Perth skin experts reveal how to prevent ‘maskne’ as clinics report rise in breakouts due to mandatory masks | Ralph Lauren

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If you’ve noticed an increase in painful spots lurking under your mandatory mask in the past fortnight, you’re not the only one.

Dubbed “maskne”, skin clinics across Perth have reported a rise in people seeking treatment for breakouts caused by the excess heat, pressure and rubbing that comes from the often uncomfortable facial coverings.

“We’ve had a huge number of clients this week with new breakouts coming in saying, ‘Please help me’,” said Naomi Henderson, owner and skin specialist at Fleur Rejuvenation.

Typically found around the mouth, nose and chin, Ms Henderson said “maskne” differs from typical acne as it is made up of smaller whiteheads.

“I believe they come from harbouring bacteria in a mask, particularly if you’re not changing or washing it regularly,” she said, adding natural oils are not able to be free-flowing under a mask, which can lead to congestion.

Naomi Henderson of Fleur Rejuvenation.
Camera IconNaomi Henderson of Fleur Rejuvenation. Credit: IAIN GILLESPIE/The West Australian

Dr Kate Jameson, cosmetic physician and medical director of Youth Lab, said that she had also seen an increase in the number of clients seeking her help since reopening after the lockdown and added that there were simple ways to prevent a breakout.

“An important, but very simple step, is to remember to wash your hands after removing your mask. Masks contain bacteria, and there is a risk of transferring this to your face if you do not practice proper hand hygiene,” she said.

Extra care needs to be taken to improve your skin barrier, which Dr Jameson said can be achieved through applying a hydrating moisturiser or serum at night, as well as using products that include ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.

Wearing as little, or no, make-up as possible is important, particularly if exercising, and ensure after a sweaty workout that you wash your face.

For those people currently dreading re-entering the world tomorrow without a mask to hide their spots, Dr Jameson said adding a probiotic to your diet would assist in with clearing your skin and prevent further breakouts, as will treatments such as a hydrafacial or healite light treatment.

How to prevent and treat maskne

DO Wash or replace your mask regularly

DON’T Exercise with make-up on, and wash your face after a workout

DO Work to improve your skin barrier with a hydrating moisturiser or serum at night

DON’T Strip the natural oils in your skin with skin care acids

DO Consider treatments that will clear congestion and draw out bacteria such as a hydrafacial or LED light treatment

DON’T Even though you want to, don’t pick at the pimples, this will spread bacteria


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