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Dermatologists: Wearing a face mask can cause irritation and 'maskne'

How to prevent and treat acne caused by face mask
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Masks are an essential piece of stopping the spread of coronavirus, but you may have noticed irritation or some new acne since you've started wearing one.

People are calling it “maskne.” 

It's acne that forms around the area of your face that is being protected. If you're wearing your mask every day, you've probably noticed an increase in your face.

“With the mask, what we do is an inclusion of the face. That alone increases temperature increases moisture and all that is going to make the skin more sensitive and sweat more,” Dermatologist for Forecare Medical Center Dr. Maria Hicks said.

Wearing a mask can rub against your skin and the moisture and heat can cause irritation. Dr. Hicks said that all those conditions are perfect for acne, rosacea and dermatitis.

But there are ways that you can prevent and treat the acne. 

First, make sure to always wear a clean mask to avoid a buildup of moisture.

“With the ones that are cloth, make sure you wash them daily...so if you could wear one or two masks a day so it can stay dry as possible,” Dr. Hicks said.

Hicks also recommends making sure you have a daily skin regime-- and stick to it.

“I think it's important that we continue with the hygiene that we normally do. That is normally your cleansers or facial cleansers. I would try to stay with gentle cleansers,” she said.

If you’re heading outside, make sure you continue to apply sunscreen. The heat will make you sweat and breakout but you still need to protect your skin for when you do take the mask off.

“I would keep it light of cream, light of a moisturizer, light of sunscreen," Dr. Hicks suggests, adding that it should be applied in very thin layers.

With Florida's hot summer days upon us, Dr. Hicks recommends staying in cool areas when outside.

“First and foremost, we just have to do what is asked in terms of wearing a mask,” Dr. Hicks said. “Being safe and try to stay in cool, in the shade, well-ventilated areas, fans, and keeping sweating to a minimum.”

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