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Do you have maskne or maskitis?

Move over maskne – maskitis is the latest Covid-related skin concern

Is your face covering irritating the hell out of your skin? Turns out you may not have maskne after all – according to US-based dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross, maskne and maskitis are commonly confused and treated incorrectly, leading to further skin irritation.

Dr. Gross says: "There are two main skin conditions caused by protective face coverings: maskne and what I have coined as maskitis. While they may appear similar on the surface, they are actually two very different skin reactions. And most importantly, they require two different treatments.”

Maskitis is often confused with maskne, which is acne that forms around the mouth and nose caused by Covid-19 protection such as face masks or shields. Conversely, maskitis is a skin rash, marked by small bumps, redness, inflammation and dry, flaky skin. Noting the difference is important because misdiagnosis can lead to further skin irritation.

"I have seen countless patients come into my practice thinking they have maskne when they actually have maskitis. For treatment, they are reaching for acne products which is causing further irritation and inflammation," Dr. Gross says.

"Instead, they need a product that is soothing, decreases inflammation and rebalances skin. I recommend looking for products with superfoods, adaptogens and niacinamide.”

Those who are prone to eczema and dermatitis are more likely to develop maskitis, while those with oily or acneic skin are much more likely to experience maskne.

"It's important to note that all have our unique genetic predispositions for conditions. Some people are more likely to develop maskne while others see maskitis. It is not a one size fits all situation," Dr. Gross says.

"In my practice, I am seeing more and more patients come with maskitis – however they are commonly mistaking their condition for maskne. Correctly identifying which of the conditions is key to selecting products to treat your concern.”