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Summer heat causing masks to irritate skin

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 3:02 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - We all know doctors recommend wearing masks in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

But, during the summer months that can get a bit uncomfortable.

The heat can cause masks to become an irritant to your skin.

However, there are things you can do to help.

Warm, humid weather can take a toll on anyone's skin.

Dermatologists say a mask laying on top of your face all day can exaggerate the problem.

But, that doesn't mean you shouldn't wear one.

As temperatures rise, people are experiencing discomfort from their face masks.

“On the really humid days, I can notice a little bit of a difference. I’m breathing heavier. I have to take it a little bit easier,” said Bismarck resident Jeffrey Pitcher.

Dermatologists say they've seen an increase in patients. The culprit: face coverings causing skin complications.

"The natural oils from your skin as well as some of the particles you breathe can get stuck on the mask. And then, the mask itself contacting your face, can irritate it in that sense. The other issues that can happen are acne, which can be more prone to people who already have acne or people who have never had acne can develop acne because of the moist environment under the mask," said Sanford Dermatologist Richelle Knudson.

Knudson says she’s also seen irritation on patients where the masks hits their skin: on their nose, under the chin and behind the ears.

She says preexisting skin irritations like eczema and psoriasis can make it worse.

“There are a lot of different solutions depending on what your main issue is with the mask. One thing that can help everyone with any type of problem with their mask is following a gentle skincare regimen. This includes washing your face with a mild soap that does not have any alcohol in it,” Knudson said.

Doctors recommend washing your face twice a day.

Knudson says acne washes with salicylic acid can actually make mask-related breakouts worse because they irritate the skin.

Mask-wearers say the warm weather makes face coverings less comfortable, but they say they're willing to bear it.

It’s important to me. I want this country to heal,” said Bismarck resident Colleen Schmidt.

“It keeps me safe. I always want to be on the safe side,” said Bismarck resident Ryken Nelson.

Knudson agrees.

“There’s definitely more of a benefit to wearing the mask than not,” Knudson.

She said the pros outweigh the cons.

Knudson says she's seen improvement from people changing out masks as to avoid irritation in the same place and avoiding makeup.

She says if your problems persist, you should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Copyright 2020 KFYR. All rights reserved.

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