With Covid-19 likely to linger for a long time, masks will remain a constant part of our lives.
And since masks persistently rub against the skin, rashes are likely to erupt on the face.
These breakouts are called "maskne" and cause skin irritation. "Maskne" usually occurs due to the mask's fabric or its tightness.
The material's excessive friction with the skin and contact with make-up, dirt and sweat cause "maskne".
"Contact dermatitis" is also likely to result. This is an allergic reaction to the fabric and the bacteria formed if the mask is not properly cleaned.
Constant use of the mask may also lead to abrasions on the bridge of the nose, chin, cheeks and behind the ears.
Dr Kiran Godse, consultant dermatologist at the Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, gives a few tips on how to prevent and treat "maskne":
Mask hygiene Mask cleanliness is the topmost priority. It should be washed or swapped for a new one after every use.
If you experience skin irritation, use antiseptic soap with warm water to clean your mask.
Rinse it thoroughly and ensure it is completely dry before use; dry-steam your mask in the washing machine. Skincare Make-up may clog your pores and wearing make-up under a mask could increase the breakouts.
Don't use cosmetics for a while or at least till you get it treated.
Wash your face every morning and night with a mild facewash that will help unclog pores. Then use an oil-free moisturiser.
Do not squeeze or break your pimples. This will lead to inflammation and infect the area.
Exfoliation is also important as it helps new skin cells to form. Salicylic or glycolic acids present in exfoliates will help prevent acne.
These are also available in the form of serums.
Avoid using products with petrolatum (petroleum jelly), an ingredient used in creams and ointments. Before using and after removing your mask, clean and moisturise your face.
Choose the right fabric Know your skin type. The last problem you would want to deal with is an itchy face.
Fabric sensitivity varies from person to person and different fabrics come with different textures.
Look for a soft and breathable material that is able to absorb moisture
Do not forget basic hygiene practices - washing your hands thoroughly before wearing your mask and after removing it.
If issues persist and there is an infection scare, you must immediately consult your doctor.
Indo-Asian News Service