MCO : Breakouts of Acne

The most ubiquitous manifestation of the "New Normal" practised around the globe during this pandemic is the wearing of face masks. Not the luxurious, silky variety used during an invigorating spa session, but those blue and white ones. Go out in public without one, and you'll earn disapproving looks from others.

But many people have started noticing that their skin is not as pristine as how it used to be. This could be due to various factors like stress induced, viral food trend induced, Netflix marathon induced, but has it ever crossed your mind, that it might be due to your mask?

How does your mask cause breakouts, and how can we identify this "maskne"?
"Maskne" is the whiteheads, blackheads and pustules that appear along the outline and areas that are covered by your mask.

Technically, the acne which you might be experiencing is known as acne mechanica, and it is simply due to friction from the long hours of wearing your mask. Your skin gets irritated from constant pressure and friction, and this disrupts your skin barrier, making it more vulnerable to inflammation when it is combined with the bacteria and also excessive sebum that builds up from the heat and humidity caused by long hours of having your mask on.

So should you stop wearing a mask?

No, absolutely not. Remember,  mask wearing is recommended by the World Health Organisation to halt this pandemic, so here are some preventive steps which you can practise to prevent and treat your "maskne":

Remember to change your disposable mask frequently as soon as it is damp.

For reusable cloth/silk masks, remember to wash and dry them daily.

Avoid using heavy face oils, creams or makeup if you are wearing your mask for a long time. Choose light, oil free moisturisers and sunscreen.

Avoid creamy lipsticks that can transfer oily residue to your face.

Play up your eyes with eye makeup since that is the only feature that will be visible behind your mask.

After removing your mask, cleanse your skin with a soothing cleanser.

Look for skincare products containing anti-inflammatory ingredients like salicylic acid or Zinc and niacinamide if you start to see signs of breakouts. Boost your skin's protective barrier with ingredients like ceramides, glycerin and squalene.

Always remember to hydrate your skin well at night.

Treat your skin with the best serums at night and wake up with refreshed skin.  Once a week, pamper your skin with a luxurious mask..the type we ladies used to be more acquainted with before this pandemic!

Remember, do not skip wearing a protective face mask just because you're worried about getting "maskne"!

By Dr.Arzhealza (Anna Hoo Clinic)