If you have been noticing a lot more pimples popping up on your face since Covid-19, you are not alone.
Been on the losing end of maskne terrorizing your face in attempts of a blemish free skin for Chinese New Year? We spoke with Dr Nur Ashikin Ahmad, dermatologist from An-Nur Specialist Hospital (ANSH) on what just might be triggering your maskne and how to pave the road to clear, acne-free skin.
What causes maskne?
You might be more familiar with the term ‘T-zone.’ But when it comes to maskne, it is all about the ‘O-zone’ — the area of the mouth which is covered by the mask along with the tip of the nose, according to Dr Ashikin.
Maskne can be caused by multiple factors such as friction which is due to touching of the mask and moving it around, occlusion which is when something causes a blockage in the pores, or simply the wrong kind of skincare.
Wearing the right mask
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve seen an increase of 30 to 40 percent of patients coming in whose acne issue have been aggravated due to mask wearing.”
But not all is lost. According to Dr Ashikin, wearing the mask made from the right fabric and colour is key in defeating maskne. Always opt for fabrics with high thread count and are tightly woven as this characteristics helps minimize skin friction. Light coloured masks help in reflecting the sun, thus dispersing heat which further helps in battling maskne.
The right skincare
It may be time to tweak your decade old skincare routine. Dr Ashikin recommends starting off your routine with a gentle cleanser, ideal for maskne as they do not irritate the skin or lead to oily or dry skin after a good wash.
Thinking of skipping that moisturizer? Don’t, instead opt for water-based moisturizers and wave goodbye to heavy oil-based moisturizers. Lastly, a healthy dollop of sunscreen — always ensure that its non-comedogenic. This means that the product is specifically formulated so that it does not block or clog pores.
“Avoid toner and scrubs, these will just cause skin dryness which will further aggravate your acne troubles,” emphasized Dr Ashikin before sternly adding that it is of utmost importance to never squeeze your maskne, no matter how tempting it might be, as this would lead to scarring.
Lastly, always consult your dermatologist
“There are some skin conditions that look like acne but it’s not acne. Women in their 40s and 50s, they could be suffering from rosacea but instead mistake it for acne,” explained Dr Ashikin adding that early intervention is essential since mild acne when left untreated can be become severe.
“We educate patients on how to select the right skincare and only dermatologists are able to prescribe a special medication that is used to treat severe acne.”