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Spot of bother - frontline workers suffer 'maskne' breakouts

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Facemasks have been causing skin problems

Facemasks have been causing skin problems

PA

Facemasks have been causing skin problems

Frontline workers have lots to contend with - now they have a new problem to face: 'maskne'.

Dermatologists are seeing frontline workers who wear masks for long periods of time, such as healthcare or retail workers, battle breakouts of spots - being referred to as 'maskne' - on their chins, cheeks and noses.

According to skin therapist Eavanna Breen, who owns Akina Beauty Clinic in Lower Leeson Street, people who have never suffered with acne or oily skin are suddenly battling breakouts.

"The natural barrier on the skin which has lots of natural bacteria on it - good or bad bacteria - it's been aggravated," she told the Herald.

"That aggravation, the extra warmth and moisture in a heated environment with the mask, is causing a build-up of bacteria which is causing the problem.

"It's not just people who have had acne before who are getting it, it's clients who never had problems with their skin before.

"It seems to be more the people who are wearing their masks for long periods of time.

"The person who's just putting the mask on to go to the shop, it doesn't seem to be that much of a problem," she said.

To battle the new skincare nightmare, the skin therapist says that choosing a mask that is cotton-based and changing it every two to four hours will help prevent conditions the bacteria thrive in.

"I would say changing it every two to four hours would be fine."

She added that there were a number of things to look out for.

Tips

"The usual things, like when wearing a cloth mask, don't wear it on a regular basis.

"Also make sure you're changing them up and washing them properly. Try to find one that suits your own skin.

"Ideally, the mask should be cotton-based, but even those ones can be quite heavy on the skin. The disposable ones are more ideal from that point of view, but then you have the issue of the environment.

"I think using the disposable ones and changing them more frequently is a good thing to do, until the skin settles down," she explained.

Eavanna also advises people to follow a few other steps, such as putting in place a mild skincare routine, wearing sunscreen and not picking at spots.

"For this kind of acne, I think it's better to strip back all the active ingredients and go back to a very gentle skin care routine," she said.

"Don't pick at the spots because it can cause long-term damage and even scarring."