The Exchange

Commentary and Observations from
the Medical Front Lines

Sign of the Times: Facial Mask Irritation

Sign of the Times: Facial Mask Irritation

Masks trap moisture, sweat, oil, and dirt close to our skin. The resulting blemishes often include acne: small, inflamed bumps and irritation. Those irritations in fact have become so common that mask acne has now been dubbed "maskne." Even the simple act of breathing or talking while wearing a mask increases moisture, which ends up changing our skin's natural pH.

Skin care is essential in treating the irritation brought on by wearing masks. Facial cleansing with gentle products twice a day is important, making sure to avoid any products that will dry or irritate the skin. Do not scrub or use products containing "grit," as that will just make the problem worse. Instead, focus on calming or nourishing products and apply moisturizers that help repair and maintain the skin barrier. Another tip is to change your mask daily and wash it between uses with detergent, hot water, and a bit of white vinegar—white vinegar is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has recommendations on properly washing masks with bleach solutions. And finally, always wash your hands before touching your mask.


Filed under: Dermatology

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