CLEVELAND — Masks are crucial when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19, but wearing them for hours on end could cause breakouts around your mouth or nose, some on social media coining the phrase “maskne.”
It’s becoming a common complaint dermatologists are hearing.
Dr. Kord Honda with University Hospitals said first you should determine what type of skin problem you’re having.
Sometimes acne is caused from the mask rubbing on hair follicles and clogging your hair follicles around your face.
“Anytime we have contact with our skin, with different products, you can get irritation,” he said.
In that case, you’d want to make sure you’re washing your face at least one to two times a day with a gentle face wash, no harsh scrubs and look for something that is non-oily.
You also need to make sure you’re moisturizing at least once a day, but not with anything too heavy. You should stay away from Vasoline or oily moisturizers.
If you believe your irritation is more of a flaky, itchy rash, that could be an allergic reaction called allergic contact dermatitis, when your skin reacts to a certain substance in the mask or a fabric.
“They should pay attention to what clothing they find that irritates them or is not irritating,” said Dr. Honda. “In general, a lot of people can tolerate cotton pretty well and some people may be more sensitive to dyes or perfumes, so making sure you're not getting those products on your mask would also be helpful.”
It’s also important to either change out your mask frequently or wash it frequently—every time you wear it you’re getting dirt and bacteria on it.
But Dr. Honda stresses, with small changes in your routine, you can control a skin reaction to your mask and it shouldn’t deter you from wearing one.