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‘Maskne’: what it is, and how to prevent it

How to solve a uniquely COVID-19-era problem
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ANDREA ZHAO/THE VARSITY
ANDREA ZHAO/THE VARSITY

‘Maskne’ is probably not a word you’ve heard a lot, but it describes an issue I’m sure you’re familiar with. Maskne is described as the formation of acne in areas of your face where your mask covers — unless you don’t wear your mask properly, in which case you are the embodiment of everything wrong with society.

Masks essentially trap in heat and moisture from your mouth, which can lead to pores becoming congested — causing acne. Masks can also create a lot of friction on your face, irritating your skin and causing acne in the process. Of course, maskne is preventable as long as you follow a few steps.

Mask maintenance is key

Think about it like this: you’re going to wear a mask for a long time — seemingly forever at this point — so investing in a mask made with good material goes a long way. Dermatologists believe masks made of 100 per cent cotton allow for better ventilation of your skin. Moreover, washing your mask after each use is important to clear out all the unwanted particles that linger in the fabric and can clog your pores during prolonged wear.

Keep a skincare routine

This next tip is one you should also be following in general — but don’t fret; it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin. Washing your face with a skin cleanser and an exfoliant product is a great way of clearing out the oil and dirt that builds up on your face after a long day — even if you aren’t wearing a mask! I recommend using a gentle cleanser, even if you don’t have sensitive skin. 

Secondly, consider using a moisturizer to offset the irritation masks can do to your face. Moisturizers keep your skin hydrated, preventing itching and irritation.

In summary, your health is important now more than ever. Wearing a mask is important — indoors and outdoors — but make sure to keep yourself comfortable while keeping others safe. A good skincare routine goes a long way, but wearing a mask can take us even further.