The CDC’s public-health advisory recommends that every American wear a cloth face covering in public to curb the spread of COVID-19. Whether you decide to DIY your own mask using a bandana and elastics, or you buy a mask online, you’ve likely already discovered the uncomfortable side effect of keeping your nose and mouth covered for a prolonged period of time: rashes, chafing, and even breakouts, also known as maskne.
According to NYC-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, the issue lies in the deliberate occlusive nature of a protective mask. It’s something that impacts everyone who wears one, but especially the doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the pandemic who have posted selfies of their skin covered in hives, red marks, and even bruises. “Protecting your face with a mask creates a moist, hot environment for your skin, as your breathing is being trapped,” Dr. Zeichner explains. “This can lead