wearing a face mask

As cities and businesses begin to reopen across the country, more and more people are wearing masks and other face coverings to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus. To enter grocery stores and other retail establishments, it is mandatory to have a mask in most places, with many people choosing to wear them even when not required.

We’ve all seen images of doctors and nurses whose faces are irritated and bruised from wearing their medical masks for long periods of time. Even though the average person does not wear a mask for more than an hour at a time, wearing masks can still cause skin irritations like rashes, acne and skin discoloration.

You might be wondering what causes these skin conditions under your mask and what you can do about it. In this article, we will share some tips to help you keep your skin clear and healthy while wearing a face mask.

Why Do Skin Irritations Occur Under a Face Mask

Face masks, especially medical-grade face masks, must be worn fitted in order to be effective. Breathing in and out causes an increase in temperature and humidity levels inside the mask. Paired with the pressure of the mask against the skin and natural production of sweat, the area behind a mask creates the perfect environment for skin irritation to occur.

In addition to heat and moisture, there are other reasons why people experience skin problems under their masks. Re-wearing a fabric mask again and again can cause a build-up of sweat, dirt and makeup that can contribute to clogged pores and irritation. Even the detergents and cleansers used to clean fabric masks can cause skin irritations.

5 Tips for Avoiding Acne and Other Skin Irritations From Wearing a Mask

We all want to do our part in stopping the COVID-19 outbreak as soon as possible. Wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways for us to do just that. However, we can still take steps to protect our skin from irritation, acne and other skin issues.

Here are some of our best tips for keeping your skin clear:

Keep your mask clean. We recommend choosing fabric masks that can be laundered. If possible, have multiple masks on hand so you always have a clean option available. Choose a laundry detergent that is gentle and safe for your skin. Avoid using harsh, chemical-laden soaps.

Avoid re-wearing your mask. If you are using disposable masks, limit the number of times they are re-worn. Ideally, these masks should be for one-time use only. If you must wear the mask multiple times, avoid wearing makeup and clean your skin with a cleanser or toner before putting on the mask and after you remove it. Spray the mask with alcohol before use to remove germs and bacteria.

Keep your skin clean. Use a gentle facial cleanser before putting on your mask, and as soon as you take it off. Keeping your skin clean and toned can calm inflammation, prevent acne and soothe dry skin.

Don’t skimp on moisture. If you are experiencing dry or chafed skin, always apply an oil-based moisturizer or balm. Ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil can create a protective layer between the mask and your skin, preventing uncomfortable irritation.

Avoid harsh skincare products.  When you are experiencing skin issues, it can be tempting to overdo it on treatments. Remember, when your skin is irritated or breaking out, gentle products that are free of harsh chemicals and fragrances should be your first choice. Do not introduce new products that you have not tested on your skin. This can lead to more inflammation and irritation.

When To Consult a Dermatologist

By following the tips above, many people will have positive results. However, if you find that your skin condition is not improving or is worsening, you should consult with a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist will be able to evaluate your skin and provide more aggressive treatments if necessary.

If you live in the Atlanta area and are experiencing skin issues like acne, dry skin or eczema, contact Buckhead Dermatology in Atlanta and College Park. Dr. Sherrie Straughn has been serving the Atlanta community for over 25 years. Dr. Straughn is one of the most respected and recommended dermatologists in the area.

Contact Buckhead Dermatology to schedule your appointment today.

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