Maskne Skin diseases are one of the most common health problems and are more prevalent than previously thought. As per the findings of the Global Burden of Disease project, skin diseases are the 4th major cause of non-fatal disease burden worldwide. Skin diseases cause physical discomfort as well as impair the quality of life. But actually, the skin diseases problem encloses other psychological, financial, and social outcomes.
Most of the time, people don’t prefer visiting a dermatologist and the skin problem becomes more severe. A dermatologist can figure out any potential skin health issue as well as can treat it. Therefore, it is important to visit a dermatologist if you notice unwanted skin problems. Nowadays, it’s become easier to find a skin specialist in Lahore by using an internet search or asking for recommendations.
Common skin problems:
Skin disorders range from asymptomatic to severely symptomatic caused by several genetic and situational factors. Moreover, skin problems are an indicator of other health problems including hormonal imbalances and gastrointestinal diseases, etc. However, a dermatologist can analyze and figure out the actual problem, so there are several reasons due to which people visit dermatologists. Some of the common skin problems include:
1- Acne (one of the most common skin problems, causes blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, pimples, etc.)
2- Eczema (chronic skin conditions characterized by inflammation and itchiness on the skin)
3- Cold sore (fever blisters that appear near the mouth or lip area)
4- Blisters (fluid-containing vesicles bulla (size < 1cm) or bulla (size > 1cm)
5- Hives (elevated, itchy bumps that appear as a result of allergen’s reaction)
6- Psoriasis (an immune system diseases characterized by wild cell division of skin cells forming plaques)
7- Aging (appearance of age spots on the skin and skin textural changes including wrinkles, fine lines, discolorations, loose and saggy skin)
8- Rosacea (appearance of blood vessels on the skin, raised bumps, skin sensitivity, and dryness)
9- Skin cancer (occurring from carcinoma to melanoma characterized by patterned skin growth that changes in shape, size, and colour over time)
10- Contact dermatitis (itchy, red rash on the skin that appears after the skin gets in contact with an allergen)
Coronavirus and skin problems:
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of human life to a greater magnitude. The ongoing pandemic has altered the public health crisis alongside other social and economic distractions. As per common belief, COVID-19 is primarily affecting the lungs. But unknowingly the disease is resulting in long-term problems by affecting the heart, brain, and causing other psychological impacts.
Besides these, COVID-19 is also resulting in several skin-related problems. Wearing a mask is mandatory and has become a part of our daily routine. Undoubtedly, wearing a mask reduces the transmission of coronavirus but on the other hand, wearing a mask for the whole day is hard on the skin. Mask-related skin problems range from skin irritation to the modified form of skin acne commonly known as ‘Maskne’ or acne mechanica.
What is Maskne?
Maskne or mask acne refers to several skin conditions resulting from wearing facial protective equipment for prolonged times. No matter if you are previously facing any skin problem or having clear skin, you can get affected by any of these conditions.
Different types of Maskne:
Maskne is a general term used to refer to several mask-induced skin health issues. Including acne, other common skin masks problems include:
Face mask occurs as a result of clogging of pores that appear as pimples, blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, and lesions on the skin. Hair follicles get clogged by the oil, dirt, or dead skin cells resulting in an acne outbreak.
2- Allergic contact dermatitis:
Another common skin problem is contact dermatitis caused by wearing medical, fabric, and respirators. Such protective equipment contains several allergens that can trigger contact dermatitis. These allergens are usually found on the mask strips, mask sponge, and other components of the mask. Some of the common allergens found in masks include formaldehyde, bronopol, etc.
Face masks tend to worsen the rosacea condition due to heat and stress. The hypersensitivity around facial blood vessels can cause rosacea flare-ups.
This is the infection of hair follicles characterized by acne breakout, pain, and itchiness. The moist and warmer environment inside the mask promotes microbial growth. The resulting bacterial and yeast growth tends to infect the hair follicles.
Mask causative agents:
Scientists found the similarity between mask and skin irritation in athletes coming from wearing helmets. They were able to identify several factors responsible for mask-induced skin problems. These include:
1- Friction and pressure of the mask:
The pressure and friction due to wearing masks for longer times are causing mechanical damage to the facial skin. Friction caused by the rubbing of the mask onto the skin can lead to skin irritation. The irritation and loss of integrity of skin aid the microorganisms to enter the blood vessels directly.
2- Material of the mask:
No matter if you are using a surgical or fabric mask, mask material can affect your overall skin health. Mask material can cause skin irritations that can cause damage to the skin by excessive rubbing. Moreover, chemical components in the face mask also act as allergens inducing an immune response that later becomes skincare problems.
3- Moisture and warm environment inside the mask:
When you wear facial equipment for longer periods, they tend to fog up. Further, when you exhale inside this causes the inside of the mask to become warm. The moist and warm conditions collectively promote the growth of microbial agents that are further responsible for several masks associated with skin problems.
The choice of makeup products beneath the face mask can also result in acne. Applying makeup products into pores can clog them and further wearing a mask on it can even make the condition worse.
How to prevent maskne and treat it?
The mask-associated skin problems are continuously growing and due to lack of awareness about them, they are causing more damage than before. However, there are several preventive and treatment measures that can help to prevent maskne. These include:
1- Frequently washing the face:
Frequently washing your face can be a good practice to prevent maskne. Other than washing your face in the morning and before going to sleep, you should also wash your face after wearing a mask. Using lukewarm water and not rubbing your face using a towel can reduce the chances of maskne.
Exfoliating your skin can remove the dead skin cells that can clog your skin pores if not removed timely. Pores clogging can ultimately lead to the maskne as well as making your skin look dull. It is advisable to exfoliate your skin using a suitable agent according to your skin type. You can switch from using physical exfoliants and replace them with chemical exfoliants. However, you should avoid over-exfoliating your skin or if you are having inflammatory acne.
Rather than using harsh skincare products, switching to some gentle and mild cleanser can be a good idea to prevent maskne. A mild cleanser can remove excess dirt and oil from your face as well as discourage the growth of bacteria on your face. Cleaners that contain alcohol or fragrance-producing chemicals can be irritating for your skin. So, using a mild, oil-free cleaner can be a good practice to keep your skin safe from maskne.
A moisturizer usually serves the purpose of keeping your skin hydrated. But additionally, such moisturizers will act as a barrier between your skin and the mask’s inner surface. Except for your facial skin, you can use lip balms to keep the skin around your lips hydrated.
How to pick the perfect moisturizer?
However, the choice of the right moisturizer formula for your skin is quite important and can vary from person to person. While choosing a moisturizer, one needs to consider the following.
- Generally, it is advisable to avoid moisturizers that are noncomedogenic or oil-free to minimize the chances of pore-clogging.
- Some moisturizers contain certain products that give extra protection.
- Besides this, a fragrance-free moisturizer is always recommended to prevent allergic reactions.
5- Avoid makeup:
Wearing makeup on daily basis can promote maskne. If you are trying to treat maskne, it is recommended to skip using makeup products for a few days. Makeup products including foundation and concealer can clog your skin pores as well as residual makeup on the skin can promote the growth of microbial agents that can result in skin problems.
However, if you cannot go without makeup then here are some useful makeup practices while treating acne are:
- You should try using oil-free products to minimize the chances of pores cogging
- Don’t forget washing your hands before you start applying makeup products
- You should never workout while having your makeup on
- Remove makeup while going to sleep and moisturize the skin
- Always wash your makeup brushes and sponges after a week
6- Switch to the mild product:
Be it your laundry soap or skincare products; always choose the mild ones while treating the maskne. Harsh products can act as the allergen to your skin increasing the risk of developing skin-related problems. Pimple patches: Another way to treat maskne is to use pimple patches that can extract all the puss and oils from the skin. You can leave them overnight and get a smooth surface in the morning.
7- Avoid over touching your face:
Another way to deal with face acne is to stop touching it or picking at your skin. It can be hard to resist picking at zit but not doing so can be even more damaging. Popping zits can leave your pore exposed to more acne-causing agents i.e., bacteria as well as can also assist the spread of infectious material.
8- Face mask measures:
Several face mask precautionary measures can reduce maskne. These are
- Never reuse a fabric face mask. Wash it properly with a mild laundry agent after using it once.
- If you are wearing a disposable mask, discard it after one time use.
- It is also advisable to remove your mask after every 4 hours for 15 minutes to let your skin breathe. But you should avoid removing your mask while not practicing social distancing. It is also important to sanitize your hands before and after taking the mask break.
- You can also apply antibiotic cream and moisturizer before wearing a mask that can aid in preventing the buildup of germs inside the mask.
9- Pay attention to your eating habits and lifestyle:
A person’s eating habits can affect his skin health to a greater extent. Foods that have more glycemic index can be associated with acne. Reducing your processed carb intake and avoiding sugary drinks can help reduce acne breakout. Besides eating habits, make sure that you are consuming enough water and getting adequate sleep. Eating the right food and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can surely help you to combat skin health problems.
10- Visit dermatologist:
Consider going to a dermatologist to get the best advice. Healthcare facilities i.e. Ahsan Mumtaz hospital provides good healthcare services. Avoid doing self-treatment and applying home remedies because they can even make the condition worse and delay the healing process of your skin.
Skin problems are one of the most common health problems that often go untreated. Maskne is one of the major skin-associated problems caused by the over usage of facial protective equipment that acts as a barrier in the transmission of COVID-19. Maskne refers to many skin-related problems caused by using face masks for extended periods. Timely identifying the issue and using preventive and treatment measures can help to combat the problem. However, self and non-dermatologist treatment can result in more damage. So, it is advisable to immediately go to a skin specialist for immediate treatment of the problem.