This I Have Learned: Oh No! Not Today, of All Days!

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Ten-O-Six, Clearasil, Noxzema—remember these products from the past? They comprised the acne arsenal for the teenagers of the 1960s. Perhaps you used one, or all of them? Surely, we all know the pain of getting up one morning on a special day when, after weeks of planning for a special event, you emerge from your bed, look in the mirror, and see only the red marks of pimples (or, in the vernacular, zits) on your face. Oh my gosh! Not on this day, of all days!

Then, what follows is an attempt to reduce the most obvious and glaring red marks. Sigh. And, then you conclude, “What’s the use? Nothing is working!” Luckily, for the majority of teenagers, those breakout years subsided with the passing of time. Until now. Enter the face mask 2020 acne dilemma, coined maskne.

Who would have thought that taking all of the necessary precautions, including wearing a face mask, against COVID would result in a return to the yesterdays of your teenage years? OMG! To understand all of the mystery about face mask acne I turned to SaddleBrooke resident, Rose Chen, M.D., retired dermatologist to provide some answers to the face mask acne dilemma.

The double-edge sword of wearing a mask is that it helps to prevent COVID, but it aggravates acne. The physical barrier of a mask causes friction as well as oil secretion, which leads to acne. The increased humidity under the mask also adds to the problem. Women who wear make-up and moisturizers under their masks increased the occlusion of the skin, thereby increasing the chances of developing acne under the face mask.

Women are recommended to wear eye make-up only, use moisturizers at night, wash your face twice a day (with a mild cleanser) and wash the face mask frequently.

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