How to prevent and treat mask acne, or ‘mask-ne,’ this summer

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– As temperatures start to warm up heading into summer, a new coronavirus related issue is now revealing itself. It’s called “mask-ne,” and it’s becoming a major issue for some people. 

“Bacteria can build up on these masks and when you’re sweating on top of that it’s a lot more than what the face is used to.” Lauren Cubellis is the owner of Verve Fitness.

She is now required to wear a mask in the gym along with her staff, so she decided to find a solution. 

“We have someone making masks for us now that are a very light weight cooling material,” she said. 

There are certain fabrics that can cause you to sweat even more, like polyester or nylon. Polyester is a common fabric that is very durable and used a lot in the summer. Because of its durability, it can be water resistance which means there is little absorption of perspiration. That means your sweat has no where to go and can cause irritation, discomfort and lead to breakouts.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Dermatologist, Susan Massick says the best fabrics to look for are soft, natural, breathable materials.

“What your going to be looking for is the all cotton types of fabrics, those that aren’t rough or irritating,” she says.

Dr. Massick explaied that because masks are now the new normal, it’s important to take care of our skin more than ever.

“As soon as you’re finished with a workout, remove the mask and wash your mask and face as soon as you can,” noted Dr. Massick.

Another piece of advice is to go makeup-less as much as possible, especially if you know you’re going to be sweating in your mask. Makeup can clog your pores, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

“Even if there is a tendency to have those breakouts, I still think the mask, from a public health standpoint, is really important,” stated Dr. Massick.

As for Cubellis, she says acne, irritation or not, she understands why we have to wear masks to begin with.

“I think it’s important because I want to keep our members safe and our community,” she said.

Dr. Massick says that when choosing a face wash, look for a gentle cleanser and avoid flagrance. If you do feel some acne coming on, look for washes with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. She says if you do have problem areas already, avoid touching your face, continue to wash and treat with zinc oxide spot treatment creams.

You can get these face washes and treatments over the counter at any store. Look at the ingredient label as well. Dr. Massick says that hyaluronic acid products can help with acne as well if you have dry skin.

She says: “It’s a humectant, meaning it can draw in water from the dermis [lower layer] to the epidermis [outer layer] and keep the skin moist. Using too much can dry your skin if too much moisture is pulled from dermis. Typical moisturizers will have multiple ingredients to maintain a healthy moisture barrier.”

Is it really necessary to wear a mask while working out? Yes. Dr. Massick says if you want to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask whenever you’re around others is crucial. If you workout alone, obviously it’s not needed. Although its encouraged to wear a mask, it is not required.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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