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How do you deal with the skin breakouts from wearing a mask for so long every day?

I haven't found the answer. I sweat in my masks(kn95 plus regular surgical mask) and face shield a lot. I have to remove it to cleanse my face every shift multiple times

Maybe I should switch back to goggles.

My skin is getting really bad. I have never suffered of acnea before.

Ant suggestions?

Random thought: The face shield protects your eyes but doesn't it also mostly perform the function of the regular surgical mask you are wearing on top of your KN95?

What are your facility's PPE recommendations/policies, and what patient population are you working with?

I don't think removing your PPE (when you otherwise wouldn't) multiple times to clean your face is the safest thing and it might not be helping your skin condition.

If your skin is getting really bad then it's probably worth a derm consult.

Schweet

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in Tele RN on the West Coast.

I feel your pain. The 'maskne' is real. Due to new surge policies here, reusing peroxide cleaned masks and use of face shields, my face looks like I am a pimply teen again. After reading this article I found it isn't necessarily caused by hormones, it is acne mechanica, which is different from other acne. I will link the Shape Magazine article I found.

https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/beauty-style/maskne-face-mask-acne-mechanica

Outside work I have also noticed a few important factors affecting my facial irritation. Those nets that protect my mask in the washer also seem to affect how well it gets washed, so I do extended cycles like extra soak. Also, the extra rinse cycle helps with getting out all the soap that can irritate my skin. I use unscented, hypoallergenic soap now.

I find some cloth masks really irritate my face more than others. Cloth masks should never be reused before washing, especially now for many reasons. We all know that most non-healthcare workers (& some healthcare workers too) are using the same mask for days, even weeks. "If I just put it in the sun it's fine," but does the sun get rid of the skin oils and what about the bottom side not facing the sun.

I hope we can go mask free again because this maskne situation is annoying, let alone the bridge of the nose skin ulcer from 12 hrs of N95. I would like to know how ANYONE could wear the N95 the whole time without taking it off. I sure can't and the shifts I don't have time to take it off very often I get a nose sore 😕 😷

Edited by Schweet

10 hours ago, Schweet said:

I feel your pain. The 'maskne' is real. Due to new surge policies here, reusing peroxide cleaned masks and use of face shields, my face looks like I am a pimply teen again. After reading this article I found it isn't necessarily caused by hormones, it is acne mechanica, which is different from other acne. I will link the Shape Magazine article I found.

https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/beauty-style/maskne-face-mask-acne-mechanica

Outside work I have also noticed a few important factors affecting my facial irritation. Those nets that protect my mask in the washer also seem to affect how well it gets washed, so I do extended cycles like extra soak. Also, the extra rinse cycle helps with getting out all the soap that can irritate my skin. I use unscented, hypoallergenic soap now.

I find some cloth masks really irritate my face more than others. Cloth masks should never be reused before washing, especially now for many reasons. We all know that most non-healthcare workers (& some healthcare workers too) are using the same mask for days, even weeks. "If I just put it in the sun it's fine," but does the sun get rid of the skin oils and what about the bottom side not facing the sun.

I hope we can go mask-free again because this maskne situation is annoying, let alone the bridge of the nose skin ulcer from 12 hrs of N95. I would like to know how ANYONE could wear the N95 the whole time without taking it off. I sure can't and the shifts I don't have time to take it off very often I get a nose sore 😕 😷

Can you put some zinc oxide between you and the mask? Or some cotton padding? I do cotton behind my ear where the strap cuts into it.

Ivory soap? Dove? Piece of foam for padding?

Kitiger, RN

Has 40 years experience. Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

I fold a small strip of Kleenex over the bridge of my nose. This protects the skin and blocks the moist air that wants to fog my glasses. (I'm not using N95 masks right now, as my private duty patients are not likely to have COVID. I use either a procedure mask or a KN95 mask.)

MeganMN

Has 14 years experience. Specializes in Emergency Room.

On the same topic, I keep having the corners of my mouth crack and bleed from the moisture of wearing a surgical mask for 12 hours. I have tried coconut oil/tea tree oil, but it just barely heals before I have to go back to work again... Anyone dealing with this and have suggestions?

8 hours ago, MeganMN said:

On the same topic, I keep having the corners of my mouth crack and bleed from the moisture of wearing a surgical mask for 12 hours. I have tried coconut oil/tea tree oil, but it just barely heals before I have to go back to work again... Anyone dealing with this and have suggestions?

An old article but has information that may be of use.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949217/

Dermatology NP here, use a Salicylic acid spray on your masks. This is what we use in the clinic and what I recommend for all of my colleagues working in the hospitals where I live. You can find these sprays at Target or on Amazon. Just spray in your mask, let dry for two minutes and put your mask on.

Salicylic acid cleans out the oil & debris within your pores preventing ACNE

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