Wearing masks, or PPE (personal protective equipment) in public is crucial for preventing the transmission of COVID-19, but masks aren’t fun to wear. While masks are very necessary, you don’t have to let your skin suffer from wearing them on your grocery store runs or at work.
Wearing a mask, even for a short time can certainly cause irritation on the skin and contribute to dryness. Other conditions like rashes, peeling and acne can all be caused by prolonged mask use. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to keep your skin protected while ensuring your health along the way. Here are some simple tips and tricks for wearing a mask and maintaining healthy, clear skin. Preventing COVID-19 relies on your ability and willingness to wear a mask. Keeping your skin comfortable and free of irritation makes stopping the spread of coronavirus much less frustrating.
Keeping your skin hydrated is important year round, mask or no mask. Summer dryness right now can further sap moisture from your skin. But no matter the season, your skin being moisturized is the best way to prevent mask-related irritation. Find a product that works for you, if you don’t already have one. Apply during your normal skincare routine, and before and after wearing a mask. The best ingredients to look for in a moisturizer include ceramides, dimethicone or hyaluronic acid. These all work well to create a barrier to protect your skin from dryness and irritation from contact with the mask. Facials are also a nice way to treat yourself and keep skin moisturized. After months and months cooped up inside, you deserve one.
Your lips are also at risk for dryness under a mask. Wear lip balms or apply petroleum jelly in order to keep your lips from cracking and becoming irritated. Use care when applying petroleum jelly, however, and make sure not to get it on the surrounding skin. On skin, petroleum jelly can clog your pores and contribute to acne.
This one is a bit difficult, but if you want to keep your skin clear of blemishes and acne, avoid wearing makeup. As skin under your mask can sweat more, it can become oily. Oily skin in tandem with makeup can clog pores and cause acne. Opt for non-comedogenic makeup products or avoid wearing makeup if it’s at all possible.
There are countless types of masks out there available to buy and use. Finding the right mask is not an easy task because there are plenty out there that aren’t great for your skin. While disposable masks are useful, they aren’t very gentle on your skin. If you’re able to, opt for a cloth mask that’s soft and breathable. Make sure the mask fits well; it can easily irritate your skin if it’s too tight, but it also won’t be effective if it’s too loose. The mask should cling snugly against your nose, cheeks and chin. If it’s too loose, it can also move around more on your skin which will cause irritation. Synthetic fabrics like nylon, rayon or polyester are more likely to cause irritation than natural fabrics like cotton. The wrong fit and material can cause rashes and other types of irritation.
One last bit of advice is to give your skin a break. Masks are not detrimental to your health beyond irritation, but wearing them for too long can get uncomfortable. Take a break from your mask every 4 hours if possible. Move away from others and give your skin a 15 minute break. Move outdoors if at all possible, or choose well-ventilated areas away from others. If you can, hop in your car for another safe place to give your skin a much needed break.
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a big responsibility, and wearing a mask is one of the best ways to do it. If you’ve got other questions about masks and your skin’s health, reach out to the skincare professionals at Northeast Dermatology today.
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