Do masks give you acne?

The bane of young adults the world over, acne

~Travis Rocha, Lifestyle Editor~

Yes. Yes, they do. I wish that wasn’t the answer and it gives me no pleasure to confirm that it is. The worst part is we aren’t even all suffering together with this plight. That’s right, you may be staring in the mirror of your dorm room, having freshly peeled off the thin piece of cloth that separates societal normalcy from anarchy, clammy-faced with a frown, pondering the newfound red patches forming on your face. All the while your peer is down the hall–enjoying the fruits of an acne-free life. Some of you reading may empathize deeply with this aesthetic burden, others will breathe a sigh of relief and sing the praises of “drinking plenty of water” and your favorite skin care products. Worst of all, some people “just don’t get acne.” It’s not fair. Though, I defy you to tell me what is in what I keep hearing from Christopher Newport emails are very dark and troubling times.

To those of you without acne, I implore you to stop reading now as continuing would only further rub salt in the wounds of your less fortunate and less attractive fellow students (such as myself). Acne, unfortunately, is a part of life and whether we’re wearing masks or not, we all get it at some point. But masks are definitely making it a lot worse, coupled with the patented Virginia summer heat that always feels too humid. The heat beams down on our brows, creating an infinite drip of perspiration which the catch-all, cotton masks clinging to our faces do well to soak up, making the entire ordeal as unpleasant and grueling as possible. The fact of the matter is covering a sweaty face with any sort of cloth is bound to contribute to acne. This poses the question: has wearing a mask become a moral dilemma? If masks cause acne, then must we sacrifice beauty for health? And is that a world worth living in? Certainly it is a moral quandary that frat boys and scholars alike may debate for years to come, likely to no conclusion.

So what are we to do? After all, college students are supposed to be in the prime of their lives, living and learning with minds full of excitement and passion. Staying in, avoiding parties, and wearing masks doesn’t sound much like the collegiate experience I was promised in movies and brochures. It’s no secret that we’d all rather not be dealing with this pandemic, but it’s also true that there’s lots of things in life we’d rather not be dealing with. For example, I’d really rather not be dealing with the lack of extreme wealth in my life. I mean, what’s up with that? I’d love to be a millionaire and it’s aggravating to wake up everyday and then remember I’m not. But I suppose we all have our crosses to bear.

While not all of us are suffering from acne or a lack of a seven figure net-worth, we are all living through a pandemic which means we all need to wear masks. They do cause acne, but that’s not a good reason to not wear one. Masks are uncomfortable and inconvenient, but they save lives. Admittedly, it’s often challenging to truly see the value in masks because there never seems to be any clear, immediate benefits from wearing one. Masks don’t eliminate the chance of spreading/receiving COVID, but they do minimize it which protects you and everyone you come into contact with. Combating this pandemic requires patience. Nothing will be solved overnight, but through consistent and thoughtful sanitization and social distancing, we can slow the spread and contain the virus.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard this spiel a million times by now and, yes, it’s all well and good, but you’re still left wondering “What about my acne?” Well, I guess my first thought would be suggesting that you wash your face more, but we all know that it’s never that simple. So I say, instead, embrace the era you live in and enjoy being a part of a historical world event! Lace up that mask and proudly use it to hide the acne away that it caused in the first place. Besides, who even notices when other people have acne anyway?

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