Skin Problems and mask-wearing
If you missed my live last week about skin problems and mask-wearing, I thought I would jot a quick blog for you! I’m seeing so many skin problems associated with masks, that I felt it really needed addressing as a subject in its own right.
First of all, we need to be wearing them. Whatever your thoughts about it, and conspiracy theories aside, the way to stop wearing masks is to wear them! The sooner we are out the other side, the better as far as I can see! I often wear masks for some treatments anyway, and some mask-wearing will remain during treatments, regardless of covid rules.
So, if you are in a position where you have to wear a mask at work for large parts of the day, you may well be seeing changes in your skin.
Skin Problems and mask-wearing:
Mask wearing causes the skin to dehydrate, and that means that the protective layer of the skin can end up compromised. What does that mean for you? It means that it will feel drier and tighter for starters. This dryness will lead to damage on the protective layer of the skin, which can let bacteria in. This leads to an increase in inflammation, and a huge rise in people reporting ‘mascne’ – or spots. This isn’t actually acne, but inflammation and spots caused by bacteria on the skin. A build up of oils may occur, and bacteria will collect on the mask and then on your skin.
Also, I am realising that people are wearing the same mask for hours on end, and this is a huge part of the problem – breathing into fabric means any bacteria on the fabric, or being breathed out, or on the skin, is left in a warm and damp environment – perfect for rapid growth. Bugs love a warm, damp environment! These bugs are able to thrive in the fabric of the mask, and they end up all over the skin and the hands. The now damaged skin is then presented with a huge influx of excitable bacteria!
You see where I’m going with this?
So what can you do…? How to properly wear a mask!
Firstly, if you are having to use disposable masks, change them frequently throughout the day – ideally at least half hourly, but definitely hourly.
If you are wearing washable masks, buy a bulk load of cotton masks and take a handful to work. Change them every 30-60 minutes if you can, and put the dirty ones in a cotton bag (to prevent more bacterial growth that would occur in a plastic bag) and put in the wash as soon as you get home.
Wear your mask properly. Don’t fiddle with it, don’t stick your fingers under it. If you have cause to touch your face, wash your hands or sanitise before AND afterwards.
DON’T WEAR YOUR MASK ON YOUR CHIN!! The bacteria that is collecting in your mask will be transferred directly to the skin on your chin and neck. I am seeing SO many breakouts on these areas particularly. If you need to expose your face for any reason, hook it off your ear with your finger, hold it away from your face and then replace with minimal fiddling.
Try to get cotton masks rather than polyester – they are more breathable, and can be washed at higher temperatures.
When washing masks, wash as hot as possible but try to avoid damaging chemicals as much as possible. Traditional washing powders are laden with fillers/bulking agents, artificial fragrances (think ‘fresh washing’ smell!) and chemical preservatives. These remain on the fabric and will irritate the skin further.
There are some great alternatives that have a far lower chemical load and are much better for the environment. I use this one, or this one. I also add a little drop of OnGuard essential oil In my fresh mask to combat bugs! (and it smells lovely!)
Skincare and Mask Wearing:
Washing your skin – it is really important that you keep your skin scrupulously clean while wearing masks, without risking stripping it further of its natural protection. A cleanser such as Sensicalm morning and night is vital, and if you are constantly wearing masks I would recommend another cleanse half way through the day, with a reapplication of recovery balm and one of our sunscreen moisturisers for added protection.
Hydration is essential – I recommend Ultimate Boost peptide and hyaluronic acid serum – this is great for hydration and skin texture. Recovery Balm is a rich, moisturising cream that acts as a barrier to protect your skin. It is anti-inflammatory, soothing, and smells gorgeous! Finally you definitely need a high quality physical sunscreen. Clearshield is designed to be non-comodogenic (non-clogging), so alongside it’s antioxidant protection and niacinamide for reduction of inflammation, it is the perfect day moisturiser with a SPF factor of 42, for when you are not behind the mask!
Exfoliation is going to be key – so a wipe over with bright and clear exfoliating, brightening liquid, particularly at night after cleansing is going to be a godsend.
Our calming range is definitely coming into play more at the moment –
Sensicalm cleanser – natural lipids to lock in moisture and protect the outermost layer of the epidermis, calming Niacinamide, and aloe amongst other ingredients make this a smooth hydrating cleanser to remove all the grime while protecting the skin and encouraging it to rebuild its’ own protective layer.
Calm-R serum – a hydrating serum specially formulated to calm sensitive skins, that are prone to redness and irritation. Our hero molecule, Hinokitiol soothes, reduces irritation, brightens and has antioxidant properties. Other ingredients combine to make this an active, lightweight serum, designed to protect your own barrier function.
Hydracalm – A soothing and rich moisturising cream containing low molecular weight Hyaluronic acid, to calm sooth and relive redness and irritation, and contains antioxidants to protect and neutralise free radicals.
Skin treatments for problems caused by mask-wearing
We offer a variety of skin treatments to deal with skin problems caused by mask wearing – from basic facials to chemical peels, and LED light treatment. Ask for more information!
A skin consultation will help us to determine the problems with your skin, and the best course of action for now, and for longer term. Call 01543 396609 or send us a message to find out how we can help you!