Do You Have Mask Acne or Rosacea?

Advanced Dermatology, PC Blog Do You Have Mask Acne or Rosacea?

Even with vaccines making their way to the general public, people are still wearing masks and intend to continue wearing them for the immediate future. Even as restrictions on businesses and restaurants begin to ease, the mask mandates will continue until the COVID-19 pandemic is fully behind us.

Wearing a mask for long durations of time can trigger acne breakouts and blemishes on your face. These mask-induced flareups are also called “maskne” or mask acne. However, it should not prevent you from wearing your face mask, and clearing up your skin from it isn’t difficult. We have several tips to avoid mask acne.

The combination of moisture, sweat, and dirt that accumulates in the mask over the course of the day can cause acne in anyone, even if you don’t have oily skin. But long-term mask use could also be the cause of a rosacea flareup. Rosacea is a common skin disease with a range of symptoms including redness, flushing, and breakouts.

Dr. Suzanne Friedler, a board-certified dermatologist stated, “Rosacea tends to look a lot like acne, making it hard to determine which one you are actually dealing with.”

“Rosacea is an inflammatory condition very similar in appearance to acne, but heat is the main trigger,” Friedler said. “The skin becomes red like in acne, and papules and pustules can also appear,” she said.

If your mask-induced breakouts are actually rosacea, Friedler suggested that a board-certified dermatologist can provide topical and oral therapies that will help. She also advised wearing masks that are made with a material that keeps the skin cooler: “I’d recommend either 100% cotton with a tight weave or a surgical mask. Avoid polyesters and other synthetic fabrics.”

“Try to choose a mask that doesn’t cause the skin to flush and overheat,” Friedler added. “If you notice your skin is getting red, find an isolated spot to remove your mask and let your skin cool off.”

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