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Dermatologists say 'maskne' is real and it's on the rise

Face coverings, warm weather and stress combine to create the perfect storm for acne on the chin and cheeks.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ever since masks have become a part of our everyday lives, we've been hearing about "maskne," or mask-induced acne. The term may sound funny, but dermatologists say it's a real diagnosis and it's on the rise.

Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Zoey Glick at Buffalo Medical Group says for some patients, the combination of wearing a face covering, sweating in the hot summer weather and managing the stress of the pandemic have combined to create a perfect storm for acne to form on the chin and cheeks.

The clinical term for "maskne" is acne mechanica. Up until now, it's been common in athletes who wear helmets, such as football and hockey players, and even musicians who play string instruments with chin rests, like the violin and viola.

So how do you prevent breakouts from your mask? Experts say to keep things simple.

"I think the biggest thing is to simplify the routine," Dr. Glick told 2 On Your Side. "Every single person, whether or not you are someone who normally is getting acne from hormones, stress, life, all these things, you need to make sure that everything that's coming into contact with your skin is very plain and simple."

That means washing with a mild, gentle cleanser, and following up with a light moisturizer. Some of Glick's favorites are Vanicream and Elta MD. 

Credit: WGRZ-TV
Credit: WGRZ-TV

Glick does not recommend wearing face makeup under your mask if you can avoid it. She also stresses the importance of taking frequent breaks from wearing masks, as long as it's safe to do so. When you remove your mask for the day, wash your face as soon as possible. 

As for the masks themselves, Glick recommends wearing a cotton mask if you don't have to wear a medical grade one for work. Other materials may cause you to sweat too much. She also suggests keeping the masks themselves as clean as possible with daily washing. 

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