Share on Pinterest
From “maskne” to rosacea, there are a few different ways wearing a face mask may be irritating your skin, but there are steps you can take to prevent or treat it. Getty Images
  • Wearing a mask frequently can cause “maskne,” acne that is caused because the mask traps dirt and oil in pores.
  • Mask wearing can also cause skin conditions such as miliaria and rosacea.
  • Emollient, moisturizer, and prescription medications can help control maskne.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date.

As more places begin to open up, and wearing masks becomes routine, your skin may develop “maskne,” a term used to describe acne in the area a mask is worn.

“[Maskne] is a play on the ‘derm-urban dictionary’ term ‘backne’ (back acne), newly coined for our novel COVID-19 face mask era. Chestne (chest acne) is a previous play on the infamous term backne, as well,” , dermatologist and president of Amarte Skin Care, told Healthline.

体育投注网址He said a similar acne response is often common with helmet straps and seen in acne-prone football players and cyclists.

体育投注网址“It is also similar to what we see with wearing thick makeup in dancers/actors (aka acne cosmetics),” , professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, told Healthline.

Friedman said he is personally experiencing maskne due to wearing a mask every day, all day while seeing patients.

“The most common issue is facial redness in the geometric distribution of the mask, with the greatest prominence at the border, so people get a lovely oval red outline. These areas are usually tender to the touch and any cream/lotion one would apply stings, as the skin barrier has been disrupted and in the setting of inflammation, the sensory nerves are hypersensitive to external stimuli,” he said.

, which states that cleaning cloth masks in the washing machine is sufficient.

“Certainly, the buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and other debris can be irritating to the skin among other things. More importantly is external exposures (i.e., particulate matter that hits the outside of the mask, which is protecting you. This needs to be cleaned,” said Friedman.

Use prescription medications

For more moderate to severe exacerbations, there are prescription medications your dermatologist can prescribe via telehealth, if on-site visits are restricted.

Friedman said ignoring conditions can lead to more severe skin problems.

“Persistent irritant contact dermatitis increases the risk for skin infection, and constant rubbing and irritation can elicit a herpes cold sore outbreak in those that get them, but I do not see this being the biggest and most persistent issue. Chronic inflammation can lead to long-standing skin discoloration, called post-inflammatory pigment alteration, especially in darker-skinned individuals. We have some, but no amazing treatments for this disfiguring outcome, which can be quite disabling,” he said.