HOUSTON – If you are wearing a mask more outdoors in the heat you may notice a new issue -- skin breakouts.
Following the CDC’s recommendation, many people are wearing masks while out and about in the community. The constant use of masks with the Houston heat and humidity might irritate the skin on your face and neck.
"Every time you exhale, it’s hot and your face dries up and you get sweaty so it’s not great,” said Rochelle Wyse, who was walking in the park.
Cloth masks can trap heat, causing greater humidity and increasing skin fragility.
"There’s a lot of friction, there’s a lot of rubbing and there’s sweat that becomes trapped underneath the masks,” said Dr. Rajani Katta, Dermatologist, Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist. “All of those factors can break down our skin barrier. When that happens you start to see more redness and irritation.”
Type of mask may cause problems
If you start experiencing skin problems, first think about the type of mask you are wearing.
“You really want to look for softer fabrics, probably something a little absorbent so the sweat is not sitting against your skin,” Dr. Katta said. “If you are making your own mask you can think about several layers. An outer layer that is a thicker weave to protect you, but an inner layer that is softer more absorbent, easier against your skin.”
This recommendation is not for medical professionals, and only for those who are wearing it out and about for protection in the community. Look for cotton blends and fabric with moisture-wicking material (like workout clothing material).
Protect the skin barrier
One of the best ways to protect your skin is to use moisturizer daily. Experts recommend adding a moisturizer to your face about 30 minutes before you put your mask on.
“It helps the skin barrier, you really want that skin barrier working well against the rubbing, the friction, the sweat,” Dr. Katta said. “If you build up your skin barrier by using skin moisturizer, that can help add that layer of protection.”
You can also look for a facial moisturizer with added sunscreen. Dr. Katta recommends putting on moisturizer on damp skin to help strengthen your skin barrier and can withstand skin irritation a bit better. Also, consider giving your makeup a break since this may clog up pores and oil glands.
Right mask fit
You also want to make sure you are wearing your mask the right way.
“It’s important to have it snug against your face, but you don’t want it so snug that it’s rubbing and chafing against your skin,” Dr. Katta explains.
Cleanse face mask often
A clean face mask can help keep your skin clear from irritation. We’ve told you before when discussing common mask mistakes, but experts recommend to wash your mask each time you wear it. This can help with cleansing the mask of germs and also will provide a clean surface for your skin.