Wearing a mask is just part of the new normal as everyone redesigns their lives around social distancing and mask wearing. However, some challenges need to be addressed. Wearing a mask may be uncomfortable for some, but it also causes skin irritation and acne for people of all ages. Fortunately, developing acne from a mask is easy to treat with just a few best practices.
Why Is My Mask Causing Acne?
One reason masks are causing acne for so many people is that something new is touching the face. Anyone with sensitive skin can experience irritation from light friction, such as cloth rubbing on the face for 20 minutes or more. For those wearing masks for longer periods, irritation is almost inevitable.
Masks may be made of fabric that will irritate the skin more than other materials. Not everyone realizes that many fabrics are treated with irritants to help them hold their shape or last longer, and this can be irritating if the fabric wasn’t made to be worn on the face.
Properly wearing a mask means the wearer is creating a humid environment around their mouth and nose. Humidity can be a breeding ground for some bacteria that causes acne breakouts.
Finally, reusable masks are encouraged to keep costs down. They also help the population avoid further strain on the environment due to irresponsible mask waste. Properly washing a face mask can be a new experience, leading many to cope with dirty masks that cause irritation and acne.
What Can I Do to Prevent My Mask From Causing Acne?
Great question. It turns out there are lots of great answers that will end acne from masks and restore your complexion.
Choose the Right Mask
While many rushed to make a mask out of an old T-shirt they stored in a miscellaneous bottom drawer of their dresser, we now know that more features are needed to keep everyone safe and healthy. The best possible choice is something with a few layers. In response to acne, the innermost layer should be hydrophilic, meaning it wicks away moisture that can build up inside the mask. This will help to keep humidity down.
Those suffering from mask-related acne should also consider selecting a mask with nano-silver technology. Used in fabrics such as baby blankets and many materials in the medical field, nano-technology is a safe, effective way to combat bacteria. Materials infused with Nano-Silver Technology provide a natural defense against bacteria and have antimicrobial features, giving irritated skin an added defense against acne.
Wash Your Mask Correctly
While some masks are machine washable, most people choose to hand wash their masks to extend their lives and avoid washing away important finishes on the fabric, such as that Nano-Silver Technology discussed earlier.
When hand washing your mask, be sure to wash all layers to remove bacteria that may be hiding in the seams and within the material. Use a scent- and dye-free soap that will sanitize your mask. Then, rinse thoroughly. By removing all the soap, you rinse away bacteria and irritating debris. Finally, set your mask in the sun to dry, if you’re able. The sun’s rays have been shown to kill the coronavirus as well as skin irritants such as bacteria and fungus. If you don’t have a dust-free, sunny area available, simply place your mask on an absorbent towel in a drawer where it will be free from dust, pollen and pet dander for at least three days.
Since this process requires several reusable masks for those who need to use a mask daily, be sure masks dry without being stacked on each other. The idea is to minimize water build-up and get the mask to dry quickly.
Wash Your Face Before and After Wearing a Mask
Even though it may be a habit to wear make-up, beard oil and other products throughout the day, the added use of masks means those products are being rubbed into the skin for an extended period. For those who reuse the mask throughout the day or multiple days in a row, this can mean an unnecessary build-up of product, and bacteria may ensue.
It’s tempting for some to wear a mask incorrectly or not at all to avoid skin irritation and acne from their mask. However, that creates unnecessary risk to yourself and others. Instead, implement best practices such as avoiding face products that may irritate the skin with the natural rubbing that occurs when wearing a mask.
- Wash your face with a gentle, scent- and dye-free soap before and after mask wearing
- Wash and rinse your mask thoroughly, then be sure it dries properly to avoid bacteria or fungal growth
- And finally, be sure to choose a mask with the right fabric and technology. The inner layer should be hydrophilic to wick away moisture and protect against bacterial build-up. And choose a mask with antimicrobial properties, such as those with Nano-Silver Technology, that will fight acne-causing bacteria
Of course, if irritation still persists, consider seeing your dermatologist. They may have additional suggestions on how you can wear your mask, a better soap or other products, and adjustments to your skincare routine or diet to help fight acne.