Face masks use in response to Covid-19 has become commonplace in the United States. Certain cities and states are mandating mask-wearing when in public. Many workplaces require it as well. The Centers for Disease Control recommends both masks and social distance protocol. Depending on the profession, some patients are required to wear masks all day long and even outdoors in the heat. This blog will share how to protect your skin according to the expert doctors on Suncoast Skin Solution’s dermatology team.
Which are the best masks to buy to avoid skin irritation?
The best mask to buy to avoid irritation is a cotton mask that fits snugly, conforms to the nose, and has a high breathability rating. Be sure the inside of the mask is also soft and made of cotton. When possible purchase a mask with the ties that go around the back of the head rather than the ears. Ties around the ears can cause irritation in a short time.
Top 5 Tips to Protect Your Skin from Mask Rash
Mask rashes and irritation is becoming more and more common. Patients are being seen and treated in many cases using TeleHealth to avoid going to the doctor with the current virus risk. Rashes, irritation, itching and pain are being experienced by frequent mask wearers (including healthcare workers), those working outdoors in the heat, and people prone to irritation, acne, or have a condition such as rosacea or acne.
1. Keep your mask dry and clean. Skin irritants include dirt and sweat that can get trapped under a mask. If you are jogging or working out, be sure to remove your mask immediately after you are done and have another cotton mask ready to use on clean dry skin. While it may be tempting, do not remove the mask from your nose while working outside or exercising. This defeats the purpose of wearing a mask to prevent viral spread.Wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser. Removing trapped skin irritants is key.
2. What is the best skin cleanser to use when with face mask-wearing?
Dermatologists recommend a gentle cleaner that does a good job of cleaning the skin without stripping the skin of its natural protective barrier. Brand names that accomplish this are Cetaphil and Cerave. Avoid harsh cleansers and ingredients knows to cause harm to the skin such as parabens.
3. Apply moisturizer before wearing a mask
Create a barrier of protection before placing the mask on your face. When you do apply the mask, do so with as little pulling against across the facial skin as possible. The less friction the better, especially in situations where you are required to take it off and put it back on several times in one day. Reapply moisturizer each time you put the mask back on or replace it with another. According to the American Association of Dermatologist, you should seek a facial moisturizer that contains one of the following ingredients to create a protective barrier between mask and your face:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Dimethicone (which can also create a barrier that helps reduce irritated skin)
- Consult your dermatologist or skin care practitioner for recommendations on product lines based on your skin type and conditions you have.
- Note: For those suffering from acne, there are certain moisturizers that work well, that are gel-based. Consult you skin care doctor for specific recommendations.
4. Wash mask with hot water daily, using hypoallergenic soap with no fragrance
5. Use a retinoid at night. Suncoast Skin Solutions recommends Differin Gel Adapalene .1% for the prevention and treatment of acne at night.
Other suggestions include discontinuing the use of base make-up during this time, giving your face a break by removing the mask every four hours when away from people, and continuing your regular treatment plan your dermatologist has provided.
In the event you do experience a rash or facial irritation from your mask, make a Telehealth appointment with a dermatologist at Suncoast Skin Solutions, Florida’s Most Trusted Dermatology. Each of our office locations has a dermatologist on site to evaluate your skin and perform an exam. Telehealth may be an option. Please call for details.