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Why Do Masks Cause Rough Skin? Causes and Preventive Measures

Why Do Masks Cause Rough Skin?
Causes and Preventive Measures

Wearing a mask in public is recommended as we enter this new normal.
However, it is not uncommon to experience dryness and roughness of the skin and lips when wearing a mask.
Here we would like to address the causes of rough skin due to mask usage and how to better protect your skin.

  • Wearing Masks Can Dramatically Increase the Likelihood ofSkin Problems
  • Wearing Masks Can Dramatically Increase the Likelihood of Skin Problems

    • What types of skin problems do you experience after prolonged mask use?
    • My lips get dry and become rough. (female in her 20s)
    • No matter what I do, the areas that come into contact with the mask become dry. (female in her 20s)
    • My cheeks are dry and red. (female in her 30s)
    • The area around the cheekbones directly in contact with the mask is dry. (female in her 40s)
    • When I take off my mask, my face feels extremely dry. (female in her 40s)

    Internet survey conducted by Shiseido: 2020/4/10-13, n=100, females and males in their 20s-70s, in Japan

  • The Cause is a Negative Spiral of the Skin’s Barrier Function Due to Changes in Temperature and Humidity and Constant Friction

    Cause #1: Changes in Temperature and Humidity

    There is a difference in temperature and humidity between the steamy air inside the mask and the outside air.
    The skin undergoes repeated changes every time the mask is removed. As a result, the barrier function and moisturizing abilities of the skin are disrupted, leading to rough skin.
    In addition, an environment with excessive humidity (such as under a mask) makes the skin more vulnerable to external damage.
    Furthermore, when the mask is removed, the barrier function of the skin is affected by the rapid loss of moisture.
    This is similar to the way in which, right after a bath or shower, despite feeling moisturized, the barrier function of the skin becomes more fragile, allowing for dryness to set in.

    Cause #2: Damage Due to Constant Friction

    The stratum corneum on the surface of the face is thinner than on other parts of the body, making it easily susceptible to external damage.
    Depending on the material, shape, and usage of the mask, it may be rubbing against the skin. This excessive friction will cause the stratum corneum to peel.

  • Cause #2: Damage Due to Constant Friction Cause #2: Damage Due to Constant Friction

    A glass plate was slid onto the surface of the skin and those cells that adhered to the glass were observed.

    Rubbing experiment/study conducted by SHISEIDO

  • The Preventive Measure is “Maintaining Skin Resilience”
  • The Preventive Measure is "Maintaining Skin Resilience"

    As we head into the hot, sweltering heat of summer, you will easily sweat under your mask which will irritate the skin and lead to a vicious cycle.
    It's important to wash your face more often, and as your skin will be more stressed, please take the time to care for your skin and keep it resilient.

    Facial Cleansing

    It is essential to gently remove impurities without irritating the skin. Cleanse your skin with plenty of foam, then rinse carefully with lukewarm water.

    Moisturizing Care

    Primary moisturizing care, such as softeners and moisturizers, is essential. Take up a generous amount of softener onto a cotton pad and gently apply over your entire face.
    Then, try using an additional moisturizer such as a beauty essence, to help improve your skin’s natural moisture barrier function and keep your skin looking healthy.
    As this is a stressful time, you need to relax and boost your skin’s inner defenses. Try using skincare with a soft scent.
    It’s important to take extra special care of your skin and use products that will help keep it looking healthy and protected.

This article is based on research by Shiseido and meant for informational purposes only.