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MASKNE: The new acne

MASKNE: The new acne
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/12/2020 4:58:57 AM IST

 Covid19 has brought with it many challenges and many new normals- such as getting used to the “Odd-Even” traffic rules and the mandatory use of facemasks. 

One of the common problems of using a face mask is “Maskne” or Acne Mechanica- a physical type of breakout that results from excessive heat, friction, rubbing and more. 

It isnot new — sports figures who wear helmets and chin guards are quite familiar with this type of acne. We have tiny hair follicles on our face, chest and back, and wearing any kind of a mask or protective equipment plus the added heat, humidity and sweatthat creates friction and pressure can irritate the hair follicles and result in an acne flare. Covid19 has also been a stressful time for all of us. Stress increases Cortisol- a hormone in our body- which inturn increases sebum production and acne flares.

Healthcare and other front-line workers are most at risk because their masks are tighter-fitting and they wear them for longer periods of time.They may also suffer from contact dermatitis or allergies from the metal or rubber parts of masks and some mask fabrics. 

Maskne shouldn’t keep you from wearing a mask, as they keep you and others safe. These tips can prevent Maskne-

• Many of us apply too many beauty products, dubbed the “Korean skin care regimen” such as layering skincare products. Adopt the most basic skin care routine: a gentle non-soap cleanser with mild AHA/BHA ingredients, a lightweight sunscreen and a lightweight, fragrance-free moisturizer, preferably with skin calming properties.

• Avoid scrubs/washcloths/ face cleansing instruments. Those are things you really don't want to be using because they're going to damage the skin barrier and make your acne worse.

• Face masks should be washed and completely sun-driedafter every use/everyday. It is a good idea to keep atleast 2 face masks which one can wash and use on rotational basis. For the general public, cotton masks are preferred as they allow the skin to breathe.Frontline workers need to use N95 masks and follow government approved guidelines.

• Consider mask wearing a good excuse to tone down makeup. Makeup underneath your mask will lead to more pore clogging. The author is of the opinion that heavy makeup during Covid19 times runs an unnecessary expense as makeup cannot be appreciated underneath the masks anyway.

If your acne continues to persist despite preventive measures and use of over-the-counter acne products, a visit to your local dermatologist (skin specialist) may prove helpful.

Dr. Kindy S. Newmai, Consultant Dermatologist, Olive Christian Hospital and Research Centre (2 ½ mile)

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