We’re making a lot of adjustments to our lives right now. Wearing cloth face coverings (like this one made out of a bandana and hair ties) while in public to protect from spreading COVID-19, is one of them.
Although you may not be experiencing rashes, burst blood vessels, and other serious skin issues like essential workers who wear personal protective equipment (PPE) all day long, your skin may be mildly irritated, breaking out, or forming more blackheads than usual from wearing a cloth mask.
As we go about our day with cloth masks on, our pores can clog and our skin possibly becomes inflamed and stripped of essential fats, due to the moisture buildup from our exhaled breath “combined with decreased air circulation under the masks,” explains Arash Akhavan, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
You may have also noticed that wearing a fabric covering over your nose and mouth can be a toasty situation for your face, no matter what the weather may be. Sweating in this area can also lead to oil buildup, which causes cystic acne and white pustules to form, adds Lost Angeles-based board-certified dermatologist Jason Emer.
Just as we did for essential workers who wear PPE, we asked dermatologists to share their tips for caring for your complexion for those of us who are cloth-masked, nonessential workers.