‘Maskne’ Is Irritating Face Mask Users. Here’s How to Deal With It

Face masks can lead to skin irritation.
Face masks can lead to skin irritation.
gemphotography/iStock via Getty Images

With face masks becoming a routine part of daily life for people around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, dermatologists have reported that a new affliction has cropped up. It’s being informally referred to as maskne, and it’s a breakout in the area of skin covered by masks.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, mask acne—technically called acne mechanica—is not exactly a new phenomenon. The general public is just now getting an idea of what health care workers, construction workers, and others who regularly don a mask as part of their jobs often grapple with on a daily basis. The reason skin irritation develops isn’t strictly due to the mask itself, but the fact that it traps warm, humid air next to the skin. That environment is perfect for yeast, bacteria, and other flora to thrive, and it can worsen in the hot summer or during exercise. Coupled with the friction of the mask, pimples and breakouts can result.

"We think that wearing these masks, combined with stress from the pandemic, is causing an increased moisture-rich environment for bacteria and organisms to proliferate," Dr. Seemal Desai, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, told CNN. That's "causing a breakdown of the skin and flaring of some of these conditions."

Fortunately, you don’t need to tolerate skin discomfort. Using a moisturizer (applied lightly for oily skin, and thicker for sensitive skin) before putting on a mask can help reduce irritation. Sunscreen containing zinc is also helpful, but it’s important not to slather it on the face, as that might increase irritation. And be sure to let any lotion dry before putting your mask on to help ensure a good seal.

To improve your skin and help prevent breakouts, wash your face with a foaming cleanser twice daily. Products with salicylic acid are good if you’re already prone to acne. Dermatologists recommend avoiding harsh products with sodium lauryl sulfate, which can break down the skin barrier. You’ll also want to wash your mask after each use to keep bacteria at bay.

"Good quality, simple skincare does not have to be the $500 fancy product," Desai said. "Just use light, gentle cleansers, non-oily, not harsh."

Whatever your skin care routine, don't set the mask aside or opt for one that's too lightweight. While lighter fabrics may feel more comfortable, they also don’t do a very good job of providing a barrier for viruses. Stick with soft cotton and masks that block light, as that’s a good indicator they’re heavy enough to be useful.

[h/t CNN]

Amazon’s Big Fall Sale Features Deals on Electronics, Kitchen Appliances, and Home Décor

Dash/Keurig
Dash/Keurig

If you're looking for deals on items like Keurigs, BISSELL vacuums, and essential oil diffusers, it's usually pretty slim pickings until the holiday sales roll around. Thankfully, Amazon is starting these deals a little earlier with their Big Fall Sale, where customers can get up to 20 percent off everything from home decor to WFH essentials and kitchen gadgets. Now you won’t have to wait until Black Friday for the deal you need. Make sure to see all the deals that the sale has to offer here and check out our favorites below.

Electronics

Dash/Amazon

- BISSELL Lightweight Upright Vacuum Cleaner $170 (save $60)

- Dash Deluxe Air Fryer $80 (save $20)

- Dash Rapid 6-Egg Cooker $17 (save $3)

- Keurig K-Café Single Coffee Maker $169 (save $30)

- COMFEE Toaster Oven $29 (save $9)

- AmazonBasics 1500W Oscillating Ceramic Heater $31 (save $4)

Home office Essentials

HP/Amazon

- HP Neverstop Laser Printer $250 (save $30)

- HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner $274 (save $25)

- HP Printer Paper (500 Sheets) $5 (save $2)

- Mead Composition Books Pack of 5 Ruled Notebooks $11 (save $2)

- Swingline Desktop Hole Punch $7 (save $17)

- Officemate OIC Achieva Side Load Letter Tray $15 (save $7)

- PILOT G2 Premium Rolling Ball Gel Pens 12-Pack $10 (save $3)

Toys and games

Selieve/Amazon

- Selieve Toys Old Children's Walkie Talkies $17 (save $7)

- Yard Games Giant Tumbling Timbers $59 (save $21)

- Duckura Jump Rocket Launchers $11 (save $17)

- EXERCISE N PLAY Automatic Launcher Baseball Bat $14 (save $29)

- Holy Stone HS165 GPS Drones with 2K HD Camera $95 (save $40)

Home Improvement

DEWALT/Amazon

- DEWALT 20V MAX LED Hand Held Work Light $54 (save $65)

- Duck EZ Packing Tape with Dispenser, 6 Rolls $11 (save $6)

- Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage Auto Vacuum $111 (save $39)

- Full Circle Sinksational Sink Strainer with Stopper $5 (save $2)

Home Décor

NECA/Amazon

- A Christmas Story 20-Inch Leg Lamp Prop Replica by NECA $41 save $5

- SYLVANIA 100 LED Warm White Mini Lights $8 (save 2)

- Yankee Candle Large Jar Candle Vanilla Cupcake $17 (save $12)

- Malden 8-Opening Matted Collage Picture Frame $20 (save $8)

- Lush Decor Blue and Gray Flower Curtains Pair $57 (save $55)

- LEVOIT Essential Oil Diffuser $25 (save $5)

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Want to Fall Asleep Faster? Try This Breathing Technique

Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels
Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Struggling to fall asleep can feel like a hopeless battle. It often seems like the harder you try turning your brain off, the less likely it is to happen. One way to trick yourself into falling asleep fast is finding something to concentrate on other than how long you've been awake. For nights when your thoughts just won't stay quiet, try the 4-7-8 technique.

According to Simplemost, the 4-7-8 breathing method is meant to combat anxiety, restlessness, and other enemies of a good night's sleep. The actual technique is simple: Just inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Like counting sheep, measuring out your breaths gives your brain something to do that isn't obsessing about your hectic day or the day ahead.

Taking slow, deliberate breaths has also been proven to reduce stress. Neurons that influence calmness have been found in the breathing control centers of mouse brains. In humans, deep breathing has long been central to mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation. The 4-7-8 breathing technique functions as both a distraction from your thoughts and a way to combat any anxious sensations that may be keeping you awake.

The next time you find yourself tossing and turning at night, try anywhere between three and eight rounds of this breathing technique to calm your body and mind. And to get the best rest possible, make sure you're settling into the best sleep position for your health.

[h/t Simplemost]