Maskne: Acne caused by the use of mask

Maskne: Acne caused by the use of mask

Due to excess humidity and increased temperature, the use of a mask can alter the composition of skin lipids, promoting the development of acne on the nose, cheeks, and pear, a phenomenon that has been called maskne, the new acne caused by prolonged use mask.  


The use of a mask is a protective barrier that reduces the chances of contagion of COVID 19 by up to 7%, helping to prevent the transmission of coronavirus from infected to healthy people. The prolonged use of this face shield in some people can “cause acne due to the obstruction generated by the mask, producing an excess of humidity and an increase in the temperature of the covered skin. The mask can also irritate and occlude the outlet duct of the pilosebaceous unit, alter the composition of skin lipids and unbalance the bacterial microflora of the face ”, he indicates.Lybeny Rivera, a dermatologist at Clínica Bupa Reñaca.

Due to the discomfort that maskne can generate in contact with sweat or friction, it is important to know how you can prevent the appearance of this type of acne, acquiring new skincare routines. Next, Dr. Rivera reveals how inflammation of the sebaceous glands can be avoided:

Wash the face with soap substitutes: It is recommended to clean with products called syndet (soaps without soap with a pH similar to that of the skin) and warm water, which clean, but avoid damage to the skin barrier, every day, in the morning and evening. Avoid aggressive exfoliants (mechanical or chemical): Especially on the skin that will be covered by the mask.

Use a non-comedogenic and fragrance-free moisturizer: In the case of oilier skin, the ideal moisturizer should also contain sebum-regulating ingredients. Discontinue or minimize makeup use: Especially thicker, oily makeup. Avoid mismatched masks: Discarding those that are too tight in some areas and produce friction.

Follow the change instructions: According to the type of mask material. Never replace the same mask if it is wet or dirty, if it can be washed, do so with mild detergents or laundry soap.

When to consult a dermatologist?

When maskne appears in highly visible areas such as the nose, lip rim, cheeks, and pear, people often try to cover acne with cosmetic products as a base or improvise with homemade recipes such as toothpaste to dry the sebaceous gland, options that are harmful, as they will only worsen and increase irritation.

“The treatment of acne caused or worsened by the mask will depend on the degree of severity: if it is mild or moderate it can respond to the night use of creams that contain very low concentrations of salicylic acid or antimicrobial and keratolytic agents such as benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, such as adapalene or tretinoin. If it is more severe acne, it will require medical evaluation and probably add systemic therapy such as antibiotics or other drugs “, says the dermatologist of Bupa Reñaca Clinic.

Other effects of prolonged use of a mask that has been detected, especially in professionals who must use this element for long hours, are:

Skin damage:   In areas where the mask puts pressure on the skin, it can cause maceration, erosion, and even ulcers. Contact dermatitis: Both irritative and allergic and secondary skin infections.

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