A doctor explains ‘maskne’ and how to treat it

A doctor explains ‘maskne’ and how to treat it
As masks become part of everyday life, more are noticing painful breakouts on their face. (Source: CNN)

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO/CNN) - As masks become part of everyday life, you may notice that you are suddenly breaking out underneath your mask.

“Maskne,” more formally known as acne mechanica, is popping up as painful pimples on mask wearers everywhere.

“Now, because you’re wearing a mask, you’re kind of confident from here up, but under here, we’re making a breeding ground for more acne,” Dr. Kathy Fields said.

Fields is a San Francisco dermatologist and one of the acne experts behind the Proactiv and Rodan and Fields skincare lines.

Shelby Brown, a registered nurse, says her skin has “just gotten so bad.”

“Especially when we have to wear an N95 and then a surgical mask over, it really kind of keeps everything in there, so it’s almost like a petri dish on your face,” Brown said.

Fields explains that the metal clip and tight fit of the masks create humidity, sweat and changes “in the microbiome” causing bacteria to go “crazy.”

The “maskne,” however, is treatable and preventable.

Fields recommends using a salicylic acid cleanser in the morning and a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide at night.

“Stay on it to stay clear. If you stop using it, the bumps just come right back,” she said.

Fields says that makeup makes it worse and a cotton mask is the best material, but needs to be washed daily.

She also recommends a topical sulfur product. Retinoids, however, should be avoided because it can cause further irritation.

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