Face Masks have become the ‘must wear’ item during the pandemic affecting the world. As we have learnt from health professionals, face masks play a vital role in reducing the spread of coronavirus. At the same time, they are hard on your skin. They are particularly hard for workers who are required to wear them day in and day out. I am a carer and required to wear one when attending my clients. Face masks are also hard on people who must wear them when going out into the world and while travelling on transport. Continuous wearing of face masks can cause a range of problems including acne, peeling skin, itchiness, rashes and dryness. While face masks are necessary, to help prevent skin problems, I have spoken to a dermatologist friend and she recommends 9 ways to help prevent face mask skin problems.
Skip wearing make-up under your facemark
When wearing a mask your skin under the mask can become very hot. With this heat comes moisture, and if you are wearing make-up the mixture of moisture, make-up can and friction can lead to your pores becoming blocked. This can lead to skin breakouts like acne or ‘maskne’. If you must wear make-up, stick to eye make-up only or have some form of material that you can pat your face with to absorb the excess moisture.
Cleanse your face
If you don’t do it already, start cleansing your face daily with a gentle cleanser. A cleanser is designed to rid your skin of impurities and dirt that can block the pores in your skin. When wearing a mask you may have more impurities and dirt on your skin than usual, so cleaning them away is a must. If possible, do it straight after taking your mask off, so anything that is on your skin doesn’t settle there and cause problems.
Use a rich moisturiser
Dry skin is a common problem and it is made worse by wearing a face mask all the time. So after cleansing ensure you moisturise your skin with a moisturiser appropriate for your skin type. If, however, you are finding your skin is still dry after moisturising, change to a richer moisturiser.
Reduce skin issues with appropriate skin care products
Skin issues such as acne, redness, itchiness and rashes can all come from wearing a mask for an extended period of time. If you find yourself with any of these symptoms, treat them individually. There are creams for all sorts of skin issues. Visit your nearest pharmacy or chemist, and obtain the appropriate cream. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, see your doctor.
Protect your lips
Don’t forget your lips under your face mask. Dry and chapped lips are a very common face mask skin problem. Protect your lips by applying a liberal amount of petroleum jelly or a lip balm. Try not to lick your lips under the mask as this can make then dry out quicker.
Staying hydrated is very important for preventing skin problems while wearing a mask. Not only drink water, but spray a hydrating mist onto your skin to help stop dryness.
Choose a face mask with natural fabrics
If you work in some industries a face mask will be a must for you to wear and there will be standards your face mask will need to meet. If you can choose your face mask, choose one with natural fabrics that are breathable. Breathable fabrics, such as cotton, will see the hot air and moisture on your skin reduced. Ensure to wash these masks regularly. You can also wear the single-use face masks but please dispose of them correctly.
Don’t touch your mask
Keep your hands clean and away from your face mask. It can be hard not to touch your mask, particularly if it moves on your face and becomes uncomfortable. Try to minimise any touching of the mask, as you can increase the rubbing and the moisture under the mask leading to more skin problems.
It is always nice to pamper yourself. However, it is even nicer when somebody else gives you some pampering. Take the time to be pampered, as it will not only help your skin, but help your state of mind.
I cannot guarantee that all these ways to prevent face mask skin problems will be totally effective. However, following these suggestions should help to reduce any skin problems you may encounter. They have definitely helped my skin. If you know of any other suggestions to help your skin while wearing a mask, please mention them in the comments below.
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She loves travelling to different countries to immerse herself in the culture and in particular, enjoy the food. She currently calls Melbourne, Australia home.