Let's face it: for those of us currently working from home, full makeup has become totally unnecessary - but despite giving our skin a much-needed break right now, acne can still be an issue (hello stress!).
However, it's not just the added anxiety of the current situation that could give us new friends on our face.
If you diligently wear your mask every time you leave the house and have noticed a few extra pimples in those specific areas (the bridge of your nose, your cheeks and your chin) you may be experiencing what dermatologists call "maskne".
What exactly is "Mask-né" and why does it occur?
Mask-ne is technically called mechanical acne.
IMPORTANT: Skin irritation from the face mask is a real thing.
Here's what dermatologists advise you to do.
Before the pandemic, this form of facial irritation was experienced primarily by athletes, "usually from sweat, heat and friction in their helmets and straps," Dr. Saedi explains. "We're seeing it more now with people wearing masks for an extended period of time." Dr. Suozzi adds that you also get an "acne" mechanism in the armpits or hands when using crutches.
Overall, mask-ne - and often mechanical acne in general - is triggered by clogged pores from sweat, oil and makeup.
For masks in particular, breathing for hours with the mask on creates moisture and forms a breeding ground for acne.
Rubbing the mask can also block and clog pores, causing blackheads to form.
How to prevent and treat "maskne"?
If you wear a cloth mask, wash it daily. If you wear a disposable mask, try to replace it as often as possible or let it air out between uses. You can also apply silicone gel strips to the pressure points of the mask to help prevent skin irritation.
If you start to develop "maskne", be gentle with your skin, i.e. take time for yourself and your skin. People may be overdoing it at home with face masks, scrubs, washes and toners, these excessive skin care treatments can compromise your skin's protective barrier. Instead, wash your face with a gentle salicylic acid cleanser to help unclog pores.
For post-wash hydration, look for products containing hyaluronic acid. You can also "help build a healthy barrier" between the mask and your skin by using a facial cleanser and ceramide cream.
You can also use the red light of the KILBURN LED mask to help calm irritation caused by friction.
And while wearing your mask in public now is essential - especially in social settings where physical distance is difficult to maintain - don't forget that you can (and should!) take the mask off and give your face a much-needed breather when you're away from others, such as at home (as long as you're not caring for anyone who's sick) and while driving your car.