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‘Maskne’: Why your mask is causing breakouts and how to prevent it

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 6:39 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -

Local health departments continue to recommend people wear face coverings.

While the masks slow the spread of COVID-19 they also can cause acne... now dubbed ‘Maskne.'

Experts say there are a number of different factors that contribute to breakouts.

“It turns out the masks actually increase those factors such as moisture with masks goes up and that interferes with the normal microbiome of the skin,” said Dr. Atif Ahmed, a Gundersen dermatologist.

Additionally, the friction of the mask can lead to acne--similar to an athlete wearing a chin strap.

There are also certain bacterias in the skin that causes blemishes.

“With the increased moisture, we’re seeing that bacteria actually gets a leg up and proliferates even further,” Ahmed said.

Gundersen has seen an increase in acne forming around the mouth as well as flares of Rosacea and other skin conditions.

Dermatologists say it isn’t just the face coverings that’s causing the acne, but also how the pandemic is affecting mental health.

“There’s added stress from the current situation the pandemic, the uncertainty of the virus, the financial stressors, so that also is contributing to the acne,” Ahmed

Doctors say not to stop wearing masks, but instead they have other recommendations.

“One--wash your masks regularly if its a cloth mask because the bacteria grows in a mask that hasn’t been washed,” Ahmed explained. “Two-- it helps to use a gentle facial cleanser maybe once or twice a day to open up those pores.”

Dermatologists also recommend over-the-counter acne medication, as well as wearing non-comedogenic makeup.

While some like to leave masks in the sunlight to kill the virus, experts don’t suggest it.

“We use a lot of skincare products like sunscreens, moisturizers and those build up in the mask and the sunlight really does not help that,” Ahmed added.

Additionally, its not advised to wear a mask that is soiled in sweat, but instead to switch to a new one.

Those with questions are encouraged to contact their primary physician.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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