The Maskne Epidemic: What’s Really Causing the Acne Around Your Mouth?

Wearing a mask has become a temporary component of our societal norm. Although masks are vital for preventing the spread of COVID-19, they’re not always friendly for our complexion. 

But chances are, your pimples are popping (up) around your pout for more reasons than constant mask wear.

What Causes Acne Around My Mouth?

Your skin is incredibly smart. By looking at where acne typically forms, we are able to diagnose and then properly treat breakouts, based on the root cause. For the mouth, common triggers such as diet and hormones come into play, but here are a few common factors that contribute to acne breakouts around the mouth.

#1. You’re Talking Too Closely to Your Dirty Phone.

If we’re honest, the majority of us aren’t cleaning and sanitizing our electronics as much as we are other frequently-used surfaces. However, your phone is covered by almost 26,000 germs per square inch! This is far filthier than a toilet seat. Try to use speakerphone or wireless headphones more often if you can. Otherwise, wipe down your phone with screen wipes at least once per day. 

#2. Your Toothpaste. Surprised?

Cleaning your teeth, but clogging your pores?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a common ingredient in popular toothpastes. And while it’s highly effective for teeth whitening, it could be wreaking havoc on your skin if you’re getting messy when brushing. 

Avoid SLS altogether if you can. 

Many people who decided to make the switch from a toothpaste formulated with SLS noted they experienced not only clearer skin in the mouth area but fewer canker sores and even a more pure tongue!

#3. Your PH is Off-Balance.

There are only 2 spectrums to the PH scale, which is to say, healthy versus unhealthy. And that’s alkaline vs. acidic. 

When your body is too acidic, it’ll show through the skin. And one of the most common signs is when the pimples appear around the mouth. 

Dietary triggers are the main culprit for the cause of imbalanced PH. Get yourself back in check by (slowly) cutting back on acidic foods such as simple sugar, coffee, processed grains, etc, and opt for fruits or a fresh smoothie when your sugar cravings hit.

#4. Hormones.

I’m sure this one comes to no surprise, however, it’s important to note that breakouts around the mouth and chin are a common indicator that your hormones are off-balance. For example, when women are in the luteal (premenstrual) phase of their cycle, the body is producing higher levels of testosterone, and those androgens stimulate sebum, which is the substance that clogs pores. 

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to heal hormonal acne, but frequent professional facials, and focusing on lowering your stress may help. Just understand your body is riding the wave, and that you’ll make it out soon.

Helpful Hints

Breakouts are never fun, no matter where they want to show up. But being that we do a lot with our mouths, pimples here cause additional sorrow. 

Take control where you can by exfoliating 1-2 times per week. Using a gentle scrub helps to slough away dead skin, and decongest pores. 

As mentioned earlier, your diet plays a significant role in your skin health too. Especially when it comes to the mouth. Incredibly greasy or fatty foods may temporarily improve your mood, but easily contribute to stressed skin. Juice lovers beware too, as citrus is highly acidic as well.

So, while the maskne epidemic is valid and real, much more could be contributing to your mouth acne than your new-found facial accessory. It’s important to always look at and treat your skin from a holistic approach-- seeing where the acne forms as a messenger of your overall health.

Seeking a long-term solution for your acne? Schedule a consultation with our Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Villacorta today.

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