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September 14, 2020
It is very much recommended to have a protective covering over the nose and mouth to significantly lessen the chance of getting infected by nasty viruses and other baddies floating about in the air.
In today’s current situation, wearing a face mask has never been more relevant. While wearing a mask certainly has its upside, it can also take its toll on our skin.
Skin issues related to mask wearing vary from rashes, chafing, to breakouts, otherwise known as ‘maskne’. Medical professionals know this problem very well. But for us common folk, this may be an entirely new concern. That’s why we have listed a few tips for preventing dermatological issues as we shield ourselves from Mama ‘Rona.
Use a Neutral Moisturiser
It seems commonplace to do this but let us explain further how moisturiser helps with face mask skin problems. Apart from doing the obvious, moisturising adds a layer of protection from too much friction as the mask gets rubbed and dragged on the skin’s surface for hours at a time. Think of it as a lubricant.
It’s also recommended to use light moisturisers—something neutral. The less additives like scent and other non-essential ingredients, the better. Doing this would decrease the chance of irritation and breakouts.
Ditch the Makeup
At least until all of this blows over. Mask wearing creates a humid environment around the covered part, which affects skin oil production, which could then clog up pores. Using makeup, especially ones that have heavy formulations, could potentially increase the likelihood of pore-clogging. Irritation and breakouts are a few things to worry about when pores become capped with skin oil and makeup. So, for now, let’s skip the concealer and foundation.
Don’t Use New Skin Products
Now is not the time to give new skin care products a test. As mentioned above, it’s best to keep chemicals and unneeded stuff off of skin because mask wearing really isn’t the optimal situation for determining if a product would do our skin any favours.
The face mask shouldn’t be pressed so hard against the skin that it causes physical discomfort. Wear the mask just tight enough for it to not fall off and have large gaps around the edges. Otherwise, expect chafed skin, which can be painful and lead to uneven skin tone. The skin behind our ears, if we’re using masks that have ear loops, will also benefit from us wearing a mask comfortably.
Use Thick, Breathable Cotton Masks
Let’s leave the professional N95 masks to the, well, professionals. Let’s help them and the environment out by using washable cloth masks, cotton to be exact. Cotton breathes really well therefore it won’t be as irritating to the skin as pro grade masks.
Keep at least three reusable masks handy at all times and replace when one gets too moist. Moisture from sweat and ambient humidity mixed with skin oils creates a good environment for bacteria reproduction. A high bacteria population could irritate or infect skin.
Wash cotton masks with a light detergent and sterilize with bleach. Rinse your mask until the water is clear and the mask smells neutral. Allow to dry completely before wearing.
Experts suggest taking 15-minute breaks every four hours of straight mask-wearing to let the skin breath. But remember to do it where it is safe for yourself and others to not wear a mask. If you can, give your face a light wash while on this short timeout. Make sure that your skin is completely dry before putting your mask back on.
Don’t Forget Your Lips
Hey, lips have skin, too, you know. Use olive or coconut oil or petroleum jelly to moisturise lips and to give them a protective barrier against the chafing effect of the mask.
Follow these tips, and your skin would thank you. And don’t you worry your little head. We’ll all be able to flash our smiles to each other soon enough! And don’t forget that we’re doing the right thing by wearing a mask.
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