How Face Masks Can Irritate Your Skin

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How do face masks cause acne and skin damage?

Wearing masks has become all too familiar since 2020 and unfortunately can are a common source of skin irritation referred to as Mask Acne or "Maskne". It is real concern for many of us but here are related details and some simple tips that can help minimize their negative effects on your skin. 

Skin damage from wearing masks usually affects healthcare workers. But now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend everyone wear masks in public, we are all at risk. Masks provide a layer of protection. But they can also chafe and irritate the skin, clog pores, and flare acne.

There are three main ways masks cause breakouts:

1) RUBBING

Masks can cause irritation through friction and chafing, almost like rug burn. The areas most at risk are the bridge of the nose and where elastic bands hit behind the ears. Over time, tightly fitting masks can put enough pressure on the skin to cause it to breakdown.

2) IRRITATION

The material of a mask absorbs the skin’s natural oils. For some people, this leads to dryness and sensitivity. Residue from detergents and fabric softeners also gets stuck underneath the mask and can cause irritation. When irritation becomes inflammation, you see redness, dry patches, peeling, or dark marks. If you have a skin condition like rosacea or psoriasis, the inflammation can make it flare.

3) OCCLUSION

Masks can cause irritation through friction and chafing, almost like rug burn. The areas most at risk are the bridge of the nose and where elastic bands hit behind the ears. Over time, tightly fitting masks can put enough pressure on the skin to cause it to breakdown.
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The Good News: We Can Help!

Their are quite a few treatments available. However, the best treatment is prevention. Here are a few tips from our experts:

Keep your face clean

Washing your face in the morning and at night will prevent the build up of bacteria, oil, and other pore-clogging elements. Make sure to keep clear of the super-drying acne face washes. This is because, after hours of rubbing and chafing, your skin will need a gentler product to keep the skin barrier intact.

Avoid drying products

When protecting your skin from annoying irritations, it is essential to support the skin barrier. That said, drying products can make your skin even more vulnerable to bacteria and breakouts. It may be time to open your medicine cabinet and take a break from some of your products. Create a simple skin care routine and use more calming and nourishing products.

Moisturizer

While probably common knowledge, we also recommend moisturizing the skin regularly. A lot of people with acne or redness are hesitant to moisturize the area as they think that will cause it to break out more. However, if you have dry skin, then you have already compromised the skin barrier. Dry skin is more prone to breaking out and having sensitive skin irritation.

Less, or no, makeup

Without your mask, your makeup is usually flawless, tasteful, and a gives your confidence a boost. The problem is that foundation, blush, lipstick, and other formulas mix with sweat, oil, and the condensation from your breath. That makes a serious pore-clogging environment under your mask! It might be hard, but lay off the makeup on the bottom half of your face, the part covered with your mask. The problems won't be worth it. Just don't forget the eye shadow and mascara!

Hand hygiene

Apart from being one of the best ways to avoid COVID-19, you need to be frequently washing your hands. The oils and microscopic grime on your hands will introduce irritants to your face. Since you are touching your face more often, due to the mask, you are bringing that dirt to your face and pores. Make sure to use lukewarm water and soap

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