Ways to Prevent Mask Skin Problems

In the past 13 months, we have all worn a mask longer than ever before in our lives. But wearing a mask to help protect against COVID-19 is the right thing to do, whether for yourself or others. However, wearing a mask can come to be a pain for some people – literally.

Frontline workers such as caregivers, wearing masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout their entire shift have reported negative skin reactions. The highest incidence of conditions includes facial itch, rashes, and most commonly reported; acne.

Related: Useful Self-Care Recommendations For Nurses

Having a consistent skincare routine is more important today than ever before. That is to ensure that our skin is being well taken care of, eliminating adverse reactions to masks, or even to ensure that the negative reaction is not progressing and becoming a larger issue leading to extensive medical procedures.

While masks are a great way to protect ourselves and others while only keeping a small amount of our face covered, caregivers must have them on for long periods of time which in turn can capture the moisture of air we exhale within it, causing a variety of skin problems. At Caring Support, we want to ensure that caregivers are well prepared for all challenges that may come their way while they face these unprecedented times. With that being said, the following are some skincare problems experienced by caregivers and people who wear masks all the time, and how to properly take care of them.

Dry Skin

Some masks, especially surgical masks, can absorb the natural moisture of your face and can result in dry skin. Drying of the skin can lead to irritation such as rashes or even itchiness.

Applying a facial moisturizer that is heavy duty and includes ceramides can penetrate the skin with hydration and allow the skin to gain back its natural moisture. Ceramides help create a barrier to prevent absorbency, this allows the moisture to be locked into the skin and helps prevent dryness and irritation. A great example of a skin hydrating moisturizer is First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration.

Red Rash

Almost all mask reactions are irritation from friction rather than a physical allergic reaction to the mask’s material, with that being said caregivers wearing masks for long hours and multiple days in a row can experience red sore rash where the mask comes to contact with the face.

Over-washing and exfoliating the skin frequently can worsen the irritation, instead of using water and a warm washcloth and using a gentle cleanser should help reduce the redness and the rash faster and more effectively. A gentle face cleanser is CeraVe’s Hydrating Cream-To-Foam Cleanser.

Washing your face regularly, ensuring all dirt, soap, and detergent are washed out is very important. Make sure to use skin products that do not include anti-aging treatments, condition treatment, or fragrance as those can become irritating to the skin when combined with a mask.

Rash & Soreness Behind the Ears

An experience that we have had one or a few times now that we have been wearing masks for over a year is dryness, soreness, and rashes behind the ear. This is self-explanatory and comes from the friction of the mask’s strings with the ears as we move our face, speak, or move the mask down.

One of the easiest ways to fix this issue is to use a string-tie mask, that ties behind the head rather than loops around the ears. Another option is to use a clip that connects the ear loop parts behind the head. A great suggestion is the Mask Hook Straps from Amazon. Ensuring your mask fits right is another aspect of curbing the rash and soreness behind the ears. With that being said, wearing a mask that has ear loops that fit more loosely can be very beneficial. However, be careful that the mask isn't too loose. The mask should still be snug around the cheeks, nose, and chin area. A great suggestion is Amazon’s face masks.

Rosacea

With the warmer weather around the corner, heat under the mask is bound to become unbearable. People who suffer from Rosacea already know that heat causes the skin vessels to widen resulting in a worsen case of Rosacea. Caregivers who suffer from Rosacea that are now wearing masks for long periods of time can experience frequent flares. This will cause redness, enlarged blood vessels, and fluid-filled bumps around the cheeks and chin area.

People have had multiple solutions of Rosacea, however, one of the most effective ways to ensure that flares are not happening often is removing the mask every once in a while. However, if that is not possible, ensuring your face is cool by staying in shaded spaces and colder environments is also helpful. A product solution that has become popular for Rosacea is The Ordinary’s Niacinamide Serum.

Acne

If you are someone who experiences breakouts, masks have definitely given you a hard time. Masks can trap acne-causing bacteria on the skin, and for caregivers who are wearing their masks for long periods of time, this can create a build-up of bacteria that then causes a larger breakout.

One of the ways to prevent mask acne is to begin using a gentle salicylic acid wash as part of your skincare routine. Salicylic acid is known for reducing acne and gently exfoliating the skin to ensure pores stay clear. An item to keep note of is the ensure that products you are using to curb acne are labeled “non-comedogenic” to ensure that pores are not clogged in the process.

If you have a current prescription for your acne, ask your physician for a change in prescription and skincare routine. Some products maybe become irritating from wearing a mask, and new prescription products may be necessary.

Additional Notes

Problems caused by different masks affect the skin differently. For example, blue surgical and cloth masks can cause irritation and dryness, and applying moisturizing cream to your clean damp face after taking off the mask for the day can help prevent dryness and future irritation.

It’s vital to have a consistent skincare routine that works for you, as it will help prevent problems from arising in the future. This can be a simple cleanse, serum, moisturize steps, or an extensive one, make sure it works for your skin type.

Caring Support

We want to ensure that caregivers find the answers to all their questions on our platform. That is why our blogs range from topics regarding how the Caring Support platform works and finding the right position for you, to topics such as this one. If you have not already, make sure to create your FREE caregiver account today, and connect with us on social to stay up to date with all things healthcare.

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