An interesting phenomenon that we here at Maine Laser Skin Care have noticed over the past several weeks has been increased breakouts and skin problems under the facial areas covered by face masks and coverings. We happen to see the most acute and severe problems in nurses and other health care personnel who have been wearing face masks throughout their work day and throughout the time of this pandemic.
Basically, by wearing a mask, which is vital in this time of COVID-19, the skin pores in the covered area can become clogged with oils, dirt, and dead skin cells, leading to breakouts even in those not previously prone to acne. The friction of the mask material can also cause broken capillaries, which can leave a persistent redness well after the mask is removed.
This phenomenon of "mask-ne" has very real causes that can be treated. As with a lot of things in healthcare, prevention is the best medicine.
Since clogged pores are a significant culprit in breakouts, we should avoid measures that further clog pores. If you are a regular makeup user, it is probably best not to apply makeup to the lower face area, especially if you wear the mask all day since your face will be covered anyway.
Washing your face at the end of the working day, even if you don't apply makeup, will also help to clean out the pores. Those who are not acne prone may not be as used to face washing as others, but you are going to want to actively and regularly clean your face once pimples begin emerging.
If breakouts continue to be a problem, changing your face mask daily or washing the face covering daily is a very good idea. Just like any other article of clothing, the face covering will accumulate dirt and facial oils over time.
Disposable masks can be thrown out after a certain period of time, and you should do so routinely if you have several handy. For facial coverings that are reusable, such as ones made from fabric, it is best to launder them regularly.
In addition to washing the face and regularly changing the facial covering, exfoliation is important. Regular use of products with salicylic and/or glycolic acids, such as our Dual Action Toner, will help remove dead skin cells that could block skin pores and promote breakouts.
Thank you all for doing your part by wearing face masks as a major component in the fight against COVID-19. Studies have shown that if at least 80% of the US population had used face coverings when they were out in public three or four months ago, the viral spread would have abated significantly to a very low level.
On a side note, it is very unfortunate from a public health viewpoint that the wearing of face masks has become for some a political issue. But please, continue to take care of yourself and others by wearing your masks.
We at Maine Laser Skin Care can help with mask-ne, broken capillaries, or whatever effects you see from chronic mask wearing and quarantining. Call us in Scarborough at (207) 303-0125 or in Augusta at (207) 873-2158 to book your consultation and appointment today.