2020 brought us the 'mask'. I know we have all seen them before, but we never had so many shoved in our glove boxes, purses or cup holders. Wearing a mask everywhere we go and seeing ourselves in mirrors and even pictures wearing these awful things have stirred up a popular and scary skin care question; Are masks aging my skin?.
With help from Harvard University and the National Association of Cosmetic Surgeons, WrinklePedia contacted the leading authority on facial nerves and the manufacture of the most popular facial implant in the US ( AngelLift); Dr. Brad Evans. Carrying top certifications in both surgery and dentistry, he is a rare knowledge base. His team is accredited with the development of the first removable implant to address the affects of Bell's Palsy as well as the over the counter breakthrough that changed the way dermatologists deal with lip lines and mouth wrinkles; Angellift DermaStrips.
Dr Evans' team leader Dr. Francine Wu explained there are three major components to the mask issue;
Each of these components affect the facial dermas in different ways, claims Dr. Wu. Just like outside environmental conditions affect your face when not wearing a mask. Different components created by the mask effect your face in different ways, each one separately.
1. Facial Nerves
Dr. Evans explains " In short, wearing a mask, is actually beneficial to the muscles responsible for creating many lower facial lines including laugh lines, smoker lines and frown lines. This is attributed to our psyche more than our skin. While our mouth is covered, we feel less obligated to smile, frown or even talk. All such movements create lines and wrinkles in time".
As stated by Dr. Evans, "The first change we see is in facial nerves and muscles. The same reason many asian cultures experience less lower facial aging than western cultures. Many asian cultures maintain relaxed facial expressions, rarely utilizing the complex muscles used in smiling and laughing. Unlike western cultures who are more expressful in their faces, many asian cultures experience far fewer lower facial aging lines. We are witnessing far fewer line creations when wearing a mask due to a reduction in muscular wrinkles. The less facial expression utilized, the less wrinkles are created through muscle memory.
✅So, according to Dr. Evans, as far as 1. Muscles and Nerves are concerned, wearing a mask is actually beneficial in preventing wrinkles. (No solution necessary)
2. Mask Material
Regarding mask material, most disposable masks are made from polypropylene. They can also be manufactured from polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene, and polyester. Many custom covid masks and scarfs are manufactured from cotton and the smallest percentage of custom masks are also manufactured of natural silk. We will address all of these and how they may affect your face.
All of which are plastic. The most common; polypropylene is a plastic with an FDA approval for touching food. However, there is no FDA approval for it to touch the skin or face. Oddly enough, polypropylene is the most common component of all disposable, surgical masks.
As the disposable blue surgical mask is the most common mask in the US, it was never designed to be worn more than an hour or two. Today, these masks cover faces for hours at a time, day in and day out. Polypropylene, like most plastics, are petroleum based. Anything petroleum based is not good for the skin and will cause irritation in the form of redness, acne, itching and even eczema/dermatitis. This all depends on the amount of exposure, skin condition and environment.
Another material used in many of todays custom Covid masks, is cotton. Cotton itself is generally safe to the skin. However, the dye used within the cotton and the substructure which harvests bacteria is where the problems can begin. Allergy to textile dyes can cause skin manifestations such as severe eczema/dermatitis when unbound dyes from coloured clothing bleed onto skin. Many dyes are water soluble and sweat from the body can have the same effect, which leads to leaching out of the dye and increasing the risk of developing an allergy.
Cotton is also prone to bacterial and fungal attack. From the first moment you exhale into your cotton mask, bacteria and fungus can begin to grow. The warmth of your skin and moisture from your breath can and will continually feed the bacteria and create the perfect environment for fungal attack. The presence of bacteria and/or fungus can cause a multitude of skin issues.
Silk is rarely found in masks, but the safest material for our face. Pure silk, not rayon or silk imitation, is breathable, natural, hypoallergenic, and tends to absorb less moisture than cotton, so it won't dry out your skin or harvest bacteria. If you are using a silk mask, keep it. Of all the masks we have seen and tested, to date, silk appears to be the safest for our face.
Solution - Natural anti-oxidant acids such as Folic and Ferulic acid compounds can neutralize the affects of petroleum on the skin helping it to heal and defend against possible allergies. Oil free, natural compound moisturizers with such acids can provide protection and repair to irritated skin.
🚫So, according to our Dermatologist report, regarding
#2. Mask Material, extended wear of most any mask other than 100% natural silk are indeed damaging to you face.
Our team found two products that meet the qualifications for skin repair and even 'mask rash' prevention. Our staff has used both products successfully and would rely on either.
3. Carbon Dioxide Effluent
Every time you breath into your mask, you are filling it with carbon dioxide, almost a thousand times an hour. Is this or can this damage your skin? We went to the experts at Stanford University and got some straight forward answers.
Carbon Dioxide is one of the oldest greenhouse gasses on our planet and is the primary carbon source for life on earth. Carbon Dioxide means life to nearly everything green on our planet. However, it is an effluent of humans and animals as a natural part of life.
"When you place a mask over your face and nose, you are blocking the ventilation of this gas and trapping it against your skin or it would appear so," says Dr. Davis Rosenthal. "Well, in reality, carbon dioxide is so small, it quickly escapes from the molecular structure of your mask and has little time to collect on the surface of your face. However, the moisture within your breath escaping from your mouth and lungs is often trapped and can cause a far greater issue than the gas.
As noted in the earlier topic 'Mask Material' moisture from your breath trapped within the structure of your mask poses the greatest risk of skin damage. Moisture can carry and harvest bacteria and fungi. Even breathable materials such as cotton can trap and hold moisture in a mask and against the face as it maintains a warm and humid environment .
🚫According to Stanford University, moisture and bacteria, not carbon dioxide, pose the greatest risk to the skin while wearing a mask.
Although wearing a mask can deter you from facial expressions that lead to lines and wrinkles, material covering your face will definitely take a toll on your skin. Irritants like petroleum based mask materials to bacterial based dermatitis from breath moisture can occur, aging, damaging and even scarring your face.
There are a few steps you can take to turn this around. Minimize and even prevent future damage and premature aging by simply knowing what to do.
CLICK THE LINKS FOR OUR TESTED RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Clean your pores well. Your pores generate natural oils that protect your skin. Soap free, alchohol free, microfibre cleaning is best.
2. Moisturize using an oil free, antioxidant folic acid base. These ingredients neutralize damage repairing and protecting your skin.
3. Wear only 100% silk masks. Silk breaths well and are the only hypoallergenic material.