THE MASK-ERADE: How Women Are Adapting in the Age of Covid

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
THE MASK-ERADE: How Women Are Adapting in the Age of Covid

With the beginning of Phase 3 in Manhattan, and the infection rate dropping to a record 1%, it feels as though life is beginning to return to normal.  However, cautionary tales from Arizona to Florida tell us that we are still a nation susceptible to the ravages of Covid 19.

Masks and social distancing remain our best defense…but how do we deal with the endless days of the “mask-erade”?  Not recognizing our friends and neighbors, wondering whether masks lower oxygen levels, trying to prevent glasses from fogging, do masks and makeup mix, and how do I treat mask-acne?  Just a few of the questions that prompted this article so let’s turn to the experts for a few answers.


THE MASK-ERADE: How Women Are Adapting in the Age of Covid

According to a group of infectious disease specialists gathered for a special TODAY Show report, the consensus of opinion is that if masks were dangerous, they would not be recommended by the CDC, state and local health departments.  In fact, according to the Medical Director of the National Foundation of Infectious Disease, if dangerous, there would be more cases of OR nurses and doctors being ill,  which has not been the case……either from a lack of oxygen or too much carbon dioxide.

An aerosol scientist at the Bloomberg School of Public Health added that “Scientific studies are showing no important changes in CO2 levels or oxygen levels from wearing surgical masks or fabric masks, which have better permeation for gases.  Probably most likely is that people are hot when wearing a mask and simply feel overheated”.

Last, while wearing masks during warm weather may cause dampness and sweat, that should not cause any bacterial infection.  Best advice: “If with the hot humid air of summer, your mask becomes sweaty and yucky, wash your cloth masks and simply dispose of others.”


As your breath flows upward and fogs your glasses, the most common cause is the quality and fit of your mask. So what to do with this pesky problem?

  • If you are wearing a mask that has a metal band on the top, adjust it to the contours of your face.
  • You can also lower where the mask fits on your face, so your exhaled breath is a little lower.  But don’t bring it down so much that it does not cover most of your nose and all of your mouth.
  • One advisor suggests washing your glasses in soap and water.  Letting them air dry can prevent fogging because it leaves a protective film on the lens.  Also suggested is a commercial anti-fogging spray.

Last, a lot of breath escaping and fogging your glasses may mean that your mask does not have adequate airflow. If you are using a filter, try one that allows more airflow, with the suggestion that HEPA filters work best.  If your mask is homemade and you can remove a layer of fabric, try that, or think about using a different material. To check if the fabric is thick enough, hold it to the light. If you can see individual fibers, it is probably not a good material.

MASKS AND MAKEUP DON’T MIX: Some Cosmetic Fans Seek Permanent Fix

As reported recently by the WSJ, months at home have impacted on the makeup routines of many women as well as the way women want to look while wearing a mask.   Certainly, the mask accentuates the eyes and brows and according to industry experts, women are ditching heavy foundations, products that smudge, and lipstick sales around the globe are predicted to drop as much as 70%.

Further, focus groups reveal a sea-change in attitudes, signified by the fact that women now have less tolerance for the labor intensive makeup routines of the past, and as one woman said, “That hour in the morning, are you going to spend that time doing makeup or having morning coffee with a significant other?”

For others, Covid helped pull a trigger for those who have been considering some type of permanent, time-saving fixes like tattooed brows and lips.  The pandemic also delivered an unexpected upside:  time for healing at home without witnesses. Tattooed lips can flake and scab, micro-blading (a form of brow tattoo) can take a few weeks for the full color to emerge.  So, for now, women have a “complete cover” and also a renewed sense of freedom!

Lastly, innovative beauty gurus have flooded You Tube with mask friendly makeup tutorials featuring models wearing both surgical and N95 masks and top brands like Chanel have create looks that include “Ocean Eyes” (blue eye shadow and blue mask), followed by Tom Ford’s “Sporty Spice” (sweatproof eyeliner with a white mask).

And in Seoul Korea, we see the “augmented reality” mirror that allows touchless cosmetic shopping.  What? Yes, this mirror allows you to see that scarlet shade of lipstick or long-lash mascara that suits you, even with your face mask!  To minimize human contact, shops also have installed QR Codes next to products on display, so that customers can check details with their mobile phones, instead of talking to staff.

Clearly, today we live in a different world!


THE MASK-ERADE: How Women Are Adapting in the Age of Covid

Though the CDC instructed to avoid touching our faces during COVID-19, there is one thing that has been in constant contact with our faces and skin:  masks.  While these coverings have been beneficial in slowing the spread of the virus, they have become an issue for some with sensitive skin.  Enter something known as acne mechanica.

Commonly found in athletes, students, and soldiers, it can be triggered by excess heat, pressure, friction, or rubbing of the skin.  The skin becomes compromised while using a daily protective mask:  issues can include breakouts, oily skin, clogged pores—and some skin types can become dry and dehydrated, leading to skin discomfort and inflammation.

Solution:  a simple 4-point treatment plan developed by leading industry expert for clean skin care, Karen Ballou, as described on an instructive video at And for those on the go, Karen has also created a Mask Quick Relief Package that features a spot treatment of purifying French Clay, a Vital Ionic Mask, and complimentary nonfilter mask for just $100.  I highly recommend this product for any of those who are serious and committed to high quality, clean skin care.

Listen in to our Happy Hour Podcast interview with Karen Ballou.

In closing, I think we all agree face coverings save lives—here’s to taking care of yourself and one another.


  • Anne Akers

    Anne brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as The Three Tomatoes’ Beauty, Health and Wellness Editor. As a champion of health and well-being for all, she is the Founder/Publisher of GLOW Beauty, Health and Wellness magazine; previous Founder of Castle Connolly Graduate Medical Publishing, publishing educational review manuals for doctors to pass their board exams in 15 different medical specialties and co-Founder of, publishing and marketing books for health professionals. A winner of the SMART CEO award for "entrepreneurial spirit with a sense of give back to the community," Anne sits on many Boards for women's health, with a particular passion for Veterans and her current role as Special Advisor to Operation Warrior Shield, "healing their hidden wounds". Visit Anne at: or:

1 Response

  1. karen says:

    Thank you for the Mask article. I saw a video where an optometrist (I think) suggested putting bandaids or surgical tape on the top of the mask, and that prevented air from escaping and fogging glasses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.