The global Covid-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on the health and wellbeing of people worldwide. To reduce the spread, many countries have encouraged and even made it mandatory to wear face masks in public places and stores.
Whilst wearing a face mask will indeed keep you and others safe from this insidious contagion, it can bring with it less desirable and uncomfortable side effects when it comes to your skin. Notwithstanding the serious skin issues that front-line workers can experience as a result of the necessary workplace use, even occasional wearers can experience a multitude of skin problems, from rashes due to friction from rubbing, through to acne breakouts, eczema, irritations and sores. Continued wearing will also lead to an accumulation of sweat, which can lead to blocked pores.
There are, fortunately, a number of ways you can minimalise the damage caused by continued face mask wearing. We highlight some of them below :
Choosing a Face Mask Fabric
Unless required by your workplace, there is no need to wear surgical or medical masks as opposed to a good cloth mask. Thus N95/FFP-2, and other surgical masks can be reserved for those healthcare workers that do really need them.
For personal use a tightly-woven cotton mask will be more breathable and softer on the skin than synthetic mask varieties. You also have the option of making your own cloth mask, however these should be washed regularly as it will absorb some of your skins natural oils, which if allowed to linger, can cause skin breakouts.
Preventing issues before they become an issue
Protecting sensitive areas from chafing or friction can be achieved by using a barrier cream or jelly, such as the family favorites like vaseline. These can also be used overnight to cover broken areas of skin. There area also mild-steroid cream on the market that can treat itching or rash outbreaks.
Up your skincare game
Now is the time to review your skincare routine, or lack of. Ensure your skin is properly hydrated as this will vastly help the barrier function that your skin needs to perform.
Whilst it may be very tempting to cleanse your face immediately before and after wearing a face mask, it is best to cleanse just twice a day. Once in the morning and then again at night-time. Any more than this can lead to further dryness, irritation and redness, and this will be even more pronounced in people with dry, sensitive or mature skin types.
After cleansing pat your skin dry with a towel, ensuring not to aggravate your skin by rubbing. Then finish with a good moisturiser to prevent water loss.
There’s moisturisers and there’s Moisturisers
Not all moisturisers are created equally. Read your labels to understand their contents to ensure you get the best ‘bang for your buck.’ Creams containing hyaluronic acid and/or ceramides are highly moisturising and will create a good barrier layer on the skin. Other ingredients such as hemp and argan oils, green tea and propanediol act as very effective emollients and humectants which will reduce moisture loss giving your skin a healthy glow.
Moisturiser products, such as those produced by Forbidden Beauty, contain such ingredients and are aimed at getting good skin results for you.