While face masks are important in the fight against COVID-19, they can also cause irritation and damage to the skin. Specifically, when it comes to the condition known as contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis occurs when direct exposure with a substance, in this case, fabric, irritates the skin. The irritation is usually represented by redness and inflammation in the area. While any kind of fabric can bring it on, it’s more likely to occur from fabrics made with synthetic fibers. The reason being that synthetic fibers don’t breathe as well as natural fibers. This, in turn, can make you sweat more which can further contribute to the irritation of the skin.
So, what can you do to avoid or manage contact dermatitis? Some things include:
- Clean the skin. This will mainly help skin that is exposed to an irritant. Make sure to use warm water.
- Apply a moisturizer. Helps to keep the skin hydrated while protecting it as well.
- Frequently change and/or wash the face mask. Should be done after each use. At least daily.
- Give yourself a break from wearing it. Leaving the face mask on for a prolonged period of time can cause more irritation to the skin. However, when you do remove it, make sure that you are following proper social distancing guidelines.
- Make sure the mask fits comfortably and is not too tight. Make sure it fits snug. The tighter the mask, the more likely it is to cause irritation.
In all, what can you do to best deal with contact dermatitis? First and foremost, identify what may be causing the problem. Next, avoid it (if possible). Then finally, take the corrective measures above to better protect your skin. If you believe you may be experiencing contact dermatitis, contact our office right away as early treatment is crucial to prevent the condition from worsening.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, the CDC made a recent recommendation that everyone should be wearing face masks in public. Although face masks provide important protection from the virus, wearing them for an extended period can also lead to skin irritation. Here are some things you can do to avoid that.
- Make sure the mask fits comfortably and snug. If it is too tight, the more likely it will cause a skin reaction.
- Try to take off the mask as much as possible when not in public. When doing this one, make sure to take into consideration proper social distancing.
- Change or wash it regularly depending on the frequency of use. When breathing in the mask, moisture collects in the area and can provide the perfect breeding ground for a number of different bacteria. This can lead to skin conditions such as folliculitis.
- Cleanse the skin. Try to avoid products containing drying ingredients as it can be further aggravated with the use of a face mask. Moisturizing is of the utmost importance, especially before, because it can serve as a protectant for the skin.
- Moisturize/hydrate the skin. This one is especially important prior to, as it can serve as a protectant for the skin. Avoid oil-based moisturizers as they can block the pores leading to breakouts.
If you are already noticing skin irritation due to wearing a facemask, try to identify the cause and take the above tips into consideration. If the condition still does not improve, contact our office right away.
Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Although the use of hand sanitizers and soap should already be part of a healthy routine, the current threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) has increased use significantly. All you need to do is look at the store shelves where they’re stocked to know that. The demand has been so high in fact, that Amazon and eBay have put restrictions on the sale of these products in an attempt to prevent price gouging. So, with using hand sanitizers and soap more frequently, what can you do to protect the skin on your hands?
• Moisturize immediately after use. This is especially true for hand sanitizers that contain alcohol (a drying ingredient in itself). Cream or lotion-based moisturizers are the best options.
• Avoid products containing fragrances, perfumes or dyes. Instead, opt for products that contain vitamin E and aloe.
• Limit hand washing to 20 seconds, no more. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends this timeframe. Any longer poses the risk of drying the skin out.
• When washing, avoid water that is too hot or cold. Use lukewarm water.
With or without an epidemic, regular hand sanitizer and soap use are important to prevent the spread of germs. Combining that with the above tips will help the health of your skin.
Sources: American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)