Why wearing a mask can be bad for your skin

Avoid getting Mask-ne

Acne mechanica is a type of acne that occurs due to friction and pressure on the skin. This type of acne breakout can happen when the skin is rubbed, squeezed, or stretched. While acne mechanica can occur as a complication of preexisting acne, it can also occur on its own without the presence of an underlying outbreak.

Wearing a mask causes unnecessary friction on your face. As you would know if you have sensitive skin, the smallest amount of friction can lead to flare ups. A mask does not provide adequate ventilation for your pores to breathe. This leads to clogged pores which can lead to acne flare-ups.

Webmd has reported that people who were not prone to Acne breakouts are now complaining of inflamed skin due to wearing of masks.

Prior to the pandemic, this form of facial irritation was primarily experienced by athletes, “commonly due to the sweat, heat, and friction in their helmets and straps,” Dr. Saedi explains. “We are seeing it more now with people wearing masks for an extended period of time.” Dr Suozzi adds that you also get acne mechanica in your armpits from using crutches. 

Overall, Dr. Saedi explains that maskne—and often, acne mechanica in general—is triggered by pores being blocked by sweat, oil, and makeup. For masks in particular, “while breathing for hours with the mask on, it creates humidity to [form] a breeding ground for acne,” she explains. The friction of the mask can also block and clog pores, leading to the formation of comedones or blackheads, says Dr. Suozzi.

How to avoid getting Mask-ne

If your skins shows signs of Mask-ne, go gentle on your skin. Get the softest most comfortable and breathable masks that you can find and afford. Even then, change your mask often. Putting on a clean mask gives your skin a better chance to breathe and does not allow bad bacteria to breed.

“People might be overdoing it at home with face masks, scrubs, washes, and toners,” says Dr. Suozzi, who adds overdoing skincare right now can compromise your skin’s protective barrier. Instead, wash your face with a gentle cleanser, says Dr. Saedi. 

Try out the Acne.org.za gentle cleanser, formulated with cucumber extracts to help soothe inflamed skin.

Natural Fruit Extracts such as Lemon, Orange and Bilberry that contains natural alphalpha-hydroxyds to gently exfoliate the skin.

This cleanser is specifically tailored for people with acne-prone skin. It gently exfoliates the skin and helps retain moisture while supporting the growth of probiotics to balance and restore the health of your skin.

While it is essential to continue wearing your mask in public, taking off your mask regularly, when safe to do so, is beneficial for the health of your skin.

Here’s to healthy and clear skin for everyone!

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