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Heard of Maskne? This skin condition is trending. What is it? And how do I prevent it?

March 4th, 2021


By: Dr. Anoob Pakkar-Hull, Aesthetic Consultant and Director at Laila Aesthetics

Dr Sushant Shetty, Consultant in Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics at Laila Aesthetics


In the new normal, the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to practice social distancing and incorporate the use of face masks into our daily lives. Despite playing a crucial part in the protection and safety of all, the repeated use of masks has led many to discover a new problem – “maskne” (acne related to mask wearing).


Acne, is a very common skin condition, but the term “maskne”, named by dermatologists, is old in the health professional’s lexicon, accustomed to the repetitive use of masks. ­­­­As medical aesthetic consultants, the recent rise of Maskne is no surprise to us. In the last year, the term’s popularity skyrocketed as a consequence of the increased use of protective masks. The Google Trends graph below illustrates the trend.


The graph illustrates the Google search volume for the term “Maskne” across the globe in the last 5 years. Graph data gathered from Google Trends.


So how exactly does Maskne occur?


When wearing a mask for a long time, your face ends up becoming moist and hot, causing certain friction on the skin. This ends up creating a humid environment where bacteria can proliferate, altering the natural microbiota of the skin, consequently making room for acne to appear. Typically, mask-related acne is found around the mouth and nose, and usually prevalent in those who wear masks often and for prolonged lengths of time.


So, how do we keep safe while using a mask, but also doing our best to avoid mask-related acne? The good news is that there are many simple steps you can take to avoid and treat “maskne”.


Learn how to avoid and treat Maskne!


To help prevent Maskne here are some tips for you. There are many simple steps you can easily incorporate into your routine.

  • Choice of mask. Give preference to soft fabrics when choosing a mask - amongst them are cotton, silk and surgical material. Ensure that the mask is not tight and hurts your face.

  • Change with frequency. It is worth changing your mask every two to four hours (or when it feels damp). You want to avoid that moisture.

  • Skincare routine. Even those who do not usually have acne need to devote more time and attention to skin care if using masks a lot. Even if you have oily or acne-prone skin, don’t skip moisturizer as it adds a protective layer that can reduce dryness and prevent skin problems.

  • Easy on the makeup. Skip wearing makeup on the area covered by the mask, if possible . If you really can’t do without it, then apply it lightly.

  • Take mask breaks. 15 minutes every couple of hours will do the job.

  • Wash your cloth masks. It’s essential – it helps remove oils and skin cells from inside the mask.


Treating Maskne


The recommended treatment for maskne is the same as treating any other form of acne.


According to the 2018 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NIICE) UK guidelines for the management of patients with mild to moderate acne, a topical retinoid is the first-line treatments option used alone or in combination with topical benzoyl peroxide. My topical retinoid of choice would be Adapalene gel. Adapalene is a 3rd generation topical retinoid which is a prescription only medicine (pom) in the UK.


Other treatment options include chemical peels with Salicylic acid, micro-needling with a Derma stamp using Growth Factors, but these need to be administered by a professional and require a few sessions for optimal results.


To conclude this article, I’d like to say that not wearing a mask is not an option during the pandemic. We must make sure to protect ourselves and others. If you suddenly develop Maskne remember there are many ways to treat it and avoid it.


- End -


If you want to learn more about Maskne, or need any medical aesthetics consultancy feel free to contact me at: drpakkar@lailaaesthetics.co.uk


Full article will be published in the June edition of The American Journal of Aesthetic Medicine (AJAM), and distributed to all members of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM) across the world.


Find out more about the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM) at: https://www.aaamed.org/


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