Staying safe and considering others’ safety has become important in today’s world as we continue our fight against COVID-19. But even the most basic and necessary safety precautions can come with some annoying but manageable side effects. As we know, masks play an essential role in reducing the spread of coronavirus. Almost in every part of the world affected by Covid-19, it has become mandatory to wear masks when you step out to the public. However, masks can be hard on the skin, causing problems including acne, rashes, itchiness, and peeling of the skin.

What is Maskne?

A new term that has emerged from the pandemic, maskne, describes the acne or breakouts that occur under our masks. Occlusion of the pores, with the mask resting against our sensitive facial skin for long hours, combined with continued oil production in this normally oily area, and our hot breath raising the sweat and humidity under our mask – all these factors create the ideal environment for acne to pop out, resulting in maskne.

Here are a few tips for you to help prevent maskne and other skin problems from developing under your mask.

Wash your face religiously.

Follow a proper cleansing routine to prevent maskne before it even starts. Clean your skin before you put on your mask and as soon as you remove it. Since this may mean washing your face more often, choose a non-comedogenic, gentle cleanser that won’t strip or dry out your skin.

Add some gentle exfoliation.

Practice mild exfoliation to keep your skin in its most optimal state. However, don’t overdo exfoliation as it will backfire and leave your skin barrier prone to bacteria and irritation. So, if you are wearing masks,  minimize the use of stronger products like benzoyl peroxide and retinol.

Avoid harsh products on the skin.

Wearing a mask can make your skin sensitive. Hence, avoid trying new skin-care products or harsh products like a chemical peel, exfoliant, or retinoid for the first time as this may trigger acne.

Skip the makeup when wearing a mask.

Under the mask, heavy makeup is more likely to clog your pores and lead to more breakouts. If makeup is inevitable, use only non-comedogenic products.

Wear the right mask

To reduce the occurrence of skin problems, look for masks with the following features:

  • A snug but comfortable fit – If the mask is too tight or slides around on your face, it can irritate your skin.
  • At least two layers of fabric
  • Soft, natural, and breathable fabric – Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and rayon on the layer that rests against your skin.

Take a 15-minute mask break every 4 hours. 

Taking a short break in-between can help save your skin. Remember to remove your mask when it’s safe and after washing your hands.

Wash your cloth masks after each use

Washing your cloth mask after every use is important to remove oils and skin cells that collect inside the mask, which could lead to breakouts.

Sometimes, in your busy schedule, you may find it hard to care for your skin as planned.  If any skin problems develop, understand its cause; what you may think is maskne can be something different – like a rash, a cold sore, or hormonal acne. Visit your dermatologist first and get the best recommendations to take care of the skin.

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