Written By Kevin Kerfoot / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Many dermatology patients are noticing red, irritated skin or small pimples under their face mask and complaining of what's commonly being called "maskne" or mask-acne.
The three skin problems they are experiencing the most are acne caused by clogged pores inside the mask area, irritation from the mask, and allergic reactions to either detergent used to wash a fabric mask or dyes or substances in surgical masks.
What's causing maskne?
If the overall area of where you wear your mask is red, burning or itchy, then it may be more of an irritation or allergy. If you are seeing little pustules or comedones - commonly known as blackheads or whiteheads - that points to acne.
Proper hygiene is very important for keeping the skin calm. Dermatologists suggest using a gentle cleanser when you wash your face in the morning, then adding sunscreen to provide a barrier between skin and the mask. When you come home, take off your mask, wash your face and add moisturizer.
Mask and face care
It is important to wash fabric masks every day. Laundry detergents can be a common cause of allergic reactions, so try using fragrance-free detergents. If your skin is irritated, red, itchy or burning, dermatologists recommend using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream once or twice a day.
When you wear a mask, the oil glands under the skin produce more oil, creating an ideal environment for acne to form. Try not wearing makeup under your mask, but if you must, make sure your cosmetics are labeled noncomedogenic.
If the acne is severe, you can add an over-the-counter cleanser that contains glycolic acid, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. And if the problem persists for more than a week or two, make an appointment with a dermatologist.
"Every day there are studies demonstrating the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19," says Allison Truong, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Cedars-Sinai Medical Group. "If you keep your mask clean, follow daily proper skin hygiene, and use the appropriate products, you should be able to control any skin irritations and acne while continuing to protect yourself and others from the virus."
Dermatologist Saves Man’s Life with Early Diagnosis
The American Academy of Dermatology recently named board-certified dermatologist Brittany Smirnov, DO, FAAD, a Patient Care Hero for her role in diagnosing and treating a patient with stage IV metastatic lung cancer. Up to 12 percent of lung cancers are accompanied by skin abnormalities, according to research published in Case Reports in Oncology. Dermatologists are uniquely trained to examine the skin as a window to underlying conditions such as cancers that can cause bumps, dryness, itchiness, scaling, and redness.
South Florida resident Richard Danzer developed a cyst on his back that grew larger and more painful over time, and saw his general practitioner who referred him to Dr. Smirnov for her dermatology expertise. After examining Danzer and hearing his medical history, she suspected the cyst was a sign of a more serious condition and ordered a chest CT scan, which confirmed a lung cancer diagnosis.
After multiple radiation treatments and chemotherapy, Danzer is now cancer free and sees Dr. Smirnov for routine skin checks every three months. Many people with lung cancer do not experience symptoms such as chest pain and wheezing until later stages of the disease, which often delays diagnosis and treatment. Danzer’s cyst was the clue that led to a timely diagnosis and helped him receive the life-saving care he needed.
“I want to change peoples’ lives for the better, which sometimes starts with the diagnosis of a serious disease, as was the case with Richard,” says Dr. Smirnov. “I’m proud of the cross-disciplinary team that sprang into action to find a life-saving treatment that worked.”
“Skin conditions can be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, so it’s crucial for dermatologists to ascertain their underlying cause,” added board-certified dermatologist Bruce H. Thiers, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Dr. Smirnov’s work in identifying a patient’s lung cancer exemplifies the significant role dermatologists play delivering life-saving care as members of a comprehensive health care team.”
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.