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Wash Faces Gently, Masks Thoroughly To Avoid 'Maskne'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Face masks are a must-have these days to stay safe, but they can be a problem for people with skin issues.

Dermatologist Dr. Nada Elbuluk, of USC's Keck School of Medicine, says that the extended wearing of masks has given rise to a number of skin issues and also given rise to a new term — "maskne."

"Because we're all wearing masks much longer than our skin's ever been used to, you want to make sure you're washing your washing your face before and after removal of the mask," Dr. Elbuluk said.

Underlying skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, and acne can be exacerbated by wearing a face mask, plus people are also experiencing contact dermatitis, a physical irritation or allergic reaction from a mask's fabric or the detergent used to wash it.

When problems do flare up, Dr. Elbuluk said that people should not try to fix it with toner or cover it with makeup.

"That can make the condition worse," she said.

Dr. Elbuluk said that people can avoid skin problems by using disposable masks, or religiously washing their reusable masks, which should be made of a breathable fabric like cotton.

"Everyday, once you get back home, wash it, let it air out, just to get all of that dirt and bacteria build-up that happens off of it, because a lot of that's what contribute to the flare of the underlying conditions and the acne that's occurring," she said.

She also advised that people who experience maskne or other problems from wearing a mask make sure to wash their faces with a gentle cleanser before and after removing them, then follow up with a gentle moisturizer.

And even though masks cover half the face, Dr. Elbuluk said people should still wear sunscreen, like a moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher.


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