From disposable paper masks to N95 masks to chic cloth masks patterned to match your outfit, the new normal includes wearing a mask. Masks help protect the spread of COVID-19, but they’re not particularly comfortable and they cause some undesirable side effects. Let’s talk side effects of wearing your mask and what you can do about them!
Side Effect #1: Maskne
Side effects of wearing your mask include “masks” The term “maskne” was coined to address the surge of mask-related acne. While wearing a mask is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, one of the unpleasant side effects is acne. The build-up of sweat, oil, and dirt in your pores from the tight facial fit can trigger skin irritation and acne outbreaks.
If you struggle with skin irritation or maskne, it’s a good idea to opt for a cotton mask that’s breathable, effective, and reusable. Make sure you always wear a clean mask to avoid excess sweat, oil, and dirt.
To help your skin, apply moisturizer about a half-hour before you put your mask on. Skip the makeup under your mask and wash your face regularly.
Side Effect #2: Difficulty Breathing
For most people, wearing a mask shouldn’t hinder breathing, but those with underlying conditions may notice breathlessness. In hot and humid climates, wearing a mask can be problematic as well.
Again, the solution is switching to a cotton mask. Cloth masks are more breathable.
Side Effect #3: Foggy Glasses
Whether you wear prescription glasses or regular sunglasses, you probably experienced the dreaded fog. When you wear a mask and exhale, the hot air moves upward and fogs up your lenses. It’s nothing if not annoying, right?
There are two solutions to the foggy glasses problem. First, wash your glasses in soap water and let them air dry to create a thin layer of protection against the fog. Second, you could tape the mask to the bridge of your nose and cheeks with medical tape (or sports tape).
Side Effect #4: Mouth Sores and Bad Breath
Wearing a mask can trigger some oral health concerns. If you notice sores around your lips due to irritation from wearing a mask, try using a moisturizing lip balm.
Another side effect you may experience is bad breath. When you exhale and your breath travels up inside your mask, you certainly notice it. To combat bad breath, be sure to maintain a good oral care routine, including brushing your tongue. You may want to use an antibacterial mouthwash.
Persistent bad breath could signal a problem, like gum disease. If you notice that the bad breath doesn’t dissipate with good oral care, reach out to your dentist for an appointment.