powder or a moisturiser with a slight tint.
5. Switch to a Night Routine
If you are using any therapeutic ingredients in your skin routine like vitamins, or medicated skin-care, it is a good idea to use them at night. Using these products before sleep ensures that the products have time to sink into your skin, and have a chance of working effectively, without the presence of the mask.
To Sum It Up:
Let’s face it – this year has underscored the importance of wearing masks to prevent respiratory diseases and they are now inevitable. Skin irritation caused by masks, however, can be avoided with some effort as we have described in the blog. If you have sensitive skin or if your skin issues persist, it is best to consult a dermatologist. Consult a skin expert from the comfort of your home through DocVita.