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Max Minute: Here Are Ways To Avoid Getting Irritating 'Maskne'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- While health experts say wearing a mask is a necessity to protect against COVID-19, it can also apparently take a toll on your skin.

In his latest Max Minute, CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explains how you can avoid that.

During this pandemic we have all had to learn new terms, like "neutralizing antibodies" or "convalescent plasma," and now there's "maskne." That's the combination of a virus-stifling mask and acne: skin irritation that's probably going to get worse as the weather gets hot and humid.

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There are two main types of maskne, an allergic reaction causing a dermatitis, and actual pimple breakouts because you're trapping germs, moisture, and skin oils under the mask and rubbing it all into your skin.


So what can you do about maskne? First, wear a mask as little as possible. If you're indoors or not around other people, give your skin a rest.

Next, use disposable paper masks. If you must re-use them, dry them thoroughly in a sunny spot before putting them back on. If you use a cloth mask, wash it at least every other day.

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Be sure to wash with a gentle face cleanser and moisturize with a light lotion. Some recommend a protective balm or Vaseline where your mask rubs, although that can make breakouts worse. You can also try over-the-counter pimple medicine to calm a breakout.

If your mask is still causing maskne, you can always opt for the full monty, a clear face shield, though those tend to rub on the forehead and could cause "shieldne." There's also the odd looks you might get.

If these simple tips don't help, you might need a dermatologist. Many are doing telemedicine visits that easily lend themselves to showing the doctor pictures of your rash.

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