Make the most of your mask

by Megan Wehring

Face coverings have become the new accessory before walking out the door.

With rising numbers of the coronavirus, Hays County issued an executive order requiring residents to wear face masks when out in public. Dr. Tyler Hollmig, director of dermatologic surgery at Ascension Texas, said the summer heat can cause skin issues related to wearing masks if individuals are not careful.

“Mask-related dermatitis is something I’m definitely seeing, being asked about and have been treating since March,” Hollmig said. “Masks can worsen skin issues that already exist or cause new ones, and related skin problems seem to be increasing as heat and humidity rise this summer.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face masks are considered to be essential and the specific fabric also plays a factor. Hollmig said cotton masks allow for more filtration and breathability while adding a gentle touch to the skin.

“We think that cotton masks are a pretty good compromise between effectiveness and gentleness on the skin, especially when they’re layered and washable,” Hollmig said.

Moisturizing regularly can also help treat and prevent mask-related dermatitis. It will help provide a barrier protection and help irritation from masks. As the summer season is underway, it’s advised to use a lightweight moisturizer since one that’s overly greasy can cause clogged pores.

Wearing little makeup as possible underneath a mask can reduce irritation. Hollmig advises individuals to use the pandemic as a time to steer clear of makeup, as it could eventually lead to acne outbreaks when wearing a mask.

“COVID is a good opportunity to break up with your makeup,” Hollmig said. “So many of us are working from home and makeup trapped beneath the mask, especially as we head into summer and the air gets more humid, it can be irritating for the skin.”

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