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How does wearing masks affect the skin?

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MASKNE is the name given to acne and irritation caused by frequent use of a mask. Wearing it for many hours can block pores by preventing moisture from breathing from escaping. We talked to a dermatologist about how to care for the skin in times of pandemic.

The use of face masks in public places is essential to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. However, there are certain cares that must be taken into account so that the skin of the face is not affected by being covered for so long.

“Face masks are causing to occlude the pores, this makes the sebum we produce on the face not come out easily and get trapped in the pore follicle. This is triggering the appearance of blackheads or inflammatory acne pimples,” said the doctor Julia Garza, a dermatologist at the Clinica Dermedica Polanco in Mexico.

However, this generally occurs in people who are prone to acne. In healthy skin, the usual effect is, when removing the mask, it looks oily and “a greasy feel on the surface.”

The most affected skins are those of young people between 15 and 35 years old, as they are the ones that produce the most sebum and also those of patients with a history of rosacea. Although the effects would be noticed only if the face mask is used more than six hours per day, for example, at school or work. As for the materials, surgical or cotton are recommended, but not rigid.

“With health workers we have other types of problems because they strictly use fully occlusive face masks, called N95. These can cause burns from constant pressure, since they use them for up to 12 hours straight,” said Garza.

In all cases, it is essential to take care of the skin more than usual. The dermatologist recommends using mild soaps or soap substitutes and moisturizing the skin before and after applying the mouth mask with hot springs, rose water or liquid gel moisturizer. But she suggests avoiding fatty products like creams.

“It is also very important not to wear makeup on the skin that is going to be covered because that helps with occlusion. But it should be noted that the use of the face mask is essential and does not cause great damage. You only have to take certain care to avoid these outbreaks on the skin,” concluded the dermatologist.

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