Maskne, mask breath becoming concerns while wearing masks


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– Acne and bad breath. It isn’t the plot for a bad teenage movie, it’s actually some common complaints from people right now who are wearing a mask every day.

Grabbing a mask has become a normal part of our lives. Just like getting your keys, wallet and phone before leaving the house. However, adding the mask to your must-have list can come with a few side effects.

It’s important to wear one to keep ourselves and others safe, but we also want to keep our hygiene in order. So, how do we do that?

“Wearing a mask can lead to any kind of skin irritation, so that includes acne, dry skin, itching and even a rash,” Tatum Toland said with Radiance Medical Spa in Topeka.

This now has a name, maskne. It’s a combination of masks and acne. You may notice it as the increase in mask wearing could lead to pimples, blemishes and even dry skin.

“Heat and moisture in the mask, and then also just a mechanical irritation,” Toland said. “Just the mask rubbing on the face. And then even drawing good moisture away from the skin leading to dryness.”

It’s not just maskne that has become a concern for some. Mask breath is now a thing too.

“When you get that funky breath smell, and you’re like, ‘man, is that me?'” Brett Urban said with Rossville Family Dental. “You check, and you pull your mask down and then, ‘yeah…that is me!'”

We want to keep everyone safe by wearing a mask, but no one likes to be around bad breath either. So how do we accomplish both, keeping our skin healthy, and our dental hygiene in good shape? When it comes to the skin:

  • Wash your face more often and your mask if it’s cloth.
  • Avoid trying new skincare items, as that can also bring more blemishes since there is slight friction between the mask and your skin.
  • For dry skin, the right moisturizer can help.
  • As for makeup, skip it or modify where you put it.

“You could always do just a little makeup on your upper face to make your routine a little simpler every day,” Christina Wissman said with Radiance Medical Spa. “Skipping the makeup in the mask area really can help.”

As for your breath, there can be many reasons why it’s a little more noticeable while wearing a mask:

  • It could be because you aren’t brushing right.
  • The food you ate is still lingering.
  • You are breathing through your mouth.
    • Breathing through the mouth can cause dryness, which can then leave a rotten taste in the mouth, hence smelling it more while wearing the mask.

“If you’re at work, go to the bathroom really quick with your mask off,” Urban said. “Brush your teeth after you have lunch. Things like that where you are isolated from people, but definitely the mask is important to help try to delay the virus.”

So as we all get through this time, remember, it’s important to wear a mask when you’re in public and can’t social distance. If you see these problems popping up, be sure to wash reusable masks, and throw away the disposable ones, adding a little more TLC to your skin and dental hygiene.

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