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“Maskne” & Other Skin Concerns Resulting From Mask Use…

Wearing a face mask is essential for protecting others against Covid-19. It is one of the few tools we have to prevent transmission other than quarantining, but it can also cause or worsen existing skin concerns.

“Maskne” is the term for new-onset or worsening acne that occurs mostly under the mask or where the cover contacts the face. Mask wear can also cause dry skin and irritation, as well as increased sensitivity to products on the skin or in the mask.

While everyone must decide what type of mask is best for their individual health status and exposure, for the general public, cotton masks are breathable and washable and may be the best option for safety as well as for skin problems.

A gentle skin care regimen can help with all of the problems brought on by long-term mask use. Using a mild facial cleanser such as Avene, Cetaphil, Cerave or micellular water, and using only the fingertips and not scrubbing with a washcloth or cleansing cloth can help to alleviate skin concerns. It is also important not to wash too frequently, but to cleanse soon after you remove the face mask for the day. This will help wash away sweat, grime, and any accumulated substances. Immediately after cleansing, apply a moisturizer (non- comedogenic or gel if acne-prone, cream or lotion if dry). If there are patches of raw, irritated skin, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to these spots.

If the skin is irritated, you should either stop using any products that can irritate the skin, use less of these products, or only use them at night. A mask will intensify the effects of any products and can lead to more irritation. These products include acne treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids, anti- aging products, peels or scrubs. For men, aftershave can also cause irritation.

Stop wearing make-up under the mask! Cosmetics can lead to more irritation, clogged pores, and breakouts. If you must use something, a lightly tinted mineral sunscreen is recommended.

Wash your mask regularly (daily if used for more than a few minutes). This will strip oil, dirt, and bacteria away. Use non-scented soap and no dryer sheets. Air drying is also an option.

For darker shades of skin, acne can cause dark marks that take weeks or months to fade. Products with soy, glycolic acid or fading ingredients can help, but these can often be irritating, so start slow and do not use the mask right after using glycolic acid or fading products.

If you continue to have skin concerns after implementing these recommendations or you have any questions about products, please contact us, we are here for you!

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