Mask During COVID-19 and Living with Rosacea

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Last updated 05/09/2021

I hate surgical mask. They are irritating to my rosacea skin. There I said it I prefer the cloth mask during COVID-19.

Back in March I received word that I had to do jury duty. To prepare I bought a package of surgical mask to wear under my cloth mask, as Dr. Fauci suggested, to double mask (I was a reserve and not called).

This does stay more secure but I don’t like the surgical mask against my skin, it scratches. However, I am using the surgical mask up. I bought a package of 50 from Amazon. So, I don’t forget to use my facial mask products and more moisturizing.

People COVID-19 is still here and doesn’t look like it will leave any time soon. Wearing a mask is still the primary way to slow and prevent the COVID-19 spread. Face coverings (mask) are still requested in many facilities.

(CDC not recommended under age 2) (please refer to CDC & WHO websites for current updates).

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis. More details.

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The COVID-19 Vaccine

The good thing (I think) is we now have a selection of vaccines. I have gotten both dosages of the Pfizer now and I had no side effects or problems with this.

My arm was a bit sore in the location for a while but that is expected with any shot. It was no different compared to getting the flu shot. Well except the waiting to get scheduled, following a line and being a part of a group.

I feel a bit better after getting the shots. Taking this added precaution to protect myself from this stuff. But this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop wearing my mask and using hand sanitizer.

Mask During COVID-19 Guidelines

Retailers and some businesses are still posting to wear a mask upon entering. Some locations have lifted it being mandatory. I think this is leading to a lot of confusion and mixed messages.

There was some misinformation at the start when we just began learning about this virus. As always being misinformed can cause some resistance and stress (understandable). The masks were being reserved for health care professionals back then.

Being in a large area with groups of people can make social distancing a challenge. Stores can mark off areas to wait in line but people still tend to pass these areas. And traffic cannot be controlled going through aisles.

It spreads most of the time, person to person by respiratory droplets coming from an infected person. This can be through: coughing, sneezing, talking or raising their voice (shouting, chanting or singing).

Respiratory droplets can end up in the mouth or the nose of others close by or could be inhaled into the lungs. Everyone may not have the same immune system to fight this stuff off.

By not wearing a mask you put yourself and others at risk by possibly passing it on or becoming infected. We have to take responsibility for ourselves, others, the community, state and our planet.

I admit it still scares me, I have a lot of anxiety (practicing self-care so not losing my hair). I haven’t checked the numbers in quite a while, just know it hasn’t gone away. I see people wearing a mask walking down the street, others will never take this seriously.

I say better safe than sorry. Wearing a mask gives me a bit of security against this. A person can be asymptomatic, we can’t tell who has it and who doesn’t by looking at a person.

There are no Medical Exemptions or health conditions known that prevent one from wearing a mask. Even people who have respiratory health conditions like COPD and asthma can safely wear a cloth face mask.

Just Me Always Life Changes

I live in an apartment building. The hallways are narrow. I put my mask on to go to the mailbox and the laundry room. As long as I am out of my apartment, (usually have one waiting on the table) I wear my mask.

For now I have been doubling up wearing a surgical mask under a cotton two layer mask (I have purchased more from my gal Ashley BowerSewPretty on Etsy). I find them comfortable and breathable. Cotton is not irritating on my rosacea face. More importantly these cover my nose, mouth and chin.

I am always wiping down the washer and dryer in my apartment with a disinfectant now. After my boyfriend got MRSA I have been more conscious of germs. The virus can survive on surfaces for days.

My Job Other Than Blogging

I am an essential worker as a part-time cleaner. With my cleaning I am spraying a lot of disinfectant on touch point areas. The job is physically demanding which causes me to sweat creating moisture under the mask.

The heat and moisture can cause my rosacea to flare-up. I drink my bottle of water before and after my shift in my car to replenish myself.

After my cleaning job, my mask and clothes go in the laundry and I shower not using hot water but warm and I try not to stay in for long. I often use calming aloe vera, green tea or cucumber mask to soothe the skin. With all the hand sanitizer I use more moisturizer on my hands.

The mask go in the washer grouped with a twist tie from the bread wrapper. This way I don’t need to fish through laundry to find them (at first I had a couple go in the dryer) then I air dry them.

Steps to Prevent COVID-19

Proper Mask Wearing

  1. The mask needs to cover the nose, mouth and chin when you exhale (this is the whole point in the first place)
  2. You may be wearing the mask too tight if you feel you are sucking air through it
  3. Change mask when damp or wet, it loses its effect
  4. If you need to adjust it, clean your hands before and after, if you can’t wash use hand sanitizer
Mask During COVID-19

Wearing a Mask with Rosacea

Yes, wearing a mask can make rosacea worse and be aggravating. Friction from the mask may lead to skin barrier disruption, irritation and inflammation.

Wearing a mask can also trap oil, dirt and sweat on the skin. Further causing conditions of acne, or rosacea and eczema flare ups.

I do a simple clean with Micellar water on a cotton ball, don’t rub. Applying Cetaphil (with SPF 50+) a lite moisturizer. This is done before I go to work with the mask. (You can carry these along for a quick refresh during your break, I would put Micellar water in a baggie to be safe).

Wow I haven’t worn makeup in over a year. I’m sorry you have to see my pictures. Makeup used to be a staple. I couldn’t leave my home without wearing it.

Along with heat in your environment be mindful of the air conditioning. Going to either extreme is a trigger. Excessive cold can cause dry and irritated skin that is already sensitive.

Also protect yourself from the sun outside as well as indoors.

People breaking out after wearing a mask do not suddenly have rosacea. It is a chronic skin disorder. Rosacea is inherited. (Celebrities with Rosacea).

Pityrosporum Folliculitis

We have an environment normally on our skin. These organisms provide a purpose in keeping our skin healthy. But sometimes things are thrown off balance.

Adding heat and moisture while wearing a mask can lead to skin problems. This may include: pore structure and congestion, blemishes and more oil retention, resulting as yeast overgrowth making rosacea worse.

Pityrosporum folliculitis (AKA Malassezia folliculitis) is a certain type of yeast known as Malassezia, normally found on our skin. It can infect the hair follicles causing them to erupt with breakouts on the surface. An overgrowth and infection in the hair follicles is the cause of PF.

Sometimes this is mistaken for regular acne. But there are differences. PF will not have whiteheads or blackheads as acne. Also it can be very itchy unlike acne.

People with PF sometimes will have dandruff (AKA seborrheic dermatitis). Both conditions are regularly treated the same with antifungal and a shampoo like ketoconazole 2 percent.

This yeast thrives in sweaty and humid skin. It usually causes pimples on the chin and jawline. There is a product Dynarex Hydrocolloid Dressing that can help relieve pressure, across the nose and cheeks under your mask.

Dealing with the Stress causing Rosacea Flares

Yeah, that word again. Stress and anxiety are rosacea triggers, this pandemic has increased this (at least for me). Our body releases more cortisol starting that inflammatory response.

This affects all types, neurovascular rosacea (facial redness) and the inflammatory rosacea (bumps and pimples). Ocular rosacea, affecting the eyes, can also worsen with stress and anxiety.

You should take short breaks from wearing a mask (within social distancing), if you can find a secluded area. Practice sanitary steps, change to a clean cotton mask if possible. The outside is dirty, be careful where you lay it and how you handle it. Fold in half so inside is protected (this goes against your face).


Wrapping it up

COVID-19 unexpected rude guest is still here and doesn’t seem to be leaving in a hurry. We now have vaccines available against the virus. This doesn’t mean we should slack with other guidelines to prevent the spread.

Recognizing rosacea triggers and practicing stress management will ease some of the anxiety. Control the sebum production, washing with gentle cleanser before and after wearing the mask (if possible while at work or try Micellar water) will help skin appearance.

Wearing a mask can make skin conditions worse or cause others (maskne) but this is still no excuse not to wear a mask. I say it is better than the alternative, COVID-19, possible death.

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Has your Rosacea been flaring more with the mask?

Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fourteen years.


Researching content:       (cloth face mask CDC)    accessed 07/15/2020    article for healthcare professionals accessed 07/15/2020

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2 thoughts on “Mask During COVID-19 and Living with Rosacea”

  1. Question was: Will wearing a mask aggravate rosacea?

    Yes, the mask creates moisture underneath raising the temperature resulting with heat and just being uncomfortable. Wearing certain mask that have a fabric rubbing against your face also adds friction causing skin to become irritated. These can trigger rosacea to flare-up.

    Choose a soft fabric of cotton or bamboo. Some people have purchased the silicone mask bracket this holds the mask away from your face. There are other devices for this purpose mentioned above.

    I also suggest the ice roller to have available to roll on your forehead or neck this helps cool you down.

    Thank you visitor for your question!

  2. There was a search hydrocolloid bandages and rosacea.

    Hydrocolloid bandages actually contain material used in pimple patches advertised for acne treatment. They can keep you from possibly picking skin.

    They have been used for years by Dermatologist with wound care to draw out impurities (pus) and heal skin.

    While we are currently wearing mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the bandages also help to relieve pressure from the mask away from the skin. Thus they have many uses and are easy to cut down to a more comfortable size.

    Thank you visitor!


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