Wearing a mask to help keep everyone safe is something I have been quite vocal about over the past few months. Now that kids are back in school, I’m happy that our school divisions here in Saskatchewan have stepped up to make masks mandatory for children in grades 4-12. Unfortunately we don’t have a province-wide mandate just yet, but I’m happy to see the majority of our communities are doing their best to wear masks when inside grocery stores, malls, salons and more. Store staff are – more and more – wearing them for their shifts. This. Will. Help. Us. All.
Still, that doesn’t mean that wearing masks is easy for everyone. It’s one thing to wear a mask for an hour grocery shopping, than it is to wear one for hours at a time between recess and lunch at school, or a shift as a cashier at a grocery store. Medical professionals have been wearing masks for years, of course, but for many of us this is a very new experience.
For those with sensitive skin, masks have bought about an irritating condition: “Maskne,” or acne caused by wearing a mask. “Maskne is medically called acne mechanics, which is acne that is caused by heat, friction, and occlusion. By wearing a mask, a warm and moist environment is created from breathing, talking, laughing, etc., which then leads to an overgrowth of a natural bacteria called P.acnes. P.acnes, however, when it overgrows, can lead to acne breakouts. The occlusion and friction from the mask combined with our skin’s oil and sweat can cause irritation, which can lead to irritant-contact dermatitis or dry, itchy, and even raw skin.”
If you’re wearing a reusable mask, the CDC recommends washing it after every use but how you wash your mask affects your skin. Dermatologists suggest handwashing with unscented soap, or machine-washing with unscented detergent and skipping the fabric softener. I do that and then hang them to dry so I can use dryer sheets with the rest of the laundry.
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