Whether you’re on a grocery store run, or an essential healthcare worker wearing protective gear for hours on end (thank you!), you may be noticing a skin reaction known as mask acne, or “maskne,” that could look like redness, irritation, or pimples around your cheeks, mouth and jawline. Since masks are necessary in the effort to reduce the spread of C-19, the only thing we can do to give our skin some well-deserved relief is to follow these guidelines suggested by a few of our board-certified dermatologists.

But first, WHAT IS ‘MASK-NE’?
Mask-ne is a new term that refers to the acne, skin irritation and redness that is caused from wearing a face mask. “Acne that occurs under the face mask results from pressure of the mask on the skin,’ said Dr. Jessica Riley, a West Derm board-certified dermatologist. “This process clogs pores and creates a unique environment for bacteria to flourish.” To say ‘Goodbye’ to pesky mask-ne, try some of these tips below:

Make sure you’re choosing your daily mask wisely. Pay extra close attention to the material / fabric that it’s made from because this could be an indicator of how likely you are to develop mask-ne. Choosing a more breathable fabric, like 100% cotton, will lessen the chance of sweating as much and trapping unwanted oil and bacteria, which can cause breakouts. Also make sure to regularly clean your mask with hot water and air or tumble dry.

Makeup can always be a potential skin irritant, depending on your skin type. But adding in another factor, like a face mask, can cause even more irritation because it traps oxygen and doesn’t allow the skin to properly breathe. “There’s really no need to wear lower face make-up under a mask,” said Dr. Mitchel Goldman, West Derm Medical Director. “Give your skin a breather and just apply to your eyes.” This will also help your makeup supply last longer. Why waste makeup under your mask when no one can see it anyways, right?

Now is a great time to simplify your skincare routine and go back to basics. Air flow is restricted under that mask and causes stagnant air, which creates the perfect recipe for sweat and oil to clog up your pores and cause acne. For that reason, it’s still important to cleanse & protect your skin barrier with cleanser and moisturizer. “To cleanse the skin, use a fragrance-free, gentle cleanser or micellar solution,” said Dr. Riley. “And when choosing a moisturizer, make sure it is ‘non-comedogenic’, meaning it will not further clog pores.” You can also incorporate some acne treatment specific products as well. 'If trying to treat your acne at home, avoid topical steroid creams as this can thin the skin, promote new blood vessels and cause acne breakouts," said Dr Goldman. We recommend our West Derm 4-Step Acne Treatment Kit, with proven acne-fighting ingredients.

We can’t preach this enough, and this is always our #1 tip! Make sure you are still wearing sunscreen all over your face because sun rays can still get past the mask fabric. Pay extra close attention to the exposed skin on your forehead and around the mask. Always wear an SPF of 50 or higher and try to wear added layers of protection when out in the sun, like sunglasses and a hat. Take it from us, you probably want to avoid getting funny looking tan lines of a mask outline on your face. Just sayin’! ;) Check out our favorite sunscreens available to ship directly to you here.

If you’re still experiencing maske and irritation after following the above tips, or have any questions, give us a call and make your appointment today. Our board-certified dermatologists can assist you with putting together a specialized skincare regime specific to your skincare needs.

Yours in good health and happiness, 
Your West Dermatology Team
Rachelle Riley