Coronavirus: How to protect your skin from side effects of wearing mask amid pandemic

Doctors are treating more patients for acne problems tied to wearing face masks.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2020
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Wearing face masks can increase acne - what many are calling "maskne." Doctors have seen an increase in treating acne, among other skin irritations, since the mandate of wearing masks in public.

Face masks are becoming a part of our daily life -- essential protection from the coronavirus. But wearing them is taking a toll on our skin.

"And it's all just like around my mouth and and chin. Since we started wearing mask my skin did not like it at all," said Madison Hopkins.

Doctors say it's not unusual. In fact they're treating more patients for acne problems tied to wearing face masks.

"Sweat and things like oil and makeup once they're on your skin and then you cover them with a mask, it becomes occluded. And when you're breathing into the mask, all that humidity it just accelerates the process of causing acne," said dermatologist Dr. Shirley Chi.

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There are some simple things you can do to protect your face from a mask, depending on the type of mask you're wearing. If it's a cloth mask, you need to wash it often.

"If you're using disposable masks then you want to hang it up in a sunny place to dry for a day or two before you use it again," said Chi. "You really can't wash a disposable mask because it will just shred and it will not work anymore."

Dermatologists also recommend exfoliating face wash twice a day -- something Hopkins is now practicing.

"I've been frantically searching for answers and I haven't been seen many people talk about it," said Hopkins. "It's just nice knowing you're not alone."