Mask wearing may cause skin infections

Skin under masks can be more prone to developing infections because of makeup, oil, dirt and moisture can get trapped underneath
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 11:07 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - We all know how important it is to continue to wear masks in businesses that require them, but what about the skin that’s under those masks.

Experts say the skin under masks can be more prone to developing infections because of makeup, oil, dirt and moisture that gets trapped underneath.

“As you exhale your breath is going to be moist. So you have a moist environment that can potentially cause an overgrowth of things you wouldn’t want there such as bacteria,” said Dr. Terry Garbacz, Dermatologist at Dermatology of North Texas.

Dermatologists say not only can something as simple as breathing cause skin irritation, what the masks are made of can cause problems as well.

“You can have two possible reactions, you can have an allergic reaction which would be more intense or you can have a contact irritant reaction that causes redness, itchiness and discomfort to the area,” said Garbacz.

It’s important to remember to take care of the masks on your face since it goes a long way to keep your skin nice and clear.

“If you’ve got the disposable masks, those don’t have to be washed obviously. They are designed for a one-time use so it’s not a ‘use it hang it on your rearview mirror of your car for the week,’ it’s you use it and you throw it away,” said Brandi Smith, Epidemiologist at the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District.

However, cloth masks are reusable.

“They can be laundered with your regular laundry, your regular settings and they can be dried in the dryer or air dried, but they need to be fully dried before you wear them. We recommend that you do wash them daily,” said Smith.

Skin experts also say it’s important to give you skin a break.

“There’s no need to wear a mask in your own home, for sure in your own backyard. I would wear it whenever you feel it would be protective but, if not, I would give yourself a break. I think it’s a healthy thing to do,” said Garbacz.

Garbacz also said you should be washing you face with soap and water to keep your skin fresh and glowing.

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