Public health officials nationwide continue to recommend the use of face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, dermatologists say you should also consider taking steps to protect the skin under your mask.
"The masks do a great job of minimizing the spread of our germs and they also do a great job of increasing the amount of moisture next to our skin," said Allina Health dermatologist Dr. Jamie Hanson. "That excess moisture can lead to breakouts and skin irritation on the chin, cheeks and bridge of the nose. Some people call it 'maskne.'"
Hanson said prolonged mask wearing can worsen conditions for people with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and acne. However, Hanson said there are steps you can take to protect your skin:
- Cleanse and moisturize your skin daily
- Protect lips with petroleum jelly
- Consider reducing the amount of makeup you use
- Choose masks that fit comfortably and snugly, with breathable fabric like cotton, preferably with two layers
- During prolonged usage, consider a mask break every four hours
- Make sure to wash masks
Even with masks, Dr. Hanson says people should also continue to wear sunscreen.
"The amount of sun protection varies by fabric and by color (darker fabrics and more tightly woven fabrics provide more protection) but most probably don’t afford an SPF of greater than 7," she said. "We recommend SPF of 30 or greater."
Get more tips for health and wellness on the Allina Health website.
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