The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
March 21, 2022. A joyous day for many, but a somber day for some. We all know what the COVID-19 pandemic is, we’ve been living through it for over two years now. While the pandemic brought some positives (pun intended), such as more time with our loved ones and time to focus on self-care, the majority of the past two years have been unpleasant for most. During these years, one dividing topic of conversation has been the requirement of face masks. Now, while the opinion on masks has been highly debated, it’s evident that there are both pros and cons to the removal of these masks and I have many thoughts.
Bye, Bye, Maskne
Maskne: a product of the combination of the words mask and acne. Also, a product of a piece of cloth rubbing against easily irritated skin. Maskne has been especially frustrating for individuals who are acne-prone and had finally cleared up their acne, just to have it return in the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically. I remember my social media feed was filled with frontline workers, who had to keep their masks on for extended periods of time, having horrible flare-ups of painful acne in 2020. The removal of masks would allow all of us who suffered from maskne to release a sigh of relief.
Personally, I’m very shy around new people and have a hard time striking up friendships in new environments. One way I would approach interacting with my peers is to smile at them or shoot them a look in class to see if they were just as confused as I am. Masks remove that ability to communicate with others using facial expressions, and that barrier to connecting with others is surely not something I’ll miss.
No More Hiding Emotions
One con of the removal of masks that many individuals (including myself) will miss is the fact that we won’t be able to shield our emotions anymore. I was a cashier during the pandemic, where I dealt with many tough customers and having a mask on allowed me to show how I was really feeling on my face while remaining polite. A mask also came in handy when I was listening to a great song and would mouth the words while walking to or from class, which sadly I think I’ll have to give up now to avoid some strange looks.
People Will See Us at Our Worst
Masks were a gift in that they concealed our new breakout, our bad self-tan job or whatever else we were dealing with on our skin on any given day. Many people found solace in the ability to streamline their makeup routine to only include putting on products from the nose up since that’s all anyone at work or school would see. Unfortunately, gone are those days of being able to hide our imperfections.
Masks are Safety Blankets
While many people hated masks and thought that they were constraining and inconvenient, others felt extreme comfort from the addition of masks in their daily lives. I was recently going to a yoga class taught by an elementary school teacher, and she shared an opinion quite different than my own: that she was not ready to let masks go. She shared that young children are germy enough as is, but at least with masks on she felt less anxious about the possibility of illness transmission. For individuals who work with children, masks can provide comfort surrounding COVID-19 contraction at their workplace and they aren’t sure if the removal is something they’re excited about.
Ultimately, masks have served as an important tool of protection during this global pandemic, but whether you believe in their benefit or not, most people can agree that they have greatly affected society. The removal of the mandate will be an adjustment for all.