There is no doubt, wearing a face mask though the current Covid-19 pandemic is essential.
When we sneeze, cough, talk or even breathe, viral droplets known as aerosols, have the ability to travel up to 27 feet through the air. Covid-19 is extremely contagious so wearing a mask is one of the best pieces of personal protective equipment we can use to both armour ourselves against the disease and also inhaling viral droplets limit the potential spread from ourselves (if indeed we are carrying the virus).
Together, we are all learning what it is like to wear a face mask and it seems that wearing face masks more often in social settings will probably stay the norm for a fair time to come. People will most likely want to and be encouraged to continue better hygiene practices for disease prevention.
Such newer here-to-stay practices will also mean that we need to think about the way we treat the skin on our face as frequent mask-wearing inevitably has an effect. Read on to learn about the common ways the skin reacts to wearing a face mask and what you can do to protect and care for your skin so as to come out of this time with a clear, healthy and glowing complexion.
When choosing a mask, whether surgical/disposable or fabric options, it is important to opt for one that is of good quality, made with sufficient layers of infiltration and that fits snugly around the bridge of the nose and against the sides of the face. Safety first. Skin second!
Obviously, for front-line health care workers, the effects of wearing a mask (usually the medical grade N95’s) are harsher and courser on the skin. For many, they are working 12 hour days for days on end and these brave medics are often experiencing contact dermatitis and even bruising.
For the rest of us, wearing a face mask occurs mostly when we need to enter public locations to shop for essentials, attend work and visit other institutions with greater numbers of people around. For those wearing a face mask regularly, it is also reasonable that our skin may also be feeling vulnerable. It’s a small side effect to staying safe and heathy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some extra steps to look after the skin underneath to make sure, it too stays balanced and healthy.
There are generally 2 different ways the skin can react from wearing a face and they are dependent on your skin type/concerns:
When you breathe into a mask, you are exhaling a warm moist air into a trapped environment which can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Combine this with the oil, dirt and sweat that builds up on the skin under the mask and blocked hair follicles and pores may result leading to breakouts and congestion.
The material of the mask you wear can create friction on delicate skin thereby causing irritation, potential flakiness and redness. Dry sensitive skin lacks the natural ability to continuously restore its own lipid barrier that is designed to protect the skin for external aggressors.
There are some other things you can also do to protect your skin from the effects of wearing a face mask. In terms of using hand-made fabric masks, opt for a mask whereby the inner layer is made of cotton as opposed to polyester: its texture is less rough on the skin. Additionally, regularly wash your mask with non-perfumed detergent in hot water. If you are wearing disposable masks, always dispose of them after every use.
Stay safe everyone and keep those masks on when out and about!
Love, the Origani Team xx