How to Treat Skin Irritation Caused by Face Masks
Skin problems are an unfortunate side-effect of wearing a mask. Face masks can irritate the skin after wearing them for long periods of time, causing redness, itching, peeling, and even minor rashes. For example, sweat can collect in the gap between the face mask and the skin, creating an itchy nuisance. In addition, face masks can create pressure on the face, which can worsen acne. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce skin irritation, from regularly washing your mask to using face protection strips. In this article, we'll review some of the most common causes of skin irritation caused by face masks and discuss how to handle them.
Common Types of Skin Irritation Caused By Face Masks
A term coined recently as a result of COVID-19, maskne describes acne caused by prolonged mask-wearing. For some, breakouts in the chin and cheek area are a common side effect of wearing a face mask. Although acne can be caused by several factors, including genetics and hormones, this type of acne is caused due to bacteria building up in the areas where the mask sits on the face. Acne occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin, leading to pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads.
A face rash is a skin condition that's common to a lot of people who have sensitive skin. It is noticeable as redness and irritation on the skin, usually on the cheeks, and makes it look like your face is experiencing a reaction. The problem is that the masks are designed to cover the mouth and nose and not the skin on the face. When worn, masks can block airflow and trap body heat, resulting in moisture. Moisture, in turn, leads to rashes when the skin is exposed to sweat or lotions.
Some face masks are not very comfortable to wear and can cause mild soreness. When worn for extended periods, they can cause pain around the mouth, nose, and behind the ears. A number of mask wearers complain of soreness and irritation caused by the mask's straps and nosepiece. This is particularly problematic for users who wear glasses and thus have significant contact between the mask's straps and their nose bridge.
Rosacea can occur after excessive mask use. It's an inflammatory skin disease that causes flare-ups. The most common symptoms of rosacea include redness, swelling of the nose, cheeks, eyes, and chin, visible blood vessels, and bumps or pimples. This type of skin irritation appears to develop with mask wearers who are genetically predisposed to this condition.
Skin Irritation Solutions
Unfortunately, we cannot avoid having to wear face masks, making it challenging to completely eliminate skin conditions from developing. The skin irritations outlined above can be managed with the following solutions:
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the development of skin irritations, which starts by choosing a mask made with comfortable, breathable materials. Make sure that you're buying a quality face mask—some companies cut corners by using cheap materials and thus produce a lower quality product. Some of the best mask materials to prevent skin irritations include cotton-blend fabrics. For sensitive skin or beard stubble discomfort issues, a mask with very smooth fabric with a higher thread count will provide more comfort.
Wash Your Mask and Face
Keeping both your face and mask clean will help prevent skin irritations from occurring. You should wash a cloth mask after every use. For washing, it's best to use unscented hypoallergenic laundry detergent to avoid any sort of skin reaction. If you use disposable masks, throw them away rather than continuing to use them, and always have some fresh ones handy. Wash your face with a cleanser regularly, especially at the end of the day after wearing a mask for a long time.
On a clean face and before mask use, apply a moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated throughout the day. This is especially useful for those who feel their skin is getting dry and irritated. Moisturizers function by temporarily filling in the spaces between skin cells. This prevents the skin from losing moisture, which helps to keep it soft, smooth, and supple. Moisturizing is important because wearing a mask interferes with your skin's natural ability to produce moisture, leading to dryness.
Strapless Face Masks
As a solution to skin irritation and discomfort, strapless face masks with wax shields made with elastic kinesiology tape allow for a comfortable, flexible fit on the face. These masks are lightweight and made with materials designed to mimic the skin. Kinesiology tape is made from the hypoallergenic latex-free adhesive, making it safe to place on any part of the body, including the face. The mask is also sweat-resistant and anti-fog, making it practical to wear in many conditions. No straps also mean no soreness behind the ears caused by mask ear loops.
People with sensitive skin can apply face tape underneath their masks to reduce the chances of skin irritation and increase comfort. Face protection strips are made with kinesiology tape, safe and comfortable material to apply on the face. Because the material is elastic, it will not restrict movement—it provides the same benefits as kinesiology tape, from relieving pain to reducing inflammation. The flexible technology easily conforms to the shape of the face. It also reduces swelling, which is important to avoid skin problems developing.
As mask-wearing becomes an integral part of our daily routine, skin irritations will continue to be an issue. Fortunately, SpiderTech's face protection products, including anti-fog strapless face masks and mini i-Strips, are innovative solutions in the kinesiology tape market and are quickly becoming our flagship products.
SpiderTech's face tape and strapless masks are great ways to take your mask-wearing—and your skin regimen—to the next level. To find out more about SpiderTech's face protection products, visit our online store.