Washing your hands and wearing a face mask are two of the key recommendations in preventing COVID-19. But with the winter months and frequent hand washing, many people are experiencing not only dry, cracked hands but also skin irritations like acne, also known as ‘maskne’ caused by friction from wearing a face mask for an extended period. Truyu’s skin care experts share their favorite tips to counteract these common skin-related issues.
What is ‘Maskne’?
The newly coined word ‘maskne’ (mask + acne) includes any skin irritation around the nose, mouth and chin. The skin in this area is delicate and masks can further irritate conditions such as rosacea, acne, rashes and dermatitis.
By following the right skin care routine and tips below, you can say good-bye to maskne.
- Materials matters – Studies show the most protective masks are either cotton or polyester blends. The good news is that both of these materials are gentle on the skin. Check your mask material to ensure it is a gentle fabric that will prevent further friction or chafing to the skin.
- Check the fit – A good fit is recommended for both prevention of COVID-19 and to protect your skin. Avoid chafing with masks that are either too loose or too tight. A face mask should cover your nose and mouth without sliding down. Masks with a bendable nose piece help secure it in place to protect your skin and health.
- Proper cleaning – Masks should be cleaned frequently to remove oil, saliva and sweat from the material. It is important to wash your mask with gentle and non-irritating soap after each use. Masks should be stored in a bag to keep them clean when not in use.
Erin Beck, FNP-C, DCNP shares “We have definitely seen an influx of new “mechanical” acne secondary to mask use. To combat this “maskne” I recommend starting an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide wash or alternatively a salicylic acid wash 2-3 times per week. For sensitive skin, a gentle cleanser such as Cerave or Cetaphil may be more appropriate. As time-consuming as it is, it is very important to wash the cloth masks regularly to prevent built-up bacteria and debris. If the acne does not improve or worsens, we would be happy to see you in the clinic as we have several tricks up our sleeves to assist with your acne concerns.
Here are a few Truyu estheticians’ favorite products and services to help enhance your skin care routine and help heal dry-irritated skin:
HEXAM Gentle Cleanser – A gentle and refreshing cleanser for all skin types. This is the perfect first step in any skin care routine the removes impurities and oils that can clog pores.
*Beta Green Tea Cleanser by Rhonda Allison – “Reduces inflammation, exfoliates and has antiseptic properties without over-drying the skin.” – Leah Foster, Aesthetics
*Product available at Truyu’s Choice location only.
LEXXEL Moisturizing Cream – This moisturizer is ideal for dry cracked skin to help heal, soothe and repair the skin barrier. “Lexxel is my favorite moisturizer year-round. My skin gets very dry and uncomfortably tight when the colder weather comes around and Lexxel gives me the perfect amount of moisture without feeling heavy or greasy.” – Holly Gertz, Registration Specialist
Vivier Ultra Hydrating Mask – This luxurious mask helps rehydrate skin and is ideal for all skin types.
Signature HydraFacial – Truyu’s Signature HydraFacial is ideal for skin conditions such as maskne. The 30-minute treatment with no downtime includes skin beneficial ingredients such as peptides and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and address signs of environmental stress.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of germs and COVID-19. But lots of handwashing and the dry weather that winter brings can cause cracked or dry skin, especially on your hands.
Our partners in care at the Mayo Clinic recommend the following tips to keep your hands moisturized while removing germs that can make you sick.
- Be gentle on your hands – Use cool or lukewarm water with soap to wash your hands. Hot water can increase skin damage. Also, try to avoid chemicals such as fragrance that can further irritate the skin.
- Wear gloves when cleaning to protect your skin – Disinfectants for cleaning surfaces are effective against germs, but some of the ingredients can be harsh on your hands.
- Moisturize, moisturize – After washing your hands, gently rinse and pat them dry, and apply plenty of moisturizers. Use a moisturizer that’s hypoallergenic and free of fragrances and dyes that can irritate your skin. Remember to reapply moisturizer throughout the day.
- Combine moisturizers – Sometimes, a combination of moisturizers works best. Lightweight creams typically draw moisture to the skin’s outer layer. Look for ingredients such as urea, glycerin or hyaluronic acid. To seal the moisture in, follow with a heavier moisturizer that prevents water loss. Oil-based creams or petroleum jelly work well. Because heavier moisturizers can feel greasy, one trick is to leave a thick layer on your hands overnight and cover with cotton gloves.
- Don’t ignore early skin protection – Even if your hands don’t feel dry or chapped, be sure to moisturize them regularly. Preventing skin irritation from developing in the first place is more effective than trying to catch up later when the skin is already broken and cracked.
We hope these tips help keep you and your skin healthy. If you notice any worsening skin conditions or any signs of infection, please contact Truyu to schedule an appointment with a provider, or book an appointment on MyChart.
Please note that due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines and recommendations included in this blog may change over time and could vary from the original date of publication. For the latest news and updates related to COVID-19, please visit altru.org.
Some of the content of this blog is courtesy of Mayo Clinic, the No. 1 hospital in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Altru Health System is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This relationship provides us with access to information, knowledge, and expertise from Mayo Clinic.