You’re probably wondering how this is possible? Well, let me share a short story. A friend of mine recently visited the dermatologist to treat some unusually irritated skin near his chin and jawline. The doctor made a diagnosis of a yeast infection ― yes, on his face ― potentially caused by the face mask he’d been wearing during the coronavirus pandemic. Now this leaves room for a lot of questions. Was the diagnosis made correctly? Do we have to worry about this too?
Let’s try to get some answers. We really can’t say a face mask is the sole cause of this skin irritation, but using tight-fitting fabric as face mask for a long period of time without allowing air to the covered part can allow for accumulation of heat and humidity which could exacerbate underlying conditions that could worsen a fungal or bacterial infection.
Yeast infection is a fungal infection resulting from a yeast called candida. I’d like to inform you that, we all have the yeast organism on our skins. There are various favorable factors that could allow the yeast to grow unchecked and cause infection. This includes a warm, moist area or systemic illnesses like Diabetes mellitus, prolonged use of antibiotics and reduced immunity like that seen in HIV/AIDS patients etc.
There are numerous yeast infections that can affect the face and come in different appearances and different areas of the face. Various forms of facial yeast infections include tinea faciei which appear on the face as a red ring with sharp border, while tinea perleche is the yeast that cracks the corner of the mouth.
Of all yeast infections, the most common fungal infection that affect face is seborrheic Dermatitis. It’s chronic in nature and usually found in areas of the face with more sebaceous gland like the nose creases, around the ear and eyebrow with multiple reddish rash.
Wearing face mask for a long time can actually predispose you to fungi infections due to the favorable environment created by the mask. Hence, it’s advisable to always draw down the mask at interval. This will decrease heat, sweating, humidity, irritation, while also improving airflow, all of which should decrease your infection risk. Also, people with underlying skin conditions like dermatitis (eczema) should take caution. Your chances of getting yeast infection is higher.
One of the best practices to overcome yeast infections is to maintain better hygiene. Switch your face mask to those made with cotton or light fabric. Wear masks that are not too tight. Have more than one face mask. Normalise washing a face mask you intend to use again. I know you are probably aware of some over the counter drugs that can treat the rash, but my best advice for you is to make appointments with your doctor(preferably a dermatologist). There, you can get the best treatment possible.