We frequently treat acne that occurs from friction, also called acne mechanica. Common examples include acne on the chin strap of a football player, folliculitis or acne bumps on bikers thighs biker shorts and friction of the bicycle seat, acne on the forehead due to helmets or wearing a scarf to contain your hair at night, and even acne on the butts of those wearing tight pants or skinny jeans. We are now seeing an uptick in skin conditions from wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID.
Don’t despair, there are plenty options to treat your maskne, it should not prevent you from wearing your mask!
What conditions are happening from the masks?
We are actually seeing predominantly flares of rosacea and perioral dermatitis from masks, probably due to the increased heat of the mask and the propensity of these conditions to flare with heat. However, we are also seeing more rashes and acne from wearing a mask, even in people who do not typically have problems with their skin.
What can I do to stop maskne?
Using some common-sense techniques may lower your chance of maskne. First, try to always wear a clean mask. You can wash cloth masks and even the thin surgical ones can usually be washed gently with soap and water. Also, your face is covered so limit products and makeup under the mask (still wear your moisturizer with spf). Try to wash your face as soon as you get home from wearing the mask most of the day. If you cannot wash your mask, change it out often if possible. A small swipe of alcohol may also help clean your mask.
What should I do if maskne or other rashes occur under my mask?
Go back to basics! Try to use gentle products on your face only. Choose fragrance free products and limit how much you put on your face. If you suffer from rosacea, get a salicylic acid wash and use it once per day, use something very gentle the other time per day. A Fragrance free moisturizer like Cerave can also help. If you are breaking ut with acne, then we recommend using a benzoyl peroxide wash daily. Also use a light fragrance-free moisturizer. If you are very dry, then Vaseline can always act as a barrier and will not hurt when put on cracked skin. If you are not improving with these simple tips then plan to see a board-certified dermatologist and we can prescribe medications topically or orally to help.