Maskne: Acne caused by excessive masking

While we are keen on staying safe by wearing a mask during this pandemic, overusing may lead to certain side effects. When we are cautious and choosy while buying a face mask, let’s also be cautious while using it too. To shed some light on how overusing a mask can have side effects, we have with us Dermatologist and Cosmetologist, Dr Vidya TS. 

In recent times, using a mask made from various materials and designs have turned into a trend. Though we all know it’s necessary, there are some consequences when we wear them constantly for a longer period of time. To learn better about the problems the skin may face, we asked our expert some questions regarding how overusing a mask can cause acne and how we can avoid it.

Let’s start with a few basics when it comes to acne.

What are the skin types that are prone to acne?

Oily skin and blemish-prone skin is more prone to Acne.

What are the most common reasons for getting acne?

  • Hormonal imbalance or changes like menarche, menopause and PCOS. 
  • Cosmetics that clog the pores 
  • Excessive oil/ sebum production
  • Bacteria
  • Certain medications
  • Diet and to some extent stress

Here Dr Vidya shares her expert inputs on the hows, whats and whys of this concern.

What are the benefits of masking? What are the side effects of overdoing it?

Using mask prevents pollutants from coming in contact with the facial skin. It helps avoid frequent touching of the skin, reduces the use of cosmetics and gives emotional support.

Well, it is a must to use a mask when we are in a crowd or out on the street but using the mask for long hours increases friction on the skin, which can cause acne and leave the skin dry and irritated.

Does using a mask more than necessary cause acne? Why?

Yes, it does cause acne as it increases friction on the skin and blocks the pores by the dead skin due to constant rubbing. It also increases sweating, which can cause irritation and lead to acne.

What precautions does one need to take to avoid acne?

  • Mask should neither be too tight or loose. It should fit comfortably and have enough breathing space.
  • Use a cotton mask to reduce friction.
  • Moisturise the skin.
  • Avoid greasy cosmetics.

How does one need to plan their face masking routine?

  • Apply a thin layer of a moisturiser before wearing the mask.
  • Wear a comfortably fitting mask.
  • Avoid greasy cosmetics below it.
  • Wash your face after taking it off and moisturise again to avoid dryness.
  • Do not use synthetic masks.
  • Take off the mask now and then to improve circulation.
  • Do not use masks unnecessarily.  

Suggest the best ways to plan one’s skincare routine to fight the side effects of masking.

  • Wash your face 2 to 3 times a day with a mild cleanser (pH balanced) depending on your skin type.
  • Do not wash too many times or use too much cleanser.
  • Apply sunscreens SPF 30 and above depending on your exposure time.
  • Use sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going out. 
  • Choose the right sunscreen for your skin type. 
  • Moisturise your skin if it is dry.
  • Use a suitable anti-ageing cream in the night.
  • Take off the makeup before sleeping.
  • Do not pop or squeeze the pimples or comedones.
  • Do not experiment with any home remedies.

Staying safe should not affect us in keeping ourselves healthy and looking good. Let’s care for ourselves better with these inputs.

Stay Safe! Stay Healthy! Stay Beautiful!

Dr Vidya TS is currently a consultant at Sagar Hospitals & Skin and Cosmetic Clinic, Jayanagar, Bangalore. She has been practising for the last 24 years and is now the President of Community Dermatology Society. 




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