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Maskne: What is it and how can you avoid it

Carilion Clinic dermatologist explains why your mask may cause acne

ROANOKE, Va. – Maskne is the new term people are calling the acne they’ve been getting from wearing masks

It’s something dermatologists in the Roanoke Valley are seeing, but tell 10 News it’s nothing new.

The technical term is acne mechanica — a fancy way of saying acne caused by something constantly rubbing against your skin and in this case it’s your mask.

Dr. Padma Chitnavis, a dermatologist for Carilion Clinic, said you can get it from a phone or even a football helmet, so it’s no surprise people are seeing acne from wearing their masks.

Some people are just more prone to acne than others. Dr. Chitnavis said while wearing a mask right now is more important than a few pimples, there are ways to prevent mask acne.

Here is what Dr. Chitnavis suggests adding to your daily routine:

  • Make sure your mask is clean and comfortable before you put it on
  • Wash your face at least twice a day
  • Keep up with your regular skin-cleansing routine
  • If you have a prescribed skin treatment, continue using it

Another pointer, moisturize.

“Making sure you’re moisturizing with a light moisturizing lotion and that can provide a little protection to the skin barrier. Moisturizers that have an ingredient called ceramide. It can protect the integrity of the skin making it a little less likely for small skin breaks to occur and bacteria to be introduced,” said Dr. Chitnavis

Knowing your skin and what irritates it is a plus. Sometimes it’s as simple as the material your mask is made of and how it rubs on your skin, so pick the right mask for you.

“Masks that are made from cotton tend to be a little more breathable not an option for some of us in the health care profession but at home a cloth mask or an athletic type fabric can often be little more comfortable and breathable and less likely to aggravate your skin,” Dr. Chitnavis said.

If your mask acne or acne mechanica is getting to the point where it is impacting your self-esteem, painful or starting to scar, that’s when Dr. Chitnavis suggests you see a dermatologist. But it is treatable from home.

Dr. Chitnavis recommends using over-the-counter skin treatment that has adapalene (Vitamin A derivative), salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. He does not suggest you use all three together can be irritating to your skin so use one or the other. You can use any of the three as a spa treatment or as a full face treatment depending on the form it’s in.

For more about Carilion Clinic dermatology, click here.


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