Wearing a mask to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 is the right thing to do, for yourself and for those around you. But wearing a mask can also result in adverse skin reactions. Common problems experienced include: red rash, acne, soreness, rosacea and more.
These can result from irritation from friction when your mask comes into contact with your face, an allergic reaction to the mask materials, increased humidity inside the mask, sweat stuck inside your mask, worsening rosacea due to heat being trapped inside your mask causing your skin capillaries to dilate. Lastly, all of the above can also lead to acne.
How can I fix this?
- Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide wash or cream
- Wipe the irritated area with a gentle cleansing wipe immediately after removing your mask and reapply moisturiser containing ceramides, hyaluronic acid or niacinamide
- Apply an emollient such as petroleum jelly to your skin on areas it is most likely to be rubbed after you’ve washed and moisturized and before putting your mask on
- Don't make the irritation worse with over-washing. Use a very gentle skin cleanser.
- Wash your cloth mask regularly. Make sure you rinse well to get all the soap or detergent out. Some skin products, like those for anti-aging, condition treatment or fragrance, can become irritating in combination with a mask.
- Change to a cooler-feeling mask that is made from breathable, soft and natural fabric, such as cotton. Avoid synthetic fabrics
- Reduce other facial skin heating exposures, such as hot liquids, alcohol and spicy foods
- Make sure the mask fits well on your nose, under your chin and along the sides of your face so it doesn't slide around or restrict and cause irritation
- Try not to wear makeup under your mask is it may clog your pores further
- Take a 15 minute mask break every 3-4 hours
- Avoid trying new or harsh skin care products that can irritate your skin such as a chemical peel, exfoliant, or retinoid
- Use zinc oxide where your face mask rubs your face