By Maryna Gorge
Although face masks are essential in helping reduce the spread of COVID19, they can cause skin issues, like dryness, irritation and what experts call “maskne” (mask acne).
Mask Acne occurs when hair follicles become irritated and inflamed due to friction, pressure and occlusion, in response to cosmetics. A common example is heavy make-up.
Aside from pressure and rubbing, warmer weather and humidity cause increased sweating and oil production that clogs pores, making “maskne” more likely to develop. If you notice whiteheads around your nose, mouth and chin, it may be maskne.
Inflammatory skin conditions, such as rosacea and perioral dermatitis (which causes a red rash around the mouth), can be another cause due to increased mask use. Some people may experience allergic reactions to mask components and tears on the skin from prolonged use.
To avoid this issue,
Use gentle cleansers and moisturizers that contain hydrating ingredients naturally found in the skin barrier, like ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Moisturize your (around your nose, mouth and cheeks) at least 30 minutes prior to wearing the mask.
Avoid wearing make-up, using facial and cleansing oils, harsh toners and exfoliants because they may cause irritation and lead to inflammation.
For acne: use cleansers and spot treatments that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinoid.
For eczema and seborrheic dermatitis: use anti-inflammatory prescriptions, like stronger hydrocortisone creams.
For cuts, sores and abrasions: Apply white petroleum jelly to the affected areas before bedtime to help with healing.
The type of mask you’re wearing can definitely play a role in skin issues. Fabric masks and surgical masks are appropriate, however; synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester and rayon tend to be more irritating on the skin. They can also cause increased sweating and lead to breakouts. Use masks made of cotton or silk to avoid these issues.
A properly cleaned mask is a must. Clean your mask after every use. Cleanse the mask with fragrance-free detergent. It is important to keep your mask clean to avoid germs to ensure a healthy skin.