By Dr Shraddha Deshpande.
(Consultant Plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central)
It is no brainer that wearing a mask can be a task for you as it can be harsh on your skin. One cannot avoid wearing it as it is one of the potential measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Wearing masks for a longer period of time can invite skin irritation, bruises, or even breakouts. Here are a few essential tricks to take care of your skin while wearing a mask. Read on to know more about this…
Coronaviruses (CoV) belong to a large family of viruses that may lead to respiratory illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Likewise, earlier this year, a new strain of coronavirus was discovered, which has not been previously identified in human beings, also known as a novel coronavirus (nCov). Thus, COVID-19 is a virus that causes respiratory disease and in serious cases, it can lead to pneumonia. Hence, the entire country is under lockdown and people are advised to follow COVID-19 protocol which involves using a mask while stepping out of the house, if at all one is required to. COVID-19 has brought forth unique problems of the skin due to the mandatory use of masks. Continuous use of masks allows oil and sweat to build up, trap your breath and create a warm, humid environment leading to acne (breakouts), rashes, skin irritation, bruises, or skin infections.
Following tips can come handy to avoid these skin-related issues
· Use gentle cleanser before using a face mask. Also, don’t forget to use a light moisturizer if your skin is dry. Say no to the ointments that are too greasy and use a proper-fitting mask. The mask should not be tight as your skin will not be able to breathe.
· Washing your face with a mild salicylic acid-based face wash and avoiding harsh alkaline soaps is advisable. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water after removing your mask.
· Apply gel-based light moisturizer at the mask-skin interface to avoid marks and chafing.
· Skip makeup. Yes, you have heard it right. Avoid using concealers, compact, and other makeup products in the mask covered areas. Stick to mineral-based makeup and lip balms, if you have to.
· Use either disposable 3 ply masks or masks made of natural materials that can be washed regularly. Avoid synthetic materials like nylon, rayon, and polyester.
· Follow a night skincare routine. Cleanse your face nightly and use your skincare products like vitamin C serum and retinol at night for optimum effect. Wash your cloth mask daily.
· If you have areas on your skin that are raw or chaffed, then you should apply an ointment to these areas after you are finished wearing your mask for the day. But, consult your doctor regarding the ointment you must use. Do not use any over-the-counter (OTC) products that can worsen your problems.
· If you tend to experience breakouts, a rash or dermatitis from face masks, it is advisable to avoid using harsh cleansers, exfoliators, and drying skin products that contain alcohol and retinol.
· These products dry out the skin and make it more likely that your face mask will rub and cause further skin damage.
· Drink at least 3 litres of water daily and avoid late nights. Follow these simple guidelines to enjoy a clean and blemish-free skin. Stay safe, Stay healthy.