Wondering how to keep your skin safe with a mask on all the time? Some essential skin care tips need to be followed for a flawless skin
During the Covid-19 pandemic, wearing a mask is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Health care professionals are used to wearing masks for certain procedures or specific patient interactions. But now, with the entire world facing Covid-19, Healthcare workers have to wear masks for extended periods. Even if not working in a hospital, one has to compulsorily wear a mask for running even basic errands like buying basic household stuff.
Extended use of a tight mask may cause skin damage
As more places are opening up, the need to wear a mask is increasing in a manifold. A new term 'maskne' has been coined. This referred to as acne on the skin where we wear a mask. Tight-fitting masks are essential for healthcare workers to prevent the entry of virus particles. The border is more affected, so people get an oval red outline. Extended usage of masks can cause bruising, cuts, redness, irritation, pimples and post-inflammatory skin darkening. These areas get sensitive to touch as the skin barrier gets damaged, and the sensory nerves become more vulnerable due to inflammation. It even stings if you apply any cream or lotion.
How does a face mask cause skin irritation?
Friction directly on the skin can lead to irritation and inflammation. Second, masks can trap moisture, saliva, mucus, oil, dirt and sweat on the skin, leading to mild to moderate skin conditions like acne, eczema and rosacea. In addition to increasing acne, masks can worsen or trigger skin conditions causing facial redness and scaling.
Mask associated skin damage only in some people: Usually, the skin is in a state of equilibrium with the outside air. When the surrounding air becomes too dry or too humid, it may trigger skin problems in an individual who is already at risk of developing them.
Watch: Get rid of pimples with these simple tips:
Tips for Health care Providers in the Hospital: A barrier cream can be used, which helps in reducing inflammation. It will create a barrier between skin and the moisture being produced. It will also block out everything created inside of the mask because of friction, rubbing or humidity.
Top 10 Expert Tips to prevent and treat mask associated skin problems
- Make sure your mask covers your nose and mouth, but that it is not so tight that you are bruising your skin.
- Wash your face regularly with bland soap and water at least twice a day
- If not a doctor or a nurse or anyone working in and around patients, take off the mask when not required, especially when at home or in safe spaces.
- Replace your mask as soon as it starts feeling wet.
- If you are going to be out for a long time, carry a few extra masks with you. Store the used until you can go home and wash them
- Wash cotton face masks by hand using soap and hot water.
- Apply a thick layer of hypoallergenic moisturizer before you put a mask on and after you remove it.
- Avoid ointment-based moisturizers while wearing a mask because they will trap sweat and oil.
- Skin irritation is common around the nose and cheeks. For the same, use an emollient in the affected area to improve the skin. Apply an oil-free moisturizer to damp skin multiple times a day. It also reduces skin inflammation.
- Avoid dense scrubs, which can further add to the damage. And, keep petroleum jelly handy to cover the face and skin when at home.
Lastly, Avoid wearing heavy make-up or foundation underneath the mask as it may spots or acne as an excellent skin is all about keeping it healthy naturally. Hence, keep your face clean and use suitable products as per your skin type for healthy skin with or without a mask.
With inputs from Dr Anish Desai. Director, Strategic Medical Affair, Adroit Biomed Ltd
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