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How to prevent 'mask-ne' from your face mask

(WCAX)
Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 2:09 PM EDT
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With masks the new norm in many areas, you're probably aware they are not always comfortable and can irritate your skin.

Across the country, front-line health care workers are sharing photos showing what can happen after wearing a mask for hours at a time. Some are complaining of chin breakouts, itchiness and redness.

Some nurses have coined the term "co-zits." Others are calling it "mask-ne."

"I love that word because it's so true, and you know, I would have little breakouts around my mouth, which never really happened, so it was kind of weird, but I knew that's exactly what it had to be from," said Jill Eicher, a nurse from Indianapolis, Indiana.

With many areas now encouraging people to cover their faces in public, many of us are also dealing with skin irritation.

Dermatologist Dr. Rajani Katta at Baylor College of Medicine says when selecting a mask, it's important to choose the right material for your skin type.

"If you're prone to acne, you might want to stay away from things like polyester that traps wet and that might lead to acne outbreaks. On the other hand, if you've got sensitive skin or if you have a tendency to eczema, then you might want to think about softer fabrics, maybe something more like cotton," Katta advised.

Washing those reusable masks regularly is critical because they collect sweat and microbes from your skin.

"I'm recommending fragrance-free laundry detergent for all of my patients with sensitive skin, and even for some of them that don't have sensitive skin because fragrance could be irritating," Katta said.

Use hot water to wash and high heat to dry to kill off all those germs. Katta says washing your face and using a good moisturizer are key for healthy skin. He also recommends avoiding applying thick makeup under a mask if possible, and if you're not prone to acne, use a thick lotion to create a barrier between your skin and the mask.

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