The New Acne, A Consequence of Preventing The Spread Of COVID-19

She now wears a mask 10 to 12 hours a day. It is to help stop the spread of COVID-19. For Jordan, it has started a different problem.

“You know around my chin, up my cheek bones, even a few like underneath my eyes where the mask touches,” she explained pointing to her face.

The extension of the state mask mandate by Gov. Jared Polis to at least Sept. 13 may prolong a skin problem. A lot of people are experiencing skin irritation and breakouts caused by the face coverings.

It’s what some are calling “maskne.”

“It’s definitely been something that I’ve had to get used to,” said Jordan Dwyer, Director of Inpatient Transplant Services at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center (PSL).

Some describe it as “co-zits” or “maskne.” Whatever you call it, front line workers especially, are breaking out because their skin can’t breathe.

“With masks you get blockage of the pores,” explained Dr. Raj TerKonda, “That causes a buildup of skin inside that pore and oil and it causes a co-zit or a pimple.”

The facial plastic surgeon at PSL said any mask can cause irritation from the friction. The material and straps may cause a rash. Best are masks that fit comfortably around the nose and mouth.

“I think it’s important to use clean masks every day,” said TerKonda.

And he recommends removing your mask frequently and washing your face twice a day.

“It’s going to be a while before we can go outside or go to public places without masks and, so, it’s important to try to figure out what’s best for you,” said TerKonda.

Thirty-one-year-old Jordan isn’t crazy about maskne, but she’s committed to quality care.

“The best thing for our patients and for our community is to wear these masks and if a little bit of acne is what we get from that, that’s okay,” she said.

Conquering COVID-19 is the goal.

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