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Tampa dermatologist sees cases of ‘mask rash’ caused by face masks

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TAMPA (WFLA) – Some people are finding that after wearing a face mask for a prolonged period of time, they’re developing a rash or skin irritation.

Dr. Maria Hicks, Dermatologist at ForCare Medical Center in Tampa says ‘mask rash’ usually appears on the faces of people who already have underlying skin conditions like acne, rosacea, or eczema.  

“We just see a little bit more of an increase of the complaints, you know, from the patients coming to the clinic lately,” said Hicks.  

Dr. Hicks says the irritation is most likely due to the sweat and oil that can be found on a dirty mask. She says inflammation can also be caused by the hot environment that’s created under your mask. 

Dr. Hicks tells WFLA.com, the best way to prevent irritation is to wear a clean mask and avoiding heavy products on your skin like makeup and moisturizers. 

“Whatever you use, make sure it’s clean, you know at all times,” said Hicks. “For women, just to decrease wearing makeup and heavy products, like heavy moisturizers as that can increase the sweat and the irritation.” 

So what should you do if you have pimples and blemishes? Hicks says whatever you do, don’t pick at your skin.  

“There are different things that you can use over the counter. There are products that have benzoyl peroxide. Those things in these products are going to dry out the red pimples. Things that have sulfur can also decrease inflammation that’s basically as a wash or as I leave on.”

Hicks also recommends staying in touch with your dermatologist throughout the pandemic.  

“I think the important thing is, if you normally have treatments for your acne, for your rosacea for your eczema, just continue those treatments,” said Hicks. “If there’s a flare up, just consult your dermatologist just so we have an idea of how to switch or change your treatment if necessary.” 

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