Maskne - The new word for acne in 2020 LMMO! (Laughing My Mask Off)
These days, a face mask is part of our wardrobe. We have even started coordinating our outfits to match our masks. Just like our keys and cell phones, we never leave home without one.
What we often don't think about is how much time you spend behind that mask may determine the condition of your skin. Many people are experiencing symptoms such as, itchy, red, and irritated rashy skin. It is a form of dermatitis. John Hopkins University Dermatologists call it “maskne” or “miliaria”. Maskne is mask + acne and is not necessarily related to normal acne. Miliara is a heat rash related to the heat and moisture behind the mask.
While masks are mandatory PPE, we must do diligence with knowing what our masks are made of for our health as well. Dr. Chien, dermatologist from John Hopkins University says some masks have been pretreated with formaldehyde to disinfect them and others have been shown to have traces of formaldehyde in them even if they have not been treated. Always check labels and fabrics for these ingredients and wear masks that do not have these ingredients in them.
Make sure your mask fits properly – Not too tight and no excessive gap. Make sure the metal clip for the nose bridge has padding.
Sneezing, coughing, speaking, and sweating happen inside your mask. Change or wash your mask every day with a gentle non-perfumed detergent and dry in the dryer.
If you experience either maskne or miliaria, use a gentle cleanser, not alcohol or peroxide, to keep your skin clean. Use a non-fragrant moisturizer at night to repair the epidermal barrier. I recommend using extra virgin coconut oil to cleanse at night, followed by warm wet soaks with a clean washcloth to remove the coconut oil. Exfoliate the skin, but do not scrub. Coconut oil is a small medium chain fatty acid so it actually penetrates very well. It reduces inflammation, moisturizes, heals, and has antimicrobial properties. Keep the area dry during the day. If you are required to wear a mask for long periods, excuse yourself to an area where you can lift your mask and get air to your skin.