Covid19 has already impacted so many elements of our daily lives but as we start to emerge from home, more adjustments are going to have to be made.
The latest of which involves wearing a face covering on public transport and in places where it is difficult to stay two metres apart from people outside of your household, such as your weekly trip to the shops.
Whether you decide to make your own cloth covering at home or buy a mask online, you are likely to soon discover that, in addition to keeping you safe, face masks can cause some less than desirable and uncomfortable side effects when it comes to your skin.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, news stories and social media feeds have been filled with images of health care workers who are dealing with skin problems caused by wearing medical grade masks for hours on end, with many seeing increases in breakouts, rashes, and skin irritation. And while wearing a cloth face covering will cause nowhere near the levels of discomfort experienced by frontline workers, for some having to wear a mask can result in flare ups and aggravate pre-existing skin conditions.
Face coverings can cause a multitude of problems for the skin, including rashes due to friction from rubbing, acne and eczema.
If any part of the mask touches active acne, this can also aggravate the acne and create more inflamed spots, while severe eczema and psoriasis can damage skin. Poor quality masks may also be sharp or abrasive and can cause substantial irritation, sores, or even cuts.
Wearing masks can lead to an accumulation of sweat, which can lead to blocked pores. Try wearing a cotton breathable panty liner inside your mask & change every 2-3 hours.
To help minimise the effects of wearing a face mask, you could also consider using an ointment or salve to protect sensitive areas from friction or chafing,
Dermalogia’s Barrier Repair would provide immediate relief.
Change up your skincare routine
Ensure your skin is properly hydrated as this will help improve the barrier function of the skin. To prevent your skin from drying out, stick to unscented or fragrance-free cleansers like Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser or Yonka Essentials Lait Nettoyant
While it can be tempting to cleanse immediately before and after wearing a face mask it is best to limit yourself to cleansing twice a day, once in the morning and evening, as any more can lead to further dryness, irritation, and redness, especially for those with dry, sensitive or mature skin types.
Try double cleansing in the evening using a precleanse oil or balm to break down surface oil, dust & pollution.
It is also important to pat your face dry with a towel to dry it after cleansing rather than rubbing the skin and using a moisturiser to prevent water loss. For this invest in a cream that contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid as both these ingredients are highly moisturising, while ceramides create a good barrier layer on the skin.
Similarly, creams containing anti-inflammatory ingredients such as liquorice extract, green tea, colloidal oatmeal, resveratrol and turmeric can help soothe irritated skin.
If your skin is experiencing irritation from wearing a face mask, avoid using any harsh scrubs or chemical exfoliators that may worsen the problem.
A super gentle daily microfoliant designed to gentle unblock pores & brighten skin.
Adopt a minimalist Make up bag
Face masks create a humid environment that can affect oil production in your skin, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. If you are noticing breakouts around your nose, mouth, and chin, it might help to minimise the amount of makeup you wear, particularly foundations and concealer with heavy formulations, underneath your mask.
Say goodbye to primers! This day and night fluid is “THE” secret to achieve the perfect skin and the new natural alternative to primers formulated with silicone and paraben. NUDE PERFECT fluid is a new generation of multi-perfecting fluid with immediate blur effect that will make you forget your Instagram filters! With a safe and clean formula composed 96% ingredients of natural origin, it visibly improves the quality of the skin and reveals a naturally brighter and more even complexion. It durably minimizes imperfections and irregularities, refines the skin texture, visibly tightens pores and blurs lines and wrinkles. A naturally upgraded complexion and a skin that becomes smoother, more beautiful over the days, even without makeup.
You don’t need to avoid makeup but it’s best to use breathable make up with a water or mineral based foundation to prevent clogging of pores under the mask as It can get warm under the mask, so keep makeup light.
Dermalogica SkinPerfect Primer SPF30 – 22ml
Smooth fine lines, brighten and prime for flawless skin, and prep for make-up application. Velvety formula with Soy Protein helps even out skin texture, creating a smoother surface. Pearl Powder and natural earth minerals provide a neutral tint for visible luminosity, radiance and more even skin tone. A potent peptide helps support skin firmness as Broad Spectrum sunscreens help shield against sun damage triggered by UV light. Wear alone over your moisturizer, or after moisturizer application and before foundation, to help decrease the appearance of fine lines for a lasting make-up finish.
Wear a face covering in situations where it is difficult to practice social distancing. For example, in shops and on public transport.
Face coverings help prevent people who do not know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
If you wear one, you should still do the important things necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
- social distancing
- covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
- washing your hands properly and often
- not touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Cloth face coverings
A cloth face covering is a material you wear that covers the nose and mouth.
Wearing a cloth face covering in public may help to reduce the spread of coronavirus in the community. It helps to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets from people infected with coronavirus. This helps to stop people who are not aware they have the virus from spreading.
If you have coronavirus or have symptoms of coronavirus, you must self-isolate. Do this even if you wear a face covering.
When to wear one
Wear a cloth face covering:
- when staying 2 metres apart from people is difficult – for example, in shops, shopping centres or public transport
- when visiting anyone who is more at risk from coronavirus – such as people aged 70 or over or people who are medically vulnerable
- in an enclosed indoor space with other people
What they are made from
Cloth face coverings are made from materials such as cotton or silk.
You can buy them or make them at home using items such as scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.
Who should not wear one
Cloth face coverings are not recommended for children under the age of 13. This is because young children may not follow the advice about wearing a mask correctly and avoiding touching it.
Face coverings are also not recommended for anyone who:
- has trouble breathing
- is unconscious or incapacitated
- is unable to remove it without help
- has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the face covering
Do not criticise or judge people who are not able to wear a face covering.
How to wear one
A cloth face covering should cover the nose and go under the chin and:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include at least 2 layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
How to wash one
Wash daily in a hot wash over 60 degrees with detergent.
If using a washing machine, you should be able to wash and machine dry it without damage or change to shape.
You do not need to sterilise cloth face coverings. Wash it in a washing machine or by hand as you would any other item of clothing.
Wash hands before and after use.
When to throw it out
You should throw out a cloth face covering when it:
- no longer covers the nose and mouth
- has stretched out or damaged ties or straps
- cannot stay on the face
- has holes or tears in the fabric
How to use a cloth face covering properly
Clean your hands properly before you put it on.
Practice using it so you are comfortable putting it on and taking it off.
Make sure it is made from a fabric you are comfortable wearing.
Cover your mouth and nose with it and make sure there are no gaps between your cloth face covering.
Tie it securely.
Carry unused face coverings in a sealable clean waterproof bag, for example, a ziplock bag.
Carry a second similar type bag to put used face coverings in.
Do not touch a face covering while wearing it – if you do, clean your hands properly.
Do not use a wet or soiled face covering.
Do not share face coverings.
Do not lower your face coverings to speak, eat and smoke or vape – if you need to uncover your nose or mouth take the face covering off and put it in a bag for used face coverings.
Do not discard face coverings in public places.
Taking a cloth face covering off
To take a face covering off properly:
- remove it from behind – do not touch the front of the mask.
- put in a sealable clean waterproof bag or wash immediately – put disposable masks in a bin straight away.
- clean your hands properly.