Is there an anti-face-mask face mask?
April 22, 2020 5:00 PM   Subscribe

We're in a city that mandates face masks, and we've been wearing them daily. Today my husband and I noticed that we both have deep bags/wrinkles under our eyes that (based on their location) are probably caused by the masks against our skin. I haven't been out since walking the dog at 7 this morning (over 12 hours ago), and the lines are still there. Is there a fix for this? Will it go away? It looks like we both gained 10 years overnight.
posted by Mchelly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I wear a mask most of the day when I'm working (Dentist). This probably isn't caused by a mask. I'd explore other causes.
posted by Cuspidx at 5:04 PM on April 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

What is your skin care regimen, if any? Do you moisturize? Healthy, moisturized skin is more supple and bounces back better from lines and creases caused by materials pressed against the skin for long periods of time (like pillow wrinkles and pant seams, etc. Maybe up your moisturizing game if you don't do it regularly. Some basic lotion after showers/washing your face should help a lot.
posted by acidnova at 5:22 PM on April 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

Could it be allergic black eyes? I get them sometimes this time of year.
posted by mskyle at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

This sounds kind of woo but if the masks go over the back of your ears I wonder if they are cutting off your normal flow of lymphatic drainage, leading to pooling or puffiness under your eyes, which are upstream, lymphatically speaking, from your ears. You could try some lymphatic massage; there are lots of videos online, here’s one. I do lymphatic massage every day and swear by it, it makes a huge difference in my appearance and there are some interesting studies about the important role lymph plays in overall health, immunity, and pain.

Everyone has a different technique but the general idea is to start at the forehead and temples, move to the eyebrows and nose, sweep out to ears, stroke ears and the area behind your ears near the hairline, then move down to the jaw and then down the neck and across the collarbones. Drink lots of water during and after and don’t be surprised if you feel kind of icky the next day!
posted by stellaluna at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2020 [7 favorites]

Not to abuse the edit window: I'll add that 12 hours is a long time so there could definitely be another cause per Cuspidx's advice above.
posted by acidnova at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2020

I belong to an online skincare forum, and a lot of people have been commenting about wearing a mask having a negative effect on their skin. However, it has mostly been increased oiliness and breakouts that I've seen reported. I wonder if acidnova is right about the pressure on your skin caused by your mask (and if you and your husband is wearing the same kind of mask, that would make sense of him having similar markings). Perhaps try a different kind of mask? You could also try washing your face when you come inside and take your mask off (not such a bad idea anyway) and following that with moisturiser +/- other treatment if that's something you'd be interested in.
posted by Cheese Monster at 5:40 PM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Possible causes:

- Structure/tightness/edge of mask digging in. Could you please post a link showing the type of mask you are wearing? If this is the cause, maybe try a different kind of mask.

- Allergy to fabric, dyes, or fabric finish. Maybe try making a mask out of pure untreated cotton, and/or washing your mask in vinegar to remove the finish.

- Allergy to laundry detergent. Maybe try an unscented/hypoallergenic detergent, and rinse very very well. I like Seventh Generation Free & Clear

- Allergies to environmental factors. It's spring! Pollen and mold are happening.

- Pattern of sun exposure causing your mask area to stay pale while the other parts of your face are slightly tanning.

- Are you wearing sunglasses or other glasses with your mask? Maybe the interaction is making the glasses fit oddly.
posted by amtho at 5:58 PM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I agree with amtho, and have suffered a little bit of this myself. My immediate suspicion is that your masks fit very, very tightly. In fact, I saw a South Korean nurse interviewed recently, and she apologized to the interviewer for the dents and wounds around various parts of her face caused by her mask. If it's not that, I also agree with all of amtho's other theories.
posted by Violet Blue at 6:34 PM on April 22, 2020

You might be dehydrated. Try increasing your water consumption.
posted by mezzanayne at 6:49 PM on April 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

I suffer from a pillow wrinkle on one side of my face. I try my best to keep my skin hydrated with floral waters and a rich moisturizer. In your case, I would try a rich eye cream plus Korean gel eye patches/masks.

Do the gel patches whenever you have free time. I do this too to combat the wrinkle that appears every morning. I never had this problem when I was younger but skin becomes less resilient with age (not sure how old you are).
posted by whitelotus at 8:13 PM on April 22, 2020

In response to a request from an ER doctor, Tembe Denton-Hurst and Rio Viera-Newton of New York magazine's Ask the Strategist created this routine to clean, soothe and moisturize skin both before and after wearing an N95 mask.

I can't personally vouch for this routine. But both of these writers know their stuff when it comes to skin care, and Viera-Newton, in particular, has never steered me wrong. (I've appreciated her eczema and rosacea recommendations lately. Something about quarantine is not agreeing with my skin.)

Anyway, there's a budget N95 mask routine and a more expensive one. Times being what they are, I'll spell out the cheap one (anyone who's interested can click the link for details of the more spendy products).

Wash with Cetaphil.

Apply Cortizone 10 Maximum Strength Anti-Itch Creme.

Wait as long as you can for the Cortizone to sink in properly before applying CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for Normal to Dry Skin. (This is rich and that a little goes a long way, Denton-Hurst and Viera-Newton advise.)

Apply a very thin layer of Aquaphor Healing Ointment over the Cortizone and CeraVe as a sealant.

At night, after you've washed your face and put on the Cortizone and CeraVe, you can apply a thicker layer of Aquaphor if you'd like to boost the moisturizing component, the authors note.
posted by virago at 7:05 AM on April 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

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