Have you noticed changes in your skin from wearing a mask to help reduce the spread of COVID-19? You're not the only one. Acne and irritation in the area the mask covers are common complaints from many, including doctors and nurses on the front lines of the pandemic, according to a recent article published on Today.com.
Many medical professionals and other essential works have shown their bruised and irritated faces on social media and mentioned their irritation is a result of wearing a face mask for long hours.
Why are masks irritating the skin?
"When masks are properly fitted and worn correctly, they create a seal over the mouth and nose to prevent air from coming in," said Dr. Mayli Davis of Colleyville, Texas.
When this area is sealed, the temperature and humidity around your nose and mouth area increase, and so do skin issues.
"Pressure on the skin, sweat and humidity can make the skin break down, cause irritation and discomfort, and also result in breaks in the skin, which can trigger trauma lines, premature aging, skin discoloration and breakouts," Davis said.
It's not just surgical or medical masks that can cause issues; homemade nonsurgical masks can also present problems of their own.
"Although the fabric is more breathable and softer, they still can cause irritation and dryness," Davis said. Fabrics can also absorb facial oils, but then hold them against the skin, causing irritation and pimples, especially if you're already prone to acne.
So, what can you do?
Davis recommends removing your mask as soon as you can and washing your face.
"After cleansing, add a soothing moisturizer," Davis said.
Skip skin products that contain retinol.
"Retinol could further inflame your skin," Davis said.
For individuals living with inflammatory or chronic skin conditions, including rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, a trip to the dermatologist may be in order.
"These conditions could flare with regular mask use, but they should be treated so you can wear a mask comfortably and still have healthy and comfortable skin," Davis said.
Other tips to keep your skin calm after wearing a mask?
"Wear a clean mask," Davis said.
She also recommends applying a quality oil-based moisturizer or balm to help create a barrier between the skin and the mask.
What about makeup?
"Makeup can help protect the skin because it creates an extra barrier, but remove it after taking your mask off, so it doesn't clog pores," Davis said.
Source: Today.com. How to avoid acne from wearing face masks. 23 April 2020.