Are Your Face Masks Clean Enough?

This is the best way to clean your reusable face masks at home to prevent mask acne and other issues!

(Lead image: Anne-Sophie Cochevelou/Instagram)

Well, the short answer is- No! 

With experts, advising the use of face masks even after getting vaccinated to be secure against the virus, it is safe to say face masks are here to stay. Whether you switch your masks regularly or are double masking when out and about, face masks are the first line of defence against the raging Coronavirus. 

While it is easy to find a mask that best suits your sartorial choices and feels the most comfortable, most of us are not thaaa..t particular about maintaining mask hygiene. Not wearing clean face masks is also a big factor in causing the dreaded mask acne or maskne or irritation on your face. 

Dr Kiran Godse, a consultant dermatologist at Hiranandani Hospital Vashi says, "The type of fabric and tightness of a mask can often irritate the skin. It is likely to cause ‘contact dermatitis’ - an allergic reaction to cloth materials or the bacteria formed from not cleaning the mask well enough or re-usage of disposable masks. The use of a mask may lead to abrasions on the bridge of your nose, chin, cheeks, or also behind the ears." 

How to fix it? Well, clean your masks! Dr Godse shares a handy guide on exactly how to do it:

Soap up your mask

Mask cleanliness must be your topmost priority. Re-usable masks should be washed and swap the one-time-use ones regularly for fresh masks. Use an antiseptic soap with warm water to clean your mask. Rinse it thoroughly and ensure it is completely dry before use it again. You can also dry steam your mask in the washing machine.

Rock the no-makeup look

Give your regular makeup a break. The cosmetics may clog your pores and wearing it under a mask could increase the chance of causing acne or breakouts. Keep it simple and just wear your non-comedogenic sunscreen or moisturiser. Once you remove the mask, wash your face with a mild facewash to unclog pores. It is best to then use an oil-free moisturizer or water-based moisturizer.

Do not pop the pimples

Do not squeeze or break your pimples; this will further lead to inflammation and may also infect the area.

Exfoliate

Use chemical exfoliation to get glowing, flawless skin. Salicylic or Glycolic acids will also prevent acne. These are also available in the form of serums. Avoid using products with Petrolatum, an ingredient used in cream and ointments (petroleum jelly).

Dr Godse adds, "Do not let go of the basic hygiene practices. Wash your hands thoroughly before wearing your mask as well as immediately after returning home. If your skin irritation persists, and there is an infection scare, you must consult your doctor immediately."