Could your face mask be causing your acne?

By Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

09-Nov-20 4 mins read

Many people are experiencing redness, spots and a worsening of acne symptoms due to wearing a face mask or covering - a condition dubbed 'maskne'.

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Spot of bother

Face masks can actually cause a variety of skin problems, the most common being mask acne, Dr Maruthappu says. 'Masks create a warm and humid environment underneath them which traps moisture and sebum', she explains.

'This can aggravate pre-existing acne or cause new breakouts by clogging pores. These pores become inflamed leading to the classical red tender acne lesion. Maskne typically occurs around the mouth and nose area but can also affect the jawline.'

The cause of maskne is no different to the cause of any other acne. Acne is caused by excess oil on the skin combined with a blockage in the pores. Excess oil production combined with blockage of hair follicles/sebaceous glands, or oil glands, and overgrowth of the bacterium propionibacterium acne causes spots, Dr Maruthappu explains. 'It can be exacerbated by stress, hormonal factors and medications.' Masks can also cause irritation in tight areas, such as across the nose, dry skin and redness. 'This can be worse if you have underlying skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea. In such cases it is important to use a rich barrier moisturiser before wearing your mask', Dr Maruthappu adds.

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