Add this to the list of quaranthings you should know about: maskne. Yes, as in mask-triggered acne. The breakouts usually appear on the surface area the medical mask covers: your chin, nose, and cheeks. With everyone wearing face masks as a safety measure against COVID-19, this skin issue is not going away anytime soon. So, we called for help.
On May 15, Cosmopolitan Philippines had a live skincare consultation with the CEO and Medical Director of Belo Medical Group, Dr. Victoria Belo, and we asked her how to prevent this trending skincare woe.
Watch the highlight reel of our Facebook Live consultation with Dr. Belo:
First, let's understand why a face mask can cause breakouts: Wearing one properly means it has to have a snug fit on your face, and that places pressure on your skin. The friction plus the inevitable trapping of heat, humidity, and bacteria can clog pores. Whatever's in the mask stays inside the mask, so you're essentially rubbing oil, sweat, and bacteria back into your skin.
"One of the things you can do is wash your face during lunchtime," Dr. Belo advised. These midday wash breaks are useful, but there's a threshold: "Ideally you should only wash your face three times a day. Because if you dehydrate by washing too much, you can also irritate the skin," said Dr. Belo. She adds that an alternative would be to use a toner to clean your face, especially on your chin area, which is very sensitive to hormones and physical pressure. But above all, she said you really need to STOP touching your face!
A surprising contributor to maskne? Poor oral hygiene! Dr. Belo said, "The mouth is the dirtiest part of the body. And when you talk with the mask, all the bacteria comes back, because it doesn't go out anymore. The more you'll get pimples around that area, and it's hard to treat."