Face masks are essential and proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, as long-term use of face masks has become more prevalent than ever, some are starting to notice skin issues related to wearing masks. We’re here to lay out methods on how to prevent and treat acne from wearing a face mask.
Certain materials may be too abrasive for the face, such as masks made from polyester. Cloth masks made from cotton or even surgical masks may be better for those experiencing skin irritation due to mask material. One important thing to note is that you should not remove your mask until you are at home or in a secure and distanced area, and immediately wash or dispose of your soiled mask.
Those with sensitive skin tend to be more acne-prone. Those experiencing contact dermatitis due to frequent face mask use may find the cause of the problem to be not the mask itself but the cleanliness of the mask. When wearing washable masks, it is important to put your mask in the laundry bin (or wash separately) after each use. Make sure to wash with a fragrance-free detergent, as it is possible for sensitive skin to react to the chemicals added for fragrant purposes. If you do not have time in your schedule to frequently wash masks, disposable masks may be the way to go. An option for those who wear masks for extended periods of time, such as health care workers and other essential workers, is to use a liquid skin barrier to protect the skin from sweat and debris that could clog pores. This can also protect the skin from too much friction from the fabric rubbing.
The first step in proper hygiene regardless of wearing a mask is to cleanse the skin. Wash your face before wearing a face mask with a gentle cleanser— nothing too abrasive, so as not to irritate the skin. Next, apply salicylic acid to the acne-affected area. You can use a cotton ball for this. This acid will break down and dry out the acne. Follow up with benzoyl peroxide, which will help to kill the bacteria prolonging the life of acne on your face. Finally, you may choose to put a light coat of hydrocortisone cream, which has a small amount of steroids in it. This can speed up the healing process with its anti-inflammatory properties. If you prefer to go a gentler route, aloe vera can also reduce inflammation.
Once you have applied everything in the careful and correct order, apply a small bandage to your acne to seal in the products you have applied and to prevent yourself from further irritating the area with accidental touching or rubbing. This method can also be used before bedtime. When you wake up in the morning, you may notice that your acne has shrunk or has emerged to the surface of your face rather than deep in your pores. Both are good signs that you are making progress.
Here is a recap of the steps in order:
Gently cleanse your face
Apply salicylic acid
Apply benzoyl peroxide
Apply anti-inflammatory cream or aloe vera
Cover with a band-aid
Get Seen by a Dermatology Specialist
At Beaumont Dermatology, you can take any questions about your specific skin concerns to a professional who can give unique insight into your skin’s condition and needs. If you have a concern about acne from wearing a face mask, do not hesitate to share this information at your next appointment! Schedule now at https://bmtdermandfamily.com/.