The dermatologist elaborated that some people are more likely to suffer from maskitis than maskne based on their skin type. Genetic predispositions that make people more susceptible to rashes and dry skin also play a role in maskitis occurrence. Gross added that anyone who struggles with eczema and dermatitis have a higher chance of developing maskitis.
Meanwhile, the celebrity skin expert said people who have naturally oily or blemish-prone skin are more likely to experience maskne. Maskne is a condition where skin in the facial areas in contact with a mask experiences blemishes and acne breakouts.
Gross noted that many people who suffer from maskitis assume they have maskne. This leads them to improperly address the condition. He noted that the two skin conditions have different treatments, and anyone treating their maskitis with anti-acne products only worsens their predicament. "Knowing the difference is important because misdiagnosis can lead to further skin irritation," he commented.
The dermatologist shared that countless patients come to his clinic with the assumption that they have maskne – when they actually have maskitis. The anti-acne products they use for treatment only cause further inflammation and irritation. He recommended that people with maskitis use a product that "is soothing, decreases inflammation and rebalances skin" to address the condition.
Gross also suggested a morning and evening regimen to hydrate and soothe the skin. The face should be cleansed with a gentle hydrating cleanser first thing in the morning. This should then be followed with serum, eye cream, moisturizer and sunblock. However, he warned that the skin under the mask must be "completely clean" and devoid of any skin products.
For the evening routine, Gross recommended the use of a gentle and hydrating cleanser alongside lukewarm water. This should be followed by a hydrating serum that targets inflammation, preferably one that contains niacinamide. He explained that niacinamide – a variant of vitamin B3 – helps balance skin and reduce redness. A hydrating moisturizer with no harsh ingredients that can strip or dry out the skin should finish the night routine.
Most importantly, the skincare expert emphasized the importance of clean masks. "Ensure that [the] mask is washed with a fragrance-free detergent. Fragrances can cause further irritation," he said. (Related: New research shows that wearing a mask will not protect you against the coronavirus.)
Skin conditions such as maskne and maskitis are not the only problems that arise from long periods of mask-wearing. Mask mouth is another health problem stemming from covering the mouth and nose area. North Carolina dentist, Dr. Jennifer Bell, defined mask mouth as the effect of wearing a facial covering on the mouth for extended period. She said that this can lead to bad breath and a higher risk of cavities, tooth decay and gum tissue inflammation. (Related: STUDY: Long term mask use breeds microbes that infiltrate the lungs and contribute to advanced stage lung cancer.)
New York cosmetic dentist, Dr. Bridget Glazarov, explained the mechanism behind mask mouth. "Because your nose is covered while wearing a mask, you are inclined to breathe through your mouth. [This] can lead to a dry mouth, making it easier for bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease to thrive," she said. Breathing through the mouth also dries out the saliva that neutralizes acids and raises the pH level of the oral environment, the dentist added.
Glazarov advised ensuring face coverings are clean and removing mask when alone to avoid mask mouth. Maintaining sufficient hydration and proper oral hygiene also helps address mask mouth by keeping the mouth's moisture and pH levels.