Here’s how to prevent breakouts from wearing that mask all day

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 12:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Add this to the long list of things we now have to worry about: “Maskne.”

It’s a reality of wearing a face mask on hours on end — irritated skin that breaks out.

“When you have heat and humidity and it’s all occluded under a mask, what happens is it’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and that’ll cause acne,” said Dr. Theresa Devere, chief of dermatology at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii.

Devere said acne related to masks is very common, especially when face coverings are used all day.

And lots of other folks agree.

“Well, I work in a hospital so I use it for long periods of time as well so it just feels really oily and around and breaking out basically where the mask is,” said Angelica Abordonado, of Honolulu.

“Wearing the mask, it just harbors bacteria and from it rubbing on the skin it’s just inflamed all the time,” said Karen Lauro, of Honolulu.

But Devere says there are ways to prevent “maskne,” like using a gentle moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores, as well as a non-soap cleanser.

“That will take away the oils and the dirt, but it won’t cause any dryness to the skin, which is the problem that were seeing,” said Devere.

Make-up can make the problem worse so Devere suggested using tinted moisturizers instead of any heavy, oil-based make-up.

In addition, she recommends using either a cotton mask which you should wash daily or a surgical mask that should not be reused the next day.

And there are simple treatments that include over-the-counter products with a small percentage of benzoyl peroxide or a topical antibiotic.

“You want to use the cleanser, you don’t want to use the benzoyl peroxide that you leave on the skin and the reason is when you leave it on the skin, it creates irritation, dryness and it can also bleach your mask,” said Devere.

It’s also advised that you avoid products with retinoids or salicylic acid.

These are all easy skin care steps, but in the end, wearing a mask right now is still more important than a few pimples. “It’s been pretty bad, but I mean for safety purposes, you know it’s acne or COVID,” said Abordonado.

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