Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to adapt to a number of things. One major factor amongst this is wearing masks.
Before, it was limited to a few professions where people had to keep their nose and mouth covered for a long time. However, with the onset of COVID, every individual has had to wear masks for a prolonged period.
This activity comes with its fair share of problems. Some problems are habitual. Like it is annoying to wear a mask, it smudges your make-up, and wearing a mask could feel suffocating.
But, there are other physiological problems that arise from wearing a mask - like maskne, or mask related acne.
Table of Contents:
- Is maskne just a form of acne?
- Irritating contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis
- What are the causes of maskne?
- What are effective maskne treatment techniques you can rely on?
- Wear breathable masks with the right fit
- Maintain mask hygiene
- Clean and exfoliate your skin
- Use a face pack
- Use a petroleum jelly lip balm
- Let your skin breathe
- Avoid heavy make-up
Is maskne just a form of acne?
Maskne is not just acne. There are various skin problems you could face due to wearing masks.
This will depend on your skin type, the environmental conditions, and the personal hygiene you maintain.
However, if you are conscious about these and take action, many maskne treatment techniques are available that can effectively heal the problem.
Maskne may result from one or more of these issues:
Acne is a result of clogged pores. It may be dirt, dead skin cells or oil that has accumulated in your skin pores and inflamed it. This, causes blackheads, whiteheads or pimples. If your skin tends to break out in acne, you are more prone to having maskne.
Irritating contact dermatitis
This is a condition you may face if your skin is allergic to the material of your mask. Your skin reacts to the fabric your mask is made out of and results in red rashes, blisters and irritation of skin. This usually affects the bridge of your nose, and your cheeks. It is brought about by using a mask for more than 6 hours at a stretch and may adversely affect people who already have a skin condition. The symptoms may be red patches, dry peeling skin or even blisters.
Rosacea is a skin problem in which the skin around your nose, forehead and cheeks flares up resulting in small pus-filled red-colored bumps all over the affected areas. Depending on your skin history, this problem may come and go in cycles and get aggravated by wearing masks.
Urticaria is a severe allergic reaction. In some people, this is observed as a side effect of using certain types of masks. In this case, you will experience red blisters that may itch a lot or even swell up. Normally, the reaction will be immediate, but in some cases, it could crop up within a day of using the mask. If you experience heavy swelling or itchiness, it is best to consult your nearest dermatologist immediately.
This is a skin condition which is generally categorized as eczema. It is an inflammation of certain parts of the skin which results in redness and itchiness in those areas. Eczema develops during childhood and can get aggravated by wearing masks for a long period.
This is a type of eczema where the person develops oily yellow scaling along their skin. It mainly affects the folds of the lips and nose, eyebrows, forehead and scalp.
Folliculitis is a skin infection that arises from the follicles of your hair. It is the inflammation of the follicles that could result in lumps which look like acne. Due to the infection, you may experience pain as well as itchiness of the area.
What are the causes of maskne?
According to dermatologists, maskne or a exterior face or head cover related skin problem, is not a new phenomenon. With the pandemic and term 'maskne' has gained a lot of attention, since every individual in the world has started wearing masks now.
They have started to notice these skin problems. Earlier, it has been observed with construction workers, medical health professionals, and even sportsmen, who have to wear face and head coverings for a long time.
This skin break-out is noticed along the forehead, cheeks, bridge of your nose, chin and ears. These are positions where the helmet, mask or respiratory gear worn by the professional constantly rubs against the skin of the wearer. This results in the skin of these areas getting inflamed, irritated and trapping sweat, bacteria and oil in its pores.
It is also seen that people with facial hair, like a thick moustache or beard are more prone to getting maskne. This is because having a thick layer of facial hair makes you sweat more and results in your skin pores clogging faster.
When you are wearing a mask, the inside of the mask becomes a hot and humid place. Usually when you are talking and breathing you are exhaling warm air, thus creating an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive. This increases the tendency of the skin to absorb excess oil, lose hydration and flare up with acne and other skin conditions.
What are effective maskne treatment techniques you can rely on?
Yes, you read it right!
There are maskne treatment techniques that you can carry out at home. Taking care of your skin is of utmost importance and it is not just external.
To make sure you have happy and glowing skin you have to eat, drink and live a healthy lifestyle. This is a key requirement to keep skin problems at bay.
When it comes to something you can incorporate in your daily life - you can avoid maskne by following a simple skin care and mask care routine.
Read on to find out all that you can do:
Wear breathable masks with the right fit
Yes, it is a struggle, but it is non-negotiable to wear a mask in the 'new normal' pandemic times we live in.
However, to safeguard our skin, we can select a suitable mask for our skin type. It is not always necessary that we match our masks with our clothes.
Yes, many brands offer matching masks with their dresses, but it is a gimmick that you can definitely avoid. Synthetic fabrics like polyesters, rayons or nylons can cause irritation of the skin.
Select a fabric that is breathable, like soft cotton. Also ensure that the fit of the mask is right for your face.
There are masks available with adjustable ear or head straps. Choose the ones that fit snugly. Having it too loose does not offer enough protection against the virus and having it too tight is harmful to your skin.
Maintain mask hygiene
Keeping your masks clean is one of the most important things you can do to prevent maskne.
Most health care experts suggest to wash cloth masks after every use. Washing the masks helps in removing dead skin cells, oils, make-up, dirt and even food particles that has settled inside and outside the mask.
If these are left without cleaning, it could potentially result in creating a skin problem.
You can hand wash or machine wash the masks. Read the care instructions on the mask before washing them.
It is best to use a non-fragrant mild detergent. Heavy detergents may leave traces or even damage the fabric of your mask. It is good to use warm or hot water to remove any germs from the masks.
Clean and exfoliate your skin
If you have a beard or moustache, take some time to thoroughly clean around that. Scrub effectively and clean with water generously after you are done.
The product you use should be mild and not consist of any harmful chemicals.
So, when you use a product like the Wow Skin Science Aloe Vera Face Wash With Brush you are doing your skin a huge favor!
Not only is it gentle on your skin, but also acts as an amazing hydrant. The brush that comes with the face wash helps you to reach deep inside the pores and clean it effectively. It will surely make your skin feel bouncy and fresh.
Use a face pack
Face packs are quite beneficial for your skin. They help in improving the look of the skin pores, extracting impurities, removing extra oil, moisturizing, hydrating and also reducing ageing signs from your skin.
Using Wow Skin Science Activated Charcoal Face Mask effectively cleans out any germs that may have been hiding in your skin pores. This will leave your face glowing and completely free of any harmful elements.
With the deep cleaning that can be achieved using a face mask, maskne can be effectively reduced and eventually eliminated.
Moisturizing is a great way to rehydrate your skin cells. You will not have dray flaky skin by using a moisturizer daily.
Skin care experts suggest that moisturizing your skin can help to avoid friction between the skin cells and the mask surface, thus, reducing the chances of causing maskne.
Do you have oily skin and feel that moisturizing will make it even more susceptible to acne?
Well, using a gel-based moisturizer will help you avoid this. Using a product like the Wow Skin Science Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel is absolutely safe. It not only nourishes your skin, keeping it tight and firm, but also acts as an effective barrier against skin oiliness and dryness.
Use a petroleum jelly lip balm
Stay covered and constantly combating friction with the mask surface can result in chapped lips. You may notice blemishes, redness and blisters around your lips, which is a direct result of skin dryness.
It is advisable to use a petroleum jelly based lip balm 6 to 7 times a day. You can also apply it generously before you go to sleep.
Let your skin breathe
When in-doors, you can take off your mask and massage your face every 3-4 hours. This helps in increasing blood circulation around the areas that have been taking the pressure of holding the mask on your face.
In this way, you can let your skin breathe, rehydrate and feel fresh. This goes a long way to avoid pore clogging and having dry patches.
Personally, I experienced this in the initial phase of the pandemic. Since I was not used to wearing masks, and going about my daily activities, it resulted in my drinking less water, especially, when I was in public. It is must to keep yourself hydrated. Because your skin will stay fresh and problem free when your body is healthy.
Avoid heavy make-up
If you are facing maskne, it is good to avoid heavy make-up. Unless it is absolutely necessary for you in your profession, do not wear heavy make-up.
This will help in making the healing process faster. Usually products like heavy creams, concealers, foundations and make-up products that have harmful chemicals are a big no-no if your skin tends to break-out.
Although maskne is a real condition, ditching the mask is not the solution. Surely, it is annoying to wear a mask, but it is still your first step of precaution when battling the spread of COVID-19.
Now that you have the ammunition to fight maskne, keep yourself and your peers safe by wearing a mask when you step out of your homes.
Nevertheless, if you have tried these remedial actions and have still not found a difference in your skin outbreak, please consult a dermatologist immediately. Some conditions can be severe and need prompt professional medical attention.
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