Wearing a face mask for too long can lead to skin breakout: Here's what one can do to avoid 'maskne'
When you wear a facemask for a long period of time, the face gets covered with a lot of sweat.
After the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, across the globe, big firms such as the World Health Organisation had made recommendations for social distancing and wearing of masks and most governments had made these mandatory. While these measures are the need of the hour, they bear some side effects along with them. Wearing masks for long periods of time had already been associated with breathing issues. However, now a new side effect, called ‘maskne’, is being reported by some people.
What is 'maskne'?
Firstly, 'maskne' is not a medical term. It has been coined recently to refer to the acne being caused by prolonged wearing of facemasks. People who wear masks for too long, such as healthcare workers, media professionals or shopkeepers who deal with the general public all day long, tend to get sweaty under their masks. This leads to the formation of acne on their skin, which is being called 'maskne'.
What causes 'maskne'?
Sebaceous glands are present on the surface of our skin. They release sebum, which is necessary to provide the skin with moisture and protection. When these glands get over-stimulated, they produce excess sebum which restrains the shedding of skin cells. These skin cells then block the hair follicles, trapping the sebum in. The blocked pores lead to the growth of bacteria, causing acne.
When you wear a facemask for a long period of time, the face gets covered with a lot of sweat. This sweat and heat along with the friction created by the maks can lead to clogging of pores. Moreover, the sweat that stays on the skin for long, allows the growth of acne-causing bacteria as damp environments promote bacterial growth.
How can you avoid getting 'maskne'?
You can prevent such acne breakout by practising the following:
1. Choose your facemask: You must use a 100% pure cotton mask as it allows the skin to breathe even while the mask is on.
2. Wash your mask: You must wash and clean your facemask regularly as this is recommended to prevent COVID-19 and because the oil and dirt from your face can stay on the mask if you don't.
3. Take care of your skin: Wash your face with a mild cleanser twice daily. Apply an oil-free moisturizer on your face to keep your skin hydrated. Apply vitamin C during the day and retinol-rich face products at night to improve your skin health.
4. Let your skin breathe: If you are staying home, use the mask-free time wisely and try to not apply too much makeup as it would clog your pores, which can lead to acne.
5. Eat healthy: Try to avoid oily or spicy food items as they can make you sweat more, thus making your skin prone to acne.
6. Keep your hands off your face: Do not touch your face frequently, as you might contaminate your face with not only possible bacteria and viruses present on your hands but also oil and dirt that can lead to your pores becoming clogged.
For more information, read our article on Pimples (acne).
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