Tags: Health Topics | skin | acne | masks

How to Protect Your Skin While Wearing a Mask

three women are shown wearing facial masks
(Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 01 June 2020 02:47 PM

Dermatologists are seeing an alarming increase in cases of acne and other skin irritations caused by wearing masks and face coverings.

Stress raises the levels of the hormone cortisol in our bodies which makes skin oily. The oil is entrapped by the mask, along with humidity from your breath and sweat from the heat, causing a perfect storm for minor skin complications such as acne breakouts, eczema and rosacea and other general skin irritations. Healthcare providers and essential workers who have to wear masks for an extended period of time may also suffer more severe symptoms such as painful skin breakage, chafing and abrasions.

According to Vox, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised the pubic to wear masks in public, some states have issued mask mandates that require residents to wear face coverings in certain settings. So even though you have mask-related skin problems, it is not an option to forgo the mask.

Jessica Wu, a dermatologist from Los Angeles, told Vox that people with sensitive skin should avoid wearing masks made of synthetic materials like polyester or spandex as well as wool.

“I’ve seen people running around with these wool neck gaiters and wraps they wear skiing,” she said. “Don’t wear that.”

She recommended fabrics that are breathable such as cotton, bamboo or natural silk to reduce the risk of irritation. With warmer weather upon us, people who wear masks while exercising outdoors may find that the sweat trapped between their mask and face leads to skin breakouts.

Wu said washing your face with a gentle cleanser and soap before donning a mask and using an oil-free makeup primer or moisturizer to give your skin an extra layer of protection can help keep skin clean and clear.

CNBC added that if you are washing your cloth mask, your detergent may be causing the skin irritation. If the entire area of your face that’s covered by the mask has a rash, switch to a fragrance-free detergent.

Vox warned that as the coronavirus pandemic continues, masks may become a way of life like they are in East Asia. Wu said that her patients are becoming more diligent about their skin care and mindful about wearing masks properly.

“There next big concern might be mask tans,” she said.

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Dermatologists are seeing an alarming increase in cases of acne and other skin irritations caused by wearing masks and face coverings.
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2020-47-01
Monday, 01 June 2020 02:47 PM
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