What to Do About Maskne

woman examining maskne in a mirrorPandemic life comes with a great deal of things to deal with that we’ve never ever needed to think of previously. Among those things is “maskne,” or acne around the mouth and nose brought on by using masks for extended amount of times.

Prior to we enter into the causes and services, let me mention that this short article is here to provide possible services for individuals who are dealing with mask-related acne. I won’t be resolving whether masks are necessitated or suggested or any of that – you’d be much better off going over that with a virologist or immunologist. Not me. This short article is for individuals who need to use or select to use masks, and wish to deal with skin inflammation that might have surfaced due to the fact that of them. 

So let’s get to it. Let’s attempt to find out some services to this brand-new and growing issue.

Firstly, what is maskne?

The technical term for maskne is acne mechanica — blocked pores and pimples brought on by friction and rubbing. Prior to this previous year, a lot of acne mechanica was brought on by using sports devices, bras, safety glasses, belts, and other things used tight versus the skin. All that altered with the pandemic. Never ever prior to in the history of the world had actually regular individuals been asked to attach masks over their nose and mouth for most of the day. Not just that, however typically the very same mask that you quickly removed of your pockets, still oily from the last time you used it.

The huge issue with taking on maskne is that it’s a brand-new type of acne mechanica (prior to mask-wearing ended up being extensive, a lot of cases were on other locations of the body) and the only research study particularly tailored towards it is observational. There are no regulated trials. There is simply a flood of anecdotes that clinicians and scientists are learning.

What can you do about it?

Attempt various masks.

Maskne is more than the friction. It can likewise be an immune response to the mask product. It’s likewise the absence of oxygen, the absence of air circulation, the wetness accumulation, the bacterial load collecting. Various masks have various concerns.

N95 masks are tight versus the face and limit air circulation (by style). Things fume and damp therein, and where the real mask makes contact with your skin, the pressure is fantastic sufficient to leave welts or contusions and promote real acne mechanica.

Non reusable surgical masks aren’t as tight, however they’re tight and impenetrable sufficient to produce concerns.

Fabric masks let air circulation, for much better or even worse, however they likewise collect a great deal of grease, gunk, and germs.

Silk masks are likewise a lot easier on the skin, however their capability to filter viral particles is doubtful at finest.

Point being: all masks are possibly a concern. Attempt various types made from various product to find out the concern.


Take regular mask breaks.

In Some Cases you need to use the mask. In some cases there’s simply no navigating it, whether due to the fact that of security inside or guidelines you should follow. If that’s the case, do your finest to take breaks as typically as possible. The American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests a 15 minute break every 4 hours, which is woefully insufficient in my viewpoint. Better is as typically as you can.

Possibly it implies pulling the mask down when there’s nobody around or stepping outdoors to take a prolonged mask-free break.

Deal with the essentials.

Acne is eventually an inflammatory condition. While mechanical maskne isn’t rather the like hormone or “internal” acne, it’s a winner to presume that you need to a minimum of support all the important things that have actually revealed to impact the latter.

Consume a lot of zinc (red meat, oysters, organ meats).

Get enough omega-3s: EPA (a long chain omega 3 discovered in marine foods) is typically lower in individuals with acne. Consume fish or take fish oil.

Control your insulin: Given that insulin can promote IGF-1 production, which in turn increases sebum production in the skin, chronically high insulin levels can trigger blocked pores. Current research studies done throughout the COVID pandemic have actually discovered that acne and other inflammatory skin problem are even worse in clients with insulin resistance. Amusing how insulin keeps appearing, eh?

Attempt a mask bracket.

A mask bracket is a little device endured the within your mask that produces airspace in between your skin and the fabric. It might be simply what you require to minimize friction and aid with air flow near your mouth and chin, where mask-related breakouts are most likely to take place.

Take sun breaks, take vitamin D.

A standard treatment for acne was UV treatment, which was terminated after skin doctors identified it to be “more harm than it was worth.” That’s rubbish, naturally, as long as you’re getting natural “UV therapy” by in fact being out in the sun. Moreover, vitamin D plays an essential function in skin swelling, so if it’s your only alternative taking supplements will assist.

But actual midday sunlight on your face and body is ideal and will almost certainly improve maskne.

Remember: being cooped up inside has been terrible for our collective vitamin D levels. Is it truly just a maskne epidemic, or is it a sun deficiency epidemic?

Change and launder your masks.

If you have to wear a mask for a prolonged period of time, change to a clean mask part-way through the day. Remember to wash your cloth masks as often as you would wash your clothes, instead of storing it in the cupholder of your car between uses. And use fragrance-free, eco-friendly detergents to avoid irritation that’s caused by cleaning agents and scents.

Avoid or limit harsh facial products.

Alcoholic aftershaves, chemical peels, acne treatments that dry the hell out of your skin, exfoliants, salicylic acid—these products are made with the mask-less face in mind. They likely weren’t tested on people wearing a tight-fitting, nearly-airtight mask for half the day. It’s a whole new world out there.

Avocado oil with tea tree oil.

Blend a couple tablespoons of avocado oil and two tablespoons of MCT oil with some tea tree oil. Start low with the tea tree oil and slowly titrate up to confirm your skin can handle it. The avocado oil is good for your skin (and can even speed up the healing process), the MCT oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and the tea tree oil is effective against the acne-causing bacteria (even compared to pharmaceuticals). Don’t slather it on, though. You don’t want to get oily. A few drops rubbed into your face before and after mask-wearing will do the trick.

Put bacteria on your face.

Not all bacteria are bad. Just like our guts, mouths, and even nasal cavities have microbiomes, our skin has a microbiome—a colony of beneficial bacteria serving a vital function. As a recent letter to the editor regarding COVID-related maskne suggested, maskne-prone skin probably has a dysfunctional or unbalanced microbiome, and regular acne-prone skin definitely has lower levels of ammonia-degrading bacteria. Enter Mother Dirt, the probiotic skin spray that colonizes your skin with the ammonia-degrading bacteria that acne-prone skin is missing. Ammonia-degrading bacteria can modulate the skin’s immune environment, potentially nullifying the formation of acne.

Mother Dirt hasn’t been formally studied in the treatment of maskne, but it’s worth trying. Can’t see it hurting.

Nasal breathing (or mouthwash).

One ancedotal fix for maskne I’ve seen around the Internet is using mouthwash before donning your mask. Reason being, this kills the bacteria in your mouth and prevents you from contaminating the inside of your mask with it through constant mouth-breathing. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not.

Instead of mouthwash, why not try exclusive nasal breathing? It’s healthier, anyway, and it may even improve your ability to fight off potential COVID viral particles. And you won’t be breathing out oral bacteria all day long.

(Mouthwash might be worth a shot, too)

Chew gum.

If the “breathing bacteria into your mask” hypothesis is true, then chewing gum while wearing a mask should also improve maskne by promoting nasal breathing and reducing pathogenic bacteria in the mouth.

Xylitol gum will assist reduce bacteria.

Don’t wear makeup under your mask.

Makeup is designed to be worn in open air. You know, where it can be seen. Wearing a mask over makeup just pushes it deep into the pores, promoting clogs and the formation of acne.

What’s the point, anyway, if no one can see it?

Only wear the mask when necessary.

I may get guff for this, but here goes: I have not seen much evidence that suggests that going mask-less outdoors in an open space is particularly risky. If you have evidence to the contrary, feel free to leave a link to the medical literature in the comments. Sure, if you’re shoulder to shoulder in a crowd, wear a mask. Sure, if you’re face to face with someone whose immunological status you can’t confirm for a long conversation, wear a mask. If you’re in an area where mask-wearing is mandatory outside, like a zoo or theme park, follow the guidelines. However in the vast majority of outdoor situations, going mask-less is fine. Hiking? Don’t need it. Briefly passing by someone on the sidewalk? Don’t need it. A study out of Italy (one of the areas hardest hit by COVID) found that “outdoor air in residential and urban environments was generally not infectious and safe for the public.”

If you must wear the mask outdoors on pain of death or imminent prosecution, wear the mask. If it’s a matter of showing respect and making people feel safe, I get that. But as far as infection risk, from what I gather it is very low.

But this has actually to be the first line of defense because the mask is the proximate cause of the acne. Limit the mask-wearing only to when you must use it and you will limit the amount of friction and inflammation applied to your face.

What about dedicated acne items?

I’m sure there are other items out there. A quick search of Youtube produces hundreds of beauty anecdotes from individuals who used baby shampoo or dandruff shampoo or a pharmaceutical formulation to fix their acne, but there’s no way to vet those. Taking more “natural” steps and replacing the lost bacteria that protects versus other kinds of acne seems like the most evolutionarily-congruent path.

Look: you could go to a dermatologist (in your mask) and come home with a sack of pharmaceuticals. Possibly that would work. Possibly that’s a last resort. But I’d highly recommend that you do the best to attack the problem at its fundamental core.

I’d love to hear from you folks. What’s worked against maskne? What hasn’t? What’s made it worse?

Take care, everyone. Be safe out there.

Primal Kitchen Buffalo

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.