Joplin dermatologist shares tips on fighting ‘maskne’

JOPLIN, Mo. – For many people, especially those in the medical field, going to work means wearing a mask at least eight hours a day. Becky Jacobs figured out early on, though, a face shield was a better option for her, for a lot of reasons.

“I did get hot flashes which is crazy, just literally would throughout the day get terrible hot flashes, just hot all the time…and it was harder for our elderly patients to hear us,” she explained.

On top of that, though, this office staff quickly realized cloth masks were taking a toll on their skin, resulting in breakouts.Acne Formation

“I do think I was having some issues on the chin, I think, but I don’t notice it anymore since I’m not wearing the mask,” said Jacobs.

“Maskne,” or mask acne, isn’t new. In fact, dermatologist Derek Towery says a lot of athletes could probably tell you all about it.

“The mask serves as a mechanical source, just a mechanical friction, a lot like what we see with our football players in the football season with chin and forehead acne from the helmets, and then also the extra oil. There’s extra sweating going on, it’s plugging those pores underneath the mask,” explained Dr. Towery.

So what’s the solution?

“Just wash your face everyday, two or three times a day, as necessary, to minimize that oil accumulation. Be sure and clean your mask if you’re wearing a cloth mask. Have multiple of those so that you can wash those frequently because oils will accumulate in those as well, and for ladies, I tell them not to wear makeup because that makeup combining with the sweat just kinda tends to plug the pores,” advised Dr. Towery.

While masks may be uncomfortable, Dr. Towery says it’s important to do our part to help curb COVID-19.

“We just encourage people to wear them. They can be annoying, but if you use those good skin care tips: washing your face, washing your mask, not wearing makeup underneath, it’ll minimize the flares of your acne and rosacea.”