While masks are crucial for stopping the spread of COVID-19, for certain people, they have brought forth a much smaller, but very inconvenient problem.
"We're seeing lots of flares of acne, especially a type called perioral dermatitis, which tends to happen typically around the mouth and in the areas around the nose," said board certified Dr. Seemal Desai, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
With our daily lives taking on a new norm, our skin's health is now being compromised as a result of wearing masks so often.
Masks are undoubtedly the safest way to protect ourselves and others from the pandemic, but they are very irritating on our skin and lead to skin issues such as maskne. So, what is "maskne"?
Maskne are breakouts caused from constant heat and friction, lack of breathability, sweat and blocked pores. Oxygen is essential for our skin's health; our skin relies on oxygen to help maintain our skin barrier. This is why oxygen facials are becoming so popular nowadays. With the skin barrier compromised, sweat and humidity within the mask enter the skin and clog our pores, resulting in acne.
There are ways to manage maskne and help your skin make a come back.
A great way to reduce the pain, inflammation and redness from inflamed skin is incorporating Velež Intense Hydration Masks into your skin routine. In just 20 minutes, the mask visible reduces redness and swelling, lessening the effect of permanent scarring. The mask provides instant hydration supply for up to 4 hours, and contains no added ingredients, parabens, chemicals, or fragrance, making it 100% suitable for sensitive skin.
Wash your Masks
It is recommended to wash all face masks after each use, and own multiple masks in order to have a clean one on hand while the others are in the washer.
Ryan Sinclair, PhD, MPH, associate professor of environmental microbiology at Loma Linda University School of Public Health states that fabric, when not properly disinfected, are carriers for both bacteria and viruses.
Sinclair says pathogens like bacteria and viruses can live on cloth fabric for longer than one may think — up to 8-12 hours. “It is crucial to regularly wash, sanitize and dry reusable face masks,” Sinclair says.
Know your Skin Type
Some people may be unsure about what skin type they have, or even the different skin types that there are.
Skin types range from oily, dry, or combination, which means your skin is oily in some areas but dry in others. If you find yourself with oily skin, using a face wash with salicylic acid is great for drying out acne and prevent acne from arising and don't forget to moisturize. Many people believe that moisturizing causes oily skin, but if you are using salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in your regime, it is a must to moisturize to keep skin from drying out and keep skin regulated.
For those with dry skin, incorporating more moisturizer creams to provide a seal over your skin to keep moisture from escaping, is ideal. It is also important to use gentle, fragrance-free skin-care products since many products have chemicals and stripping agents that dry out the skin even more. If you have combination skin, use a gentle cleanser twice a day, moisturize using a light-weight, water-based formula in the areas that are the most dry.
And in general, always use sunscreen, no matter what skin type you have.