#ELLEBackToBasics: We Got Dermatologists To Answer All Your Questions About Maskne


Some of us suffer from pre-existing acne, but have you been breaking out excessively in the past year sans rational reason? You’re not alone. Thanks to masks shielding our faces (rightly so), a relatively new phenomenon termed “Maskne” or mask acne by dermatologists has taken over almost as quickly as the pandemic. 

It can be frustrating when your elaborate 11 step nighttime beauty routine won’t help with these spots. Don’t worry; we spoke to dermatologists about this flare-up, and we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about this skin condition and how you can prevent it. 

What Is Maskne?

“Maskne is an amalgamation of the two words mask and acne, which is self-explanatory – acne developing because of mask coverage,” explains dermatologist, Dr Stuti Khare Shukla.  

Maskne can be identified from other spots as they appear on the lower half of the face, generally around where one wears the mask. No reason to panic; since the pandemic, a growing number of people from all age groups have suffered from the condition. 


What Causes Maskne?

No matter how hard we try and tone, cleanse and hydrate our face, these flare-ups will continue to irritate the skin. And, there’s a scientific rationale behind its causes. “Acne generally happens to people who have oily skin, but Maskne is happening due to shielding your face all the time. This blocks pores and clogs sebum glands which are supposed to secrete oil, but this layer inhibits the process resulting in pimples,” explains Dr Stuti. 

Founder of Derma Centre and dermatologist from Pune, Dr Poorva Shah, adds that another possible cause of Maskne is seen as “friction between the mask and facial skin, along with breathing and sweating under the mask.” 


How Can We Prevent Maskne?


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It might be time to carry an extra mask en route as doctors agree that one should always change masks every 3-4 hours and wipe the skin with a supple cloth drenched in lukewarm water. “Makeup and exfoliation should be avoided, and non-comedogenic moisturisers should be used,” says Dr Poorva. She adds, “A mild cleanser should be used for acne-prone skin and in extreme cases involve a dermatologist before tweaking your skincare routine.” 

Dr Stuti also recommends “avoiding over moisturising as sebum glands will secrete oil when you remove the mask, and excessive moisture can then lead to acne.” 

As we embark on the pandemic’s beginning of the end, using these simple hacks can help you navigate your way through spots to clear skin.


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