The "Maskne" microbiome - pathophysiology and therapeutics.

"Maskne" is a new term coined during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It refers to a subset of acne mechanica, deserving consideration in view of widespread reusable fabric mask-wearing to control the pandemic worldwide. Understanding of underlying pathophysiology directly relates to the novel skin microenvironment and textile-skin friction created by mask-wearing, distinct from nontextile-related acne mechanica previously linked to wearing of headgear. Specifically, the occlusive microenvironment leads to microbiome dysbiosis, which is linked to various dermatological conditions. Additional textile-skin interactions include factors such as breathability, stickiness sensations, moisture saturation, and hygiene maintenance. Increased skin temperatures can trigger sweat/heat-related dermatoses, and ear loops potentially trigger pressure-induced dermatoses. Important therapeutic considerations include increased skin irritation potential of conventional acne treatments under occlusion, exacerbation of chronic dermatoses, that is, perioral dermatitis, rosacea, and eczema, and susceptibility of these same patient groups to heightened discomfort with mask-wearing. Cotton, as the traditional fabric of choice for dermatology patients, has limited benefits in the context of face masks - increased subjective discomfort relates to increased moisture saturation and stickiness, inevitable because of high biofluid load of the nasal and oral orifices. Prolonged textile-skin contact time, directly proportional to the risk of maskne, can be an opportunity for the application of biofunctional textiles.

View the full article @ International journal of dermatology

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