While masks have become essential accessories during Covid times, it is important to remember that your facial skin is also facing unprecedented conditions.

Your breath creates a hot and humid environment under your mask while the edges of the mask may cause redness and dryness with friction from prolonged wear.

Rarely, a wearer may experience an allergy or contact dermatitis from their mask. This could be from the wire, fabric or chemicals within the fabric.

A well-fitting mask that is snug and doesn’t slide around but without leaving impressions or indentations in your skin is the ideal, and may take a bit of experimentation to find the perfect one for you.

The choice of fabric of a reusable mask is very important with a soft, natural cotton on the side next to your skin infinitely preferable to a synthetic fabric, for the health of your skin and to help absorb moisture. Keep your mask clean by washing it daily.

Specialized creams normally used for treating scars, can be helpful by providing a gentle, hydrating barrier where the mask rubs the skin.

If you already have a skin condition such as acne, rosacea or dermatitis you will most likely notice an exacerbation from having to wear a mask for long periods.

Acne caused by a mask, or ‘maskne’ as it is referred to, is caused by pores becoming blocked by sweat, oil and dirt, bacteria encouraged by the humid environment and friction challenging the integrity of the skin.

Now is the time to strip back your skin care and be as kind as you can to your skin. It’s a great time to take a break from makeup and heavy moisturizers.

It’s important to keep your skin very clean without stripping it of moisture and its natural barriers, by using only very a gentle cleanser. Overly oily skin will benefit from a light toner used occasionally throughout the day and if possible, take a short break from the mask whenever you are safely able to.

Over the counter acne treatments that contain azaleic acid, benzoyl peroxide, niacinamide or salicylic acid will help most cases of mask related acne.

Your pharmacist can assist to choose the one best for you. Severe or persistent cases should be seen by a physician.

The upside of wearing a mask by far outweighs the downside, and with a little thought, preparation and a few adjustments, we can learn to live with them for as long as we need to.