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How Care for Your Skin Wearing a Face Mask

Aug 17, 2020 | Trending Topics

Whether it be 8+ hours a day as an essential worker or for quick runs to the store, most of us are wearing masks or some sort of facial covering every day.  (If you are not, we need to talk!) 
 
It is no surprise to me that I am seeing a lot of patients in my Dermatology practice with a chief complaint of “facial rash”.   Keep reading to find out what you can do if you are getting breakouts due to your mask. No office copay needed ! 
 
There are several possible culprits for mask related outbreaks. 
 
1. Irritant contact dermatitis: from constant friction especially on bony area of nasal bridge due to the metal straps and rubber straps of some masks. 
2. Allergic contact dermatitis: some “medical” masks contain formaldehyde which is a known irritant that can cause  redness, itchiness & burning. Some cloth masks release dyes and detergents which can also contribute to dermatitis. 
3. Acne Flares: From mask friction that blocks the oil glands and from the  humid microclimate created inside mask from breathing in and out.  This is probably the most common issue I see in my practice. 
4. Redness : from constant pressure and rubbing of mask. 
 
I can’t tell you to stop wearing a mask but I can give you a few tips to self treat if you start to break out. 
 
Use a gentle cleanser that does not further strip skin of moisture.
Try  1% over the counter hydrocortisone to help reduce itching, redness and inflammation related contact dermatitis. Don’t use this for more than 7 days as needed .

Moisturize , Moisturize, then Moisturize again. Use something with hyaluronic acid or ceramides to replace any moisture that constant mask wearing may suck out of your skin. 

Try applying a barrier such as a thick cream or zinc oxide paste prior to donning your mask. Especially if you have to wear one all day like me. 
Don’t stop caring for your skin. Quarantine has altered all of our routines but your skin care routine should not be skipped just because no one sees you. 
 
If you have tried the above for a week without improvements, it is time to see your medical provider. 
 
Stay well! 
Kimberly
Creator & CEO of Perfect Skin Code
Photo of Perfect Skin Code owner Kimberly Brown
Kimberly Brown

Perfect Skin Code was created by Kimberly Brown, a Physician Assistant in Dermatology, when she decided to create products for her patients who had trouble finding effective yet gentle skin care products.

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