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Maskne, Mask Hygiene and More

Health • by Paul De Beyer • 07 June 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has, without a shadow of a doubt, changed our world in more ways than one. Things like social distancing, working from home, and general mask use are simply parts of normal life now.

These fundamental changes have had different impacts on how we live our lives, but perhaps none more so than the need to wear masks. Not only do they hide half your face from the world, but they cause some people serious skin problems. Masks are most likely here to stay so let’s dive into maskne, maske hygiene and more.

What is maskne?

Prolonged use of masks can create a type of skin flare-up that’s now regarded as a form of acne, hence the name “maskne”. The constant contact of a mask on your face can rub persistently and irritate the skin to the point that it can cause a significant flare-up.

This can be compounded by the reusing of masks, or masks that have not been cleaned properly, adding foreign debris to the now-irritated skin. While some irritation to the skin can be attributed to excessive friction or even an allergic reaction to the material of the mask, this is increased by dirty or improperly-used masks.

General irritation can happen on the bridge of the nose, chin or cheeks, as well as potentially behind the ears where the mask fastens.

When is it time to change masks?

Your mask is only effective to a point, before its time to switch it out for a new one. One-time use masks should be used as instructed, while cloth or cotton masks are only functional if they’re at least two-layered. Ideally, aim for a higher layered cotton or cloth mask to ensure that you’re properly protected.

Your cotton or cloth mask should also be changed the moment it starts to feel moist or damp, as well as after use in a congested area. How many uses you can get out of wearing a mask will come down to your judgment, but there’s a risk of decreased effectiveness the longer you use a single mask without changing or cleaning it.

 What you should NOT do

  1. Reuse masks that are meant for single use only. Also, please cut the ear loops off your disposable masks before throwing them out!
  2. Wash or clean N95 or other single-use masks, regardless of how little you wore it.
  3. Wear a mask with your nose sticking out as it renders the mask pointless.
  4. Touch the front part of the mask while wearing it (the part that covers your mouth and nose).
  5. Keep your mask around your neck, forehead or on your arm while not in use.

 What should you do

  1. Wash all cotton or cloth masks on a hot wash cycle as this will kill bacteria and any potential traces of the coronavirus that might be on it.
  2. When putting your mask on, make sure the correct side is facing outward at all times.
  3. After removing your mask, santise your hands and dispose of your mask safely.
  4. Keep your mask in a safe, sterile environment when not in use.
  5. Make sure your mask covers your nose, mouth and chin, ensuring there are no gaps.
  6. Make small adjustments on the sides by using the ear loops once the mask is seated correctly.
  7. If you need to touch your mask a lot or remove it, ensure that your hands are sanitised before and after.

*Please note that GetSavvi Health does not cover any of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Helpful sources for vaccinations FAQs:
COVID-19 Vaccine Registration

COVID Vaccinations FAQs

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Face Mask Hygiene & Etiquette
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks
Mask hygiene and caring for your skin: Here’s what you need to know
Use and Care of Masks
Newly emerged-hygiene issue in the current lifestyles of wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic
Mask, Distance, Hygiene: UNICEF calls for respecting COVID prevention measures in order to protect every child in Kosovo
How Important is Mask Hygiene? Dr Norman Swan


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