Mask wearing is described as one of the main public health measures against COVID-19. Mask wearing induces various types of subjective and objective facial skin damage, such as hair pore dilatation and redness. Facial pore size and redness show morning-to-evening intra-day fluctuations. It remains unknown whether mask usage affects fluctuations in pore size and redness. We measured facial skin hydration, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), pore size, and redness four times a day for 6 weeks in 20 healthy young women. After a 2-week no-mask-usage period (baseline period), all subjects wore unwoven masks for 2 weeks; then, for the following 2 weeks, they applied masks after the topical application of a moisturizer containing a Galactomyces ferment filtrate (GFF) skin care formula (Pitera™). We demonstrated that mask wearing significantly increased the intra-day fluctuations of pore size, redness, and TEWL. In addition, significant correlations were evident among these three parameters. Notably, these mask-induced skin changes were significantly improved, achieving a return to baseline levels, by the application of a GFF-containing moisturizer. In conclusion, mask wearing aggravates intra-day fluctuations in pore size and redness. Appropriate moisturization can minimize this mask-related skin damage, most likely by normalizing the elevated TEWL.
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