study on mask acne mental health impacts and acne treatment

Jennifer E. Engen

A research team out of the United States, Beri et al, recently published an article in Cosmetics summarizing the research on mental health impacts of acne caused by masks worn during the pandemic and what can be learned about acne treatment going forward.

The wearing of surgical or cloth masks has been mandated by governments around the world to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and some people have chosen to voluntarily wear masks after mandates have ended to protect themselves.

According to Beri et al, the term “maskne,” meaning mask acne, has become popular online as consumers experience acne and skin irritation caused by sweat and microbes against the jaw, cheeks and mouth while wearing a mask.

“It was shown that the use of protective face masks caused adverse reactions on the skin of 454 different patients,”​ Beri et al said. “It was also found within these cases that acne was the most prevalent disease (399 cases), followed by rashes on the face (154 cases) and itching symptoms (130 cases).”

An Italian study cited by Beri et al found that among healthcare professionals surgical face masks increased dermatological pathology by nearly 65% and 33% for FFP2 no-valve masks.

Mental health impacts of maskne

Beri et al said recent studies have found skin inflammation can cause mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and lack of self-esteem. 

Nearly 10% of people worldwide experience acne, making it a common skin disease, though the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that around 85% of people between 12 and 24 suffer from acne.

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