Face masks are an essential weapon against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) but can wreak havoc on the skin.  


Aesthetic medicine specialists, Aesthetic Lab, has seen an increase in clients complaining about breakouts on their cheeks and chins where wearing a mask every day has resulted in sore, irritated and sensitive skin 


Dr Chris Giezing, Medical Practitioner (with a special interest in aesthetic medicine) at Aesthetic Lab, says wearing masks is necessary to protect people from the virus but is a hostile environment for the skin. 


Wearing masks “catches the moisture” as well as offending bacteria on the skin. Friction from the mask causes further damage and irritates the skin resulting in soreness. To add insult to injury, excessive sebum on the skin makes the skin a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause ‘breakouts’. 


Giezing says there are ways to remedy the problem without taking drastic measures like ditching the facial mask. These practical solutions will not only help revitalise the skin but also promotes healthy mask-wearing habits.  


Material masks can be effective at protecting people from the virus but like any piece of clothing needs to be washed after use to remove the risk of attracting bacteria and dried in the sun. This alone is not enough, however, the correct skincare regime will not only help to resolve skin issues, but enhance skin quality.  


“If you wear a mask every day, use active products containing Retinol and extra peeling agents on weekends or times when not wearing masks,” Giezing says. 

“Use products that treat inflammation in the skin, such as a Vitamin C serum and/or products containing Niacinamide.” 


Giezing recommends that people persist with their daily cleansing routines and the use of a hydrating serum that will protect the skin.  He emphasises the importance of applying sunblock, preferably an SPF 50.  “Wearing sun protection is important as it helps to strengthen the skin barrier and further protect the skin from external aggression, such as the wearing of masks every day.” 

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