Dermatologists in El Paso see more cases of ‘maskne’ — mask-induced acne


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Dermatologists in El Paso are seeing an increase in face mask-induced acne.

Dr. Brenda Simpson, adult and pediatric dermatologist at El Paso Dermatology clinic, said she has seen an increase in adult acne cases.

“We used to see this more with athletes, we call it acne mechanica,” explained Simpson, saying this type of acne is caused by friction from shoulder pads or chin straps, causing irritation with athletes.

She said there are now more cases of acne mechanica because of the increased used of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simpson explained that the heat and the humidity that is created when a mask is worn dilates the pores on our face. When pores are dilated, more oil, dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells fill our pores, making our faces break out.

“You can get over-the-counter cleanser like this, that has benzoyl peroxide in it, which is an ingredient that kills bacteria on contact,” advised Simpson.

She adds that a good over-the-counter face wash are those that contain salicylic acid, which opens up pores and cleans dead skin cells.

Dr. Adrian Guevara, dermatologist at Epiphany Dermatology clinic, said that extended mask wearers should fold a paper towel and place it in the mask area.

“It helps absorb some moisture, extends the life of the mask and reduces the overall irritation,” he explained.

Dermatologists agree that washing your cloth mask often and replacing your reusable masks is the first step to help get rid of acne.

They suggest consulting a specialist if the acne is persistent for a longer period of time.

Different mask materials are also an important factor when it comes to inducing acne. Simpson said the masks that are the most protective will likely make you break out more.

“Protect yourself from COVID-19 first and foremost, and then worry about the acne,” Simpson added, saying safety has to be the No. 1 priority.

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