Mercy Health doctor: Simple solutions to tackle ‘maskne’ | Lorain County

jhon pablo

As the state of Ohio continues to tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic with mask wearing a part of the daily lives of Ohioans, some residents are dealing with the unexpected side effects of “maskne.” A play on words with the skin irritation many people are experiencing due to wearing masks […]

As the state of Ohio continues to tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic with mask wearing a part of the daily lives of Ohioans, some residents are dealing with the unexpected side effects of “maskne.”

A play on words with the skin irritation many people are experiencing due to wearing masks on a daily basis, Dr. Valerie Nemeth, of Mercy Health Vermilion Primary Care, says there are a number of steps people can take to prevent and mitigate the soreness to protect the health of their skin.

The problem is arising from irritation with the mask fabric rubbing against the skin all day in addition to the hot, humid environment making the skin more prone to breakouts, including those who have never experienced acne before.

Wearing a clean mask every day can make a world of difference as far as prevention, Nemeth said.

She encouraged people to make sure to wash cloth masks each day and if you’re using a disposable N95 mask, to switch it out every day.

“A big part of it, because if you’re wearing this mask, it has oil, it has skin cells on it, potentially bacteria, and you’re just applying it to the skin, day after day,” Nemeth said. “So, that’d be the first step in prevention … secondly, is just sticking to a basic consistent skincare routine.”

Other fabrics used to make masks also are contributing to unexpected skin reactions and people with a history of sensitive skin certainly are more vulnerable, she said.

In protecting the skin, Nemeth said people are in a much different environment than they were eight months ago.

She said people should get back to the basics of regularly washing their face with an oil and fragrance free cleanser followed by a moisturizerthat  can manage maskne.

With mask wearing becoming part of the new normal, “maskne” has become a hot topic in dermatology and within communities as people mitigate the ever changing regulations associated with managing COVID-19, Nemeth said.

“I think this has definitely been a big concern,” she said. “I’ve had friends and family mentioned it, and just there’s ton on social media about maskne, this new term.

“So, I think it’s definitely affecting a lot of people, and I know after a long day working wearing this mask, I go home and wash my face right away because it just feels so gross.”

In treating skin irritation from mask wearing, Nemeth suggests a number of possible over the counter spot treatments that are effective including benzoyl peroxide, a topical gel that can get rid of the bacteria and dead skin cells that cause acne.

Hydrocolloid pimple patches act like a band-aid in absorbing the excess fluids that cause skin irritation in addition to protecting the face from rubbing against the mask, she said.

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