Go to page content

Get Rid of Pesky Acne on Chin aka Maskne

Have you been getting acne on the chin and the areas around it? Learn the causes and how to prevent them.

A woman opening her protective face mask

Have you been getting acne on the chin and the surrounding areas, especially after wearing a face mask? If you answer yes, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people have been experiencing the same thing, especially over the last few years. This phenomenon is called “maskne”, which is short for “mask acne.” 

As the name suggests, it’s the kind of acne that appears on the faces of mask wearers. What causes it, and is there a way to prevent it? 

Maskne: More than Just Acne on Chin 

In 2020, the whole world changed, and a new normal began. Several years ago, people would only wear face masks to protect themselves from air pollution or heavy smoke and debris in the air. But post pandemic, face masks became a mandatory item to limit the spread of COVID-19. With that, another issue arose: acne, specifically acne on the chin. 

From January to February 2020, mask-wearing physicians and nurses in Hubei, China, were asked to fill in an online questionnaire. It included questions about their skin condition. Results revealed that 97% of responders had damaged skin caused by their protective equipment. This data indicates that a prolonged use of face masks has a significantly negative impact on our skin’s health. 

In contrast to its new name, maskne is an old problem. Dermatologists usually refer to it by its medical name, which is acne mechanica. This variant is one of the seven most common types of acne

Acne mechanica used to be prevalent among athletes and workers who wear helmets with chin straps. But now, anyone can suffer from this type of acne.

How Acne on Chin and Other Areas Develop

A man wearing a mask and earphones while crossing the street
Maskne affects both men and women.

Your mask is not the sole culprit of your maskne problem. It develops due to several reasons: 

Mask-skin friction 

We wear our masks for many hours a day. On many occasions, the inside of your mask will rub against the skin of your face. When this happens, it can irritate the small hair follicles. Eventually, it can trigger skin inflammation and acne. 

Humid environment 

We’re not just talking about Malaysia’s hot and humid weather but also the environment inside the mask. When you breathe, talk, or sweat, moisture from the nose and mouth will accumulate, making it humid and easier for bacteria to breed and cause acne. 

Repeated use of the same mask 

Residue from cosmetics, sweat stains, skin oils, and dead skin cells can collect inside the mask. This can create clogged pores. Using the same mask repeatedly may cause acne.

Damp-Heat Constitution

TCM believes that your body constitution influences your physical state. For example, people with Heaty constitution tend to have, among others, oily skin and, therefore, skin that is prone to acne.

In TCM, Damp-Heat constitution is the pathological basis of acne. Influenced by external factors, Damp-Heat constitution can lead to acne in the three pattern types, including Lung meridian Wind-Heat, Spleen and stomach Damp-Heat, and Phlegm Stasis Congestion and Stagnation. 

Unbalanced diet 

An unhealthy diet can further worsen this skin condition. A diet high in sugar and processed foods such as potato chips, biscuits, candy, and white bread, is a recipe for acne on chin.

From TCM’s point of view, greasy foods can induce acne as it can stimulate Heat accumulation in the Spleen and stomach. This process messes up the digestive system and triggers excessive sebum secretion. 

How to Prevent Maskne

Wear a mask that fits you to avoid acne on chin.
Wear a mask that fits you to avoid acne on chin.

There are five ways to prevent acne from developing around your chin, cheeks, and nose bridge. 

1. Take a break from your mask 

Every four hours, take off your mask for 15 minutes. It is said that healthcare workers usually do this to give their skin a chance to breathe. Remember to wash your hands first and take them off in safe spaces (for example, outdoors, alone in a car or at home). 

2. Choose a good mask 

Make sure your mask fits you as a comfortable fit protects you and reduces skin problems. If it is too tight or frequently slides off, it will rub against your face often and irritate the skin.

3. Change your mask  

Replace your disposable mask regularly. Doing this can prevent bacteria from coming into contact with your skin and give better protection against COVID-19

4. Use gentle and mild skincare  

Products with fragrances, too many chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide, sulfates and parabens, aggressive exfoliators and topical acids can irritate your skin faster. Pick gentle, fragrance-free mild cleansers and moisturisers to eliminate dry skin. 

When it comes to makeup, choose the products labelled as non-comedogenic so they won’t clog your pores. Better yet, if possible, don’t wear makeup underneath your mask.

5. Eat a balanced diet 

Consuming foods containing good fats is good for your overall well-being, including skin health. Bird’s nest (yan wo, 燕窝) can improve skin health and restore moisture and youthfulness, while pearl powder contains amino acids that stimulate skin cells to produce collagen, promote cellular repair and encourage hydration. Another supplement to take is snow fungus (yin’er, 银耳). It hinders the production of melanin which can cause freckles and uneven skin tone, has skin-moisturising effects, and promotes wound-healing.

Additionally, TCM cooling foods like mung beans (lu dou, 绿豆) and lily bulb decoction (Bai He Gu Jin Tang, 百合固金汤) can boost the Lungs and relieve inflammation. Tremella peach gum (tao jiao, 桃胶) can strengthen the Spleen and hydrate the body.  

6. Acupuncture and moxibustion therapies

TCM also recommends a combination of natural remedies with facial acupuncture and moxibustion to expel extra Heat from the body. TCM and acupuncture can also find the root cause of your body’s inflammation and Heat, which helps increase the body’s resilience and restore healthy skin quickly. For an accurate prescription of herbal remedies and therapies, seek the advice of a qualified TCM physician.

It might be difficult to avoid maskne on the chin and other parts of the face. However, there are ways to minimise it. Maintain good hygiene, eat well, try herbal remedies, and most importantly, be gentle with your skin. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “中医教你改善口罩痘,恢复健康皮肤”, which first appeared on the Health123 website.

References

  1. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2020. Skin damage among health care workers managing coronavirus disease-2019. [Accessed on 30 August 2022] 
  2. Yale Medicine. 2020. Maskne: What Is It and How Do You Prevent It? [Accessed on 30 August 2022] 
  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. 2020. 9 ways to prevent face mask skin problems. [Accessed on 30 August 2022] 

Share this article on

Was This Article Useful to You?

Want more healthy tips?

Get All Things Health in your mailbox today!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related Articles

Woman wearing surgical face mask coughing and holding her chest
Health & Balance

8 Herbs to Manage Symptoms of COVID-19

With newer COVID-19 variants continuing the pandemic, more of us are getting infected. Learn about a few of the herbs that can help with symptoms of COVID-19.

Read More
An Asian man with a dad bod figure is touching his protruding stomach
Health & Balance

Does Having a "Dad Bod" Put Your Health at Risk?

The world has come to embrace the “dad bod” as an endearing body type that exemplifies the loving family man. Find out if it possesses health issues.

Read More
A man sitting on the toilet and appearing to be in pain
Health & Balance

Living with Ulcerative Colitis: What You Can Do

A lifelong disease, ulcerative colitis, can disrupt a patient’s quality of life. Here are several ways you can manage the disease and prevent flare-ups.

Read More

The contents of the All Things Health website are for informational and educational purposes only.
Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.