Maskne: prevention and cure

A woman inspects acne on her face, caused by wearing a mask.
A woman inspects acne on her face, caused by wearing a mask. / FOTOLIA
  • Skin care

  • Pharmacists tell us what it is, how it forms and offer advice on how to avoid factors that aggravate it

For some time now face masks have been used - and are obligatory - to stop the spread of coronavirus infection. We put them on to go outside, do the shopping, pick the children up from school or even during a long working day. However, prolonged use can sometimes have an effect on our facial skin.

We're talking about 'maskne', the appearance of acne caused by friction and dampness under the mask. We asked the College of Pharmacists of Almeria exactly what maskne is, how to treat it, and for some advice to stop it happening.

Their answers are below.

1. What exactly is 'maskne'?

It's the word that is being used to describe the appearance of acne in the area of the chin, mouth or cheeks, caused by the continued use of face masks. It comes from 'mask' and 'acne'. In Spanish it is known as 'maskné', with an accent on the final letter.

2 Why does maskne occur?

Sources at the Official College of Pharmacists of Almeria say that it happens because of "the increase in sebum production and bacterial proliferation, due to friction, dampness, heat and perspiration under the mask".

3 How can maskne be treated?

There are four general recommendations to bear in mind:

-Clean the skin with mild soap in the morning, before leaving home, and double-clean at night.

-Apply anti-acne lotions.

-Hydrate the skin with light emulsions "to maintain the balance of the skin barrier".

-Apply a sebum-regulating mask once or twice a week.

4 Advice to prevent maskne

-Avoid wearing any makeup under your face mask as much as possible.

-Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen (which does not block or obstruct the pores).

-Replace the mask in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions (or before if it gets damp).

-If the maskne doesn't disappear, these experts say it is advisable to consult a dermatologist.