Masks and face-coverings are a necessary accessory we must wear when we venture outside of our homes to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.
To make the task of covering our mouths and noses more bearable or enjoyable, many of these masks come available in an array of designs and colors. Although they might be entertaining, or even cute, walking about with your mouth and nose covered (especially when the mercury exceeds 90 degrees) can have a negative effect on your skin.
The combination of the warm atmosphere and the heat from your body during respiration mixed with sweat, oil, and even make-up is a recipe for dermatological disaster.
That disaster is—and here’s a new word to add to your lexicon—maskne!
Maskne is acne and irritation around the nose, mouth, cheeks, and chin, as a result of wearing a mask.
Like me, you’re probably suffering from it right now and didn’t know there was a name for it. Frontline workers, especially those in healthcare, suffer the most.
If you already suffer from skin issues, wearing masks can exacerbate them or create new ones.
There is good news. You can manage maskne by using some or all of these easy tactics:
- A mask made of cotton or other breathable material is best to let your skin breathe.
- Try to clean your face with a gentle cleanser of plain water if you sweat under your mask throughout the day, but be careful not to overwash your face.
- Keep your mask clean. After daily use, be sure to wash your mask. Better yet, have multiple masks and change as needed. Disposable masks work too, but they are not recyclable.
- Adjust your skincare routine. Just like when you wear gloves or socks on your feet after applying a skin moisturizer, wearing a mask will intensify product delivery to your skin. Your skincare products may need to be altered or change when you apply them.
- Less is more. A make-up free or reduced make-up face will be one less thing on your skin to contribute to the irritation.
If none of the above tactics work, there are plenty of over-the-counter products specially formulated to treat skin problems. To be sure you are using the right product for your skin condition, you might consider enlisting the help of a dermatologist licensed through the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Medical Board of California or Osteopathic Medical Board, to save face.