Maskne: Calgary doctors weigh in skin reactions to masks
Wearing a mask is a widely practiced recommendation from the CDC when it comes to limiting the spread of COVID-19. Not only do leading health authorities suggest wearing a mask in public spaces, wearing them has become enforceable by law in many areas of the world. Here in Calgary, face coverings are required on public transit, public indoor spaces and in city run facilities.
But as Calgarians do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, many are experiencing an unexpected symptom: maskne.
Although the colloquialism “maskne” (mask + acne) is making headlines, the condition is not new. Known in the medical community as acne mechanica, this form of acne is caused by heat, friction or pressure against the skin. Acne mechanica is quite common amongst athletes who wear protective gear such as helmets or shoulder pads. Sweat and heat build up underneath the materials, causing oil and bacteria to become trapped – leading to clogged pores.
However, the bumps and imperfections caused by wearing facial coverings are not always linked to acne – allergic reactions and skin sensitivities can also lead to painful rashes and bumps beneath a mask.
As workplaces and businesses alike implement policies making mask wearing mandatory, the frequency of skin conditions caused by facial coverings continues to rise.
Although some cases of maskne can lead to painful, even dangerous, infections – most can be improved by following some simple tips:
In many cases, following the above steps could improve mild cases of acne mechanica. However, if your skin doesn’t heal or the blemishes appear to be spreading/worsening, it is advised to seek the help of a professional. Ignoring these signs could lead to infection, resulting in more serious outcomes and discomfort.
If wearing a mask has caused you to develop painful outbreaks, our team is here to help. We are trained professionals with the necessary experience and expertise to address your unique skin care concerns. Wearing a mask shouldn’t be painful – so if you are having problems with your skin due to facial coverings, please don’t hesitate to reach out.