"Maskne": why it's happening and how to prevent it

Wearing a mask has become our "new normal," whether it's to school or to shop. But as we cover our mouths and noses to help curb the spread of COVID-19, some of us are uncovering a new problem: mask-related acne, or what some are calling "maskne."

The problem is the mask is trapping hot air and germs. 

"Sweat, bacteria, heat, all of that accumulates and essentially creates the perfect storm for bacteria to multiply and that's when we're seeing acne," says Cleveland Clinic Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal. 

To reduce the risk of developing "maskne", the doctor recommends wearing a 100% cotton mask, which is more breathable. It's also important to clean your mask daily to wash away bacteria and sweat.

If you're using a medical mask she recommends changing it each day. She also advises against wearing heavy makeup under a mask because it may cause irritation and get trapped in your skin.

Instead, opt for something with lightweight coverage, like a tinted moisturizer or sunscreen. And look for one that's oil-free and won't clog pores.

And when you take your mask off for the night, wash your face with a gentle cleanser. If you're getting breakouts, a lot of over-the-counter products might help, too.

"You can certainly try over-the-counter treatment. Ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid - these all come in a cleanser or leave-on forms. That's definitely a good place to start."

Acne treatments can be irritating and drying, so a gentle moisturizer at night is sometimes a good idea. 

And if it gets really bad, a dermatologist can be a great ally. Sometimes more time and money with the trial and error of over-the-counter products.