Following safety guidelines to protect against coronavirus is necessary, but brings along a few minor inconveniences.
Here are a few solutions for annoyances brought on by face masks, including foggy glasses and so-called “maskne,” or acne breakouts under masks.
You don’t have to accept “maskne” as just another irritating facet of life in 2020. Dr. Samer Jaber, of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City, advises adopting a few simple practices to keep it from forming in the first place.
“When you wear a mask, you seal in your breath,” Jaber said. “This creates a moist, humid environment as it traps your breath, skin oils and sweat, leading to irritation, rashes and acne.”
He added that the masks themselves may also irritate skin simply by being in contact with the face for long periods of time. This can possibly exacerbate existing conditions like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea.
To prevent “maskne,” Jaber recommends washing the face twice daily, with whatever cleanser works best for your skin type and following with a moisturizer around the areas where the mask usually irritates the skin.
”It’s also imperative to let your masks dry out after each wear and to wash your cloth face coverings regularly to remove the oils and sweat trapped in it,” Jaber explains.
If things are especially bad, Jaber has one last recommendation: “Don’t wear makeup under your mask.”
“You can try a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or glycolic acid,” says Jaber, who also said a hydrocortisone cream could help reduce inflammation on irritated areas. “Just be careful, as your skin in that area will likely be sensitive and topical acne treatments can make this more irritated and even worse.”
Since face masks trap the breath and foster moist, humid environments, glasses wearers may have noticed that wearing a face mask can cause your lenses to fog.
In a 2011 study from the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, researchers advised washing the glasses with soapy water “immediately” before wearing a face mask.
After shaking off any excess water, “let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the spectacle lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn,” they wrote.
Glasses fog because humidity can escape the mask and move upward, coming into contact with the lenses and causing them to fog. Placing a tissue under the top of your face mask can also help absorb some of the droplets, leading to clear lenses. Wearing a mask that can form to the bridge of your nose — one with wire, for instance — can help prevent the warm air from your mouth from reaching your lenses.
DRY, CRACKED HANDS FROM FREQUENT WASHING
Next, frequent hand washing, especially during the ongoing pandemic, can lead to skin feeling dry, irritated or cracked.
Preventing rough skin can be as simple as switching to a fragrance-free hand soap, which may contain fewer irritants. But Jaber also recommends carrying hand moisturizer for use after washing and drying your hands, suggesting a cream or an ointment rather than a lotion, as lotions are usually thinner and often contain alcohol.
“Lotions can be great, but creams or ointments are thicker. Vaseline is an ointment, and it really locks things in,” Jaber said. Jaber further advised against fragranced moisturizers, as they may contain irritants.
On another note, your face mask may be shifting around because it’s too loose. According to USA Today, the quickest and easiest solution is to fasten a knot in the mask’s ear loops. There are also lanyards that tighten the mask from behind the head, the outlet wrote.
Since face masks are federally recommended for everyone over the age of 2, one expert recommended cloth face coverings for kids.
“Cloth face coverings are the best option for most children. Any child who can mask, should,” Sara Johnson, associate professor of pediatrics and public health at Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health, told NBC News.
Until there is a safe and effective vaccine, health officials advise face masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing to protect against the virus and curb virus spread.
Fox News’ Michael Bartiromo and Madeline Farber contributed to this report.