Wearing a face mask is an important tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. However, they can cause challenges for the skin, too.
Face masks can trap moisture and secretions close to the skin. This can flare up acne or acne-like skin conditions, such as perioral dermatitis. Masks can also act as a skin irritant causing rashes, redness, or itching. The friction caused by long periods of mask use is also a potential problem which can cause injuries, such as cuts or scrapes.
Here are three tips to follow to help keep your skin healthy:
1. Give Your Skin Some Rest
Take care of your health and your skin by using your mask when you should and take it off when appropriate.
2. Clean Your Skin
Make sure to use a gentle cleanser on your skin to clear away the trapped moisture and secretions, allowing the pores to breathe. Alcohol- or acid-based cleansers and astringents such as witch hazel should be avoided on irritated, injured, or dry skin.
2. Moisturize Your Skin
Always remember that well-moisturized skin is a strong barrier and more resistant to irritation. Use an oil-free, facial specific, or non-comedogenic cream if you have acne prone skin. Or you can consider thick petrolatum-based ointments if you are dry and not prone to breakouts. This can be very helpful in preventing rashes and irritation from prolonged use of your mask.