Face masks causing skin irritation and acne

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 5:09 PM EDT
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By: Amber Spradley | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 20, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) – While health officials highly recommend wearing face masks, it’s leading to a spike in skin irritations like inflammation, rashes and bumps.

Thacker Dermatology in Valdosta is seeing three different types of skin rashes due to face masks.

One of the most common of the three is a friction-related rash near the edge of the nose and cheeks caused by pressure.

Second is contact dermatitis, or an allergic reaction to components in the face wear.

And third is acne breakouts.

"When people wear masks all day, you're having heat, humidity and increased friction. And so those forces all combine to make it where people are more and more likely to have acne," board certified dermatologist Dr. Betsy Backe said.

All employees at Thacker are advised not to wear makeup to work for the time being. She says wearing cosmetic products underneath the mask not only contribute to a build up inside the skin's pores, causing breakouts, but it also deteriorates materials in the mask itself.

"It soils the mask, and it degrades the, um, the components of the mask and makes your mask wear out more quickly,” Dr. Backe said.

The doctor recommends you sanitize your hands before putting on a mask and when taking it off. And try not to touch your face or the mask while wearing it.

If you are experiencing significant skin irritation, Dr. Backe recommends you continue wearing facial protection and reaching out to your local dermatologist, reiterating the importance of wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.

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