Call it a sign of the times: Korean skin care brands Dr Jart+ and Peach and Lily offer collections of “maskne essentials” on their websites. Patch purveyor Hero Cosmetics recently posted an entry about maskne on its blog.
Front-line workers in health care and other fields are most at risk because their masks are tighter fitting and they are wearing them longer. A research letter published in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reported that at least 83% of health care workers in Hubei, China, suffered skin problems on the face. And anecdotally, doctors report an increase in acne flare-ups in people outside health care as well.0
“Conversations about acne have hit a record high in my practice and in my direct message box on Instagram,” Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York City said in an email. That’s because masks can worsen existing skin issues or cause new ones. Add the summer heat and humidity and you’ve got a petri dish for breakouts.
Consider the type of mask you wear
Only you can decide how you want to balance the weight of the mask material with the level of protection it will give you, but dermatologists suggest 100% cotton because it allows skin to breathe a bit. As the temperature rises and you sweat more, you’ll need to keep the mask clean. “You need to treat it like underwear and wash it frequently,” said Dr. Candrice Heath, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. “You don’t want all of that oil and sweat and dirt to sit there and then you reapply it to your face constantly.”
Many of us use too many beauty products anyway, so consider mask wearing a good excuse to adopt the most basic skin care routine: a gentle non-soap cleanser and a mild, fragrance-free moisturiser. “Fewer ingredients is better than more,” said Dr S Tyler Hollmig, the director of dermatologic surgery at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, who likes drugstore brands like Eucerin and CeraVe.