BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Face masks are becoming a regular part of daily life, but wearing them may have a negative effect on the skin.

“Maskne,” or blemishes that form underneath our face coverings, is largely caused by clogged pores, according to Dr. Jenny Sobera with Village Dermatology.

“Oil and dirt and makeup get trapped in the pores and then it gets stopped up,” Sobera said. “And this inflammatory cascade comes in and that starts pimples.”

Sobera said many longtime acne sufferers are seeing more severe breakouts from wearing masks. Plus, she’s seen patients who usually have clear skin start to develop breakouts.

Sobera’s recommendation is to wash or wipe faces after taking off masks. Also, incorporate a gentle exfoliant into skincare regimens to remove dead skin cells that have been trapped underneath masks.

She also said the summer conditions can make matters worse.

“It’s hot, right? We’re in Alabama. We’re sweaty, we’re hot, we’re breathing on ourselves. And that also causes growth of bacteria,” she said. “That’s another cause of acne.”

She said it’s crucial to often wash reusable masks, for the same reason we want to avoid sleeping with a dirty pillow case. However, be mindful of the products you’re using to wash the masks. Sobera said some chemicals and fragrances in detergents and fabric softeners can irritate skin on the face.


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