The 3 Things You Need to Prevent Maskne, According to a Dermatologist

Melissa Matthews
Photo credit: Lasse Kristensen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Lasse Kristensen - Getty Images

From Men's Health

Wearing a fabric face mask reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19, but it increases your chances of getting "maskne." If you experience more closed comedones, blackheads, or pimples you're definitely not alone, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York-based dermatologist.

Acne occurs when oil gets trapped inside your hair follicles, which are essentially like pipes, explains Dr. Zeichner. Those pipes become blocked with oil and dirt for a variety of reasons—including inflammation. Masks not only trap dirty and. oil, but they also cause inflammation. This build up allows acne causing bacteria to grow, which in turn, causes more inflammation.

But you can prevent mask-related acne with the right approach. Here's how:

Choose the Right Fabric Face Mask

The type of mask you wear can increase inflammation, says Dr. Zeichner.

"I typically recommend natural fibers because they're gentler on the skin," he says. Dr. Zeichner recommends performance masks made of moisture-wicking material if you wear them while working out.

Of course, you'll want to wash your mask regularly. It's helpful to have several masks so you're not constantly washing the same covering, says Dr. Zeichner.

"If it [the mask] has any visible soiling or sweat or dirt, it should be washed. I would look at your mask the way you look at a pair of socks," he says.

Buy the Right Detergent

Sure, that mountain fragrance makes your gym clothes feel fresh, but it could wreck your skin, says Dr. Zeichner.

"The mask is different than a t-shirt—it’s tight fitting directly against the skin, making it more likely you’ll develop an allergy," says Dr. Zeichner. Red bumps caused by an allergy can be mistaken as acne, he says. Look for a dye and fragrance-free detergent since it's less likely to irritate your skin.

Adopt the Right Skincare Routine

If you want to prevent acne, you'll need to put in a bit of effort, says. Dr. Zeichner. He's what he recommends.

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