Don’t skip the wash. A dirty mask can irritate your face

Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 9:36 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Some health experts say you should treat your mask like a pair of underwear. Wash it regularly and wear a clean one every day. But happens if you get behind on laundry and wear the same mask for a week?

Local family medicine physician at Baton Rouge General says you definitely want to avoid that.

“Because the masks hold onto all of those germs and those masks are nice and close to our skin for hours on end through the day… we’re seeing a lot of acne flares,” said Dr. Rachel Kermis.

Mascne is a common issue Dr. kermis sees in her patients today. A dirty face covering can leave your skin irritated. The physician says clean your mask and your face.

“You can get some of those acne wipes at the drug store. Just wipe it down to make sure we get all of that dirt and bacteria off as much as possible,” she said.

Even bad breath bacteria and a scratchy throat are possible while wearing a mask, but that’s because your mask may be a brief barrier to drink water.

“A lot of times people are getting dehydrated because there is not as much access to taking sips of water.”

Dr. Kermis says remember to rehydrate, so your mask doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable And of course, wash your reusable mask every day, but try to avoid perfumy soaps.

“That can kind of trigger people’s allergies,” said Dr. Kermis. “You get the congestion. You get those cold-like symptoms because you’re breathing in environmental triggers form the wonderful smelling Downy fabric softener. It’s just not good to have up to your face all the time.”

Allergies and irritants from your mask can easily be confused with COVID-19 symptoms.

Dr. Kermis says don’t share your mask with others either. That, in a way, defeats the purpose and can spread your germs to your friends.

Your mask is like a piece of armor against the battle on coronavirus, but you must take care of your armor so it can go on to protect you another day.

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