Skin Irritation during COVID

Skin Irritation during COVID

During the period of the Coronavirus, as a responsible individual, you should be wearing a face mask, and sanitizing your hands, for prevention and protection.


However, wearing the mask for long periods can cause skin irritations, due to friction and by exposing the skin to allergens and your skin on your hands can become dry with constant sanitation.  


Let us make sense of the causes and implement techniques to overcome your skin concerns.



Area: Bridge Nose, chin, cheeks, Forehead


Caused by: 


Mask and Shield

  •  Friction and irritation push bacteria into the skin, creating micro-tears that allow easier entry for bacteria and dirt and triggers the acne process.


Oil and Sweat 

  •  Masks trap humidity, dirt, oil, and sweat on our chin, mouth, and nose area making our skin more susceptible to breakouts.
  •  During summer, it worsens, as the increased oil production in our pores creates the ideal environment for cysts.


Makeup and Sweat

  •  Bacteria and the moisture from our breath all mingle beneath the mask leading to a breeding ground for bacteria combined with makeup aggravates breakouts.


Long hours of using a mask

  • Healthcare and other front-line workers are most at risk because their masks are tighter-fitting and they are wearing them for longer hours.


Not washing your mask

  •  You are adding bacteria to your face, which again can trigger spots and redness.


Skin Irritation: Acne or Maskne

  • Also known as Acne mechanic that is caused by friction, rubbing, and occlusion of the skin by outside forces, in this case, the mask.
  • Overgrowth of Acne bacteria, Oral pathogens, Skin pathogen, Sweating, Oily skin, Bad odour creates a place for acne bacteria to grow and thrive.


Skin Irritation: Dermatitis – Skin Rash (redness, inflammation, dry)

  • Rosacea- redness
  • Perioral dermatitis - skin rash develops around the mouth
  • Irritant dermatitis - direct contact with a mask that irritates the skin and residue from laundry detergent and fabric softeners can irritate the skin as well.
  • Contact dermatitis - an allergic reaction to material in the mask
  • The material can absorb natural oil on your face, leaving your skin dry


Skin Irritation: Hyperpigmentation

  •  Friction can lead to irritation and chafing, which contributes to the development of hyperpigmentation.


Skin Irritation: Ingrown Hairs

  • Due to clogging hair follicles and bacteria from using a mask.



  • Cleanse daily, in the morning and evenings, to eliminate bacteria build-up.
  • Use products that contain salicylic acid that helps prevent breakouts.
  • Look for serums with hyaluronic acid to reduce irritation from the mask.
  • Take note, if using hyaluronic serum and your skin is dehydrated/dry, you need to introduce a cream over the Hyaluronic serum.
  • In-salon treatment – Introduce treatments such as Light Therapy- Blue light can kill bacteria that cause acne, Red light reduces inflammation.Deep cleanse facials, with extraction and lymphatic drainage to encourage circulation.
  • Introduce, Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid that aids in cell turnover, reducing blocked pores.
  • Look for skincare with anti-inflammatory and acne-fighting properties. It helps to build the skin’s barrier and strengthens its defense against harsh elements.
  • Decongest with an exfoliator.
  • Introduce a barrier cream or mask.


Hand Sanitizers are gaining immense popularity, it is a convenient option rather than washing hands with soap and water. Alcohol strips the skin barrier of essential proteins and lipids, resulting in irritation and dryness, this can increase your risk of eczema.



Moisturiser after use of sanitizer.


Try in-salon Treatment such as Paraffin Hand Treatment or invest in a hand mask.



  • Avoid synthetic fiber masks, look for cotton and natural fibers such as silk that are less likely to irritate the skin.
  • Make sure your mask fits you well, so it does not constantly rub or press into the skin.
  • Wash mask after every wear.
  • Wash Mask with hypoallergenic detergent in a washing machine in a hot setting.
  • Opt for washing hands with soap and water instead of using sanitizer, that can dry skin.
  • Maintain a Healthy diet – Eat more vegetables and fruit, every day. During stressful times, it’s comforting to turn to sweet and salty treats, but these can significantly hamper immunity and skin health



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