In an effort to prevent the spread of Covid 19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that everyone wear a face covering in public…especially in areas where you cannot maintain a six feet distance from others. Here in Hawaii, current mandates now require everyone to wear a non-medical grade face covering at indoor public spaces as well as outdoor areas where physical distancing is unlikely or difficult to maintain. So, in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, many of us are wearing face masks for several hours a day and may be dealing with skin irritations and breakouts, especially now as we are enter an unusually hot, humid fall season. So, here are some tips on how to keep your skin healthy and happy.
WASH YOUR FACE WITH A GENTLE CLEANSER
After removing your mask, wash your face to clean off the sweat and oils that have accumulated during the day. Use a gentle cleanser like Elta MD Foaming Facial Cleanser that will cleanse without irritating or over-drying your skin. No matter what cleanser you use be sure to wash with lukewarm water, not hot water which can irritate and strip the skin of healthy oils.
APPLY A MOISTURIZER WITH SKIN BARRIER-BOOSTING INGREDIENTS
Constant rubbing and friction from mask use can compromise our skin barrier resulting in dryness and irritation. Follow up cleansing with a moisturizer that contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Ceramides replenish your skin barrier, hyaluronic acid pulls moisture from the environment to increase skin hydration, and niacinamide soothes and reduces redness. Alle three of these ingredients can be found in Elta MD's Barrier Renewal Complex.
WEAR A COTTON MASK
The natural fibers in a cotton mask are gentler on the skin compared to synthetic fibers and are less likely to cause irritation. Since face masks should be worn snug on the face, choosing a cotton mask will help lessen irritation caused by the rubbing and friction of the face mask on your skin-especially while exercising.
WASH YOUR MASK AFTER EVERY USE
You should routinely wash your mask after every use. You don’t want to wear something that is in close contact with your skin that has sweat, oils, and potential bacteria from the last time it was worn. Also, do not overuse detergent when washing your mask and be sure to rinse it out well. Embedded detergent molecules within the weave of the fabric that are in close contact and rubbing your skin may also cause skin irritation. Opt for a detergent without dyes and fragrance or one that is formulated for sensitive skin.
SEE A DERMATOLOGIST
If you are following all the tips above and are still experiencing skin problems, it may be time to make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. Most doctors are seeing patients through video visits so it is just a matter of calling and making an appointment.
I hope the above tips have been helpful in your skin care routine during this Coronavirus Pandemic. Face masks are here to stay, so please stay safe and healthy and remember to always wear your mask to stop the spread of the virus.