For months we have been carrying a complement with us as if it were another extension of our person. The mask, which seems to have come to stay, protects us from Covid-19 and, why not, protects our mouth from low temperatures in the autumn and winter months, but as a disadvantage it has also made a large part of society begins to suffer from the dreaded acne. But not just any acne, but the acne that occurs from wearing this surgical accessory for hours. Camouflage is the term that has been given to any form of facial acne or skin irritation caused by prolonged use of masks.
And although this term may seem new, the development or aggravation of acne by occlusion, friction or humidity was already known in other circumstances. Apparently, the most frequent situation is that of a person who already has a predisposition or previous history of acne. «Exposure of the perioral region for hours to friction, occlusion and humidity – and often also in the context of increased stress – favors the occlusion of the pores, the increase in the amount of sebaceous secretion and an environment conducive to the development and growth of bacteria associated with acne ”, explains Dr. José Manuel Carrascosa, dermatologist at the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
All this makes some people who only had oily skin develop acne and those who had acne make it worse: «In the same way, the friction generated by the mask helps irritate the skin in the area or lead to the worsening of other dermatological problems such as rosacea, pressure urticaria, contact or friction dermatitis, which are often mixed and confused with acne.
Dr. and dermatologist Gemma Márquez, from the Quirón Dexeus University Hospital, warns that it can occur on any type of skin, especially if they are not treated with appropriate cosmetic products. However, it is more common in atopic, hypersensitive skin, with acne or rosacea tendency: “In these cases it is important to go to the dermatologist to be able to guide an appropriate treatment and help the problem to subside”.
In general, as Dr. José Manuel Carrascosa says, these irritating conditions will worsen skin diseases that the user of masks already suffers from: atopic dermatitis, seborrheic, rosacea … “It must also be said that these problems are seen more in those who have to wear the masks longer, such as those who need to use highly protective ones for long periods of time.”
By following the following tips it is easier to prevent the camouflage sits on our face:
Cleanse your skin daily. It’s rule number one. «You have to do it in the morning and, above all, at night. It is best to use a mild soap suitable for our skin type: if it is greasy, oil free or astringent, and if we have dry skin, a mild syndet soap or micellar water », says Gemma Marquez.
«It is essential to maintain proper hygiene and hydration of the face. Also from the lips, which are often dry and fissured. We have to think that if our skin is sensitive with a tendency to irritation, it will become more irritated, and seborrhea and acne will also worsen if we have this tendency ”, advises José Manuel Carrascosa. You have to be more rigorous in choosing moisturizers and protection creams, or treatments if specific lesions appear.
“At night, after washing the face with a suitable soap, the Masderm Triphasic Serum, thanks to its antioxidant and moisturizing action, helps to improve the skin from the effects of using the mask”, recommends Gemma Márquez.
Makeup. In addition to staining the mask, it helps the skin perspire less and become more dirty. «It is advisable to avoid the use of makeup as it causes more occlusion of the pores. You should wash your face with lukewarm water and use mild, non-soap and fragrance-free cleansers. Skin care will have to be accentuated, ”says dermatologist Carrascosa. In other words, if a person already did some type of treatment for acne -or for another skin disease-, these should probably be more frequent and intense.
If you use makeup, try to make it as light as possible, oil free, and do not forget wash the mask every day or replace it with a new one. You have to think that not all masks are the same and that even within the same level of protection there are different models, fabrics … “We have to look for that mask that, offering the protection we are looking for, best suits our skin and its problems” says the expert.
If, despite the precautions, a dermatological problem arises or an aggravation of a previous disease, a dermatologist should be consulted for a proper diagnosis, as well as a specific treatment.