As Florida re-opens, more people each day are returning to their public lives. This also means more time spent wearing our face coverings. As a temporary component to the new normal, wearing your mask or covering is strongly recommended, (mandatory, in some settings) by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of the virus.
As temperatures continue to rise, sweat becomes a concern for those who speak often, workout, or simply wear their mask for extended periods of time. Possible skin irritations from prolonged face-covering wear may include:
- Contact Dermatitis
- Bacterial Infection
- Skin flaking or peeling
Despite these possible side effects, there are several ways to keep the skin healthy and happy during these trying times.
Tips for Preventing Irritation from Your Mask
- Keep your skin clean: Keeping the skin clean and well-moisturized is even more important now that the mouth area receives less ventilation. Use a gentle cleanser, and focus more time around the upper lip, chin, and lower cheeks. Pat the skin dry, and apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer. If possible, avoid makeup, or apply sparingly in the covered area to reduce risk for skin irritations.
- Keep your mouth clean: Bacteria accumulates in the mouth all day. By thoroughly brushing your teeth AM + PM, and between meals, you effectively keep the covered area healthier.
- Exfoliate Frequently: Once per week, use a gentle exfoliant around the mouth area to remove dead skin cells, surface bacteria, and to keep the skin fresh and clean. Avoid harsh fruit scrubs, and over-exfoliation to prevent further irritation.
- Protect the moisture barrier: To avoid rash and irritation, consider using a barrier cream around the mouth. Finding one formulated with Zinc would be ideal, as Zinc is known for barrier protection. Additionally, arnica is an amazing healing agent for sores and bruising. Arnica can be purchased in a gel-formula for lightweight, non-comedogenic protection.
- Wash hands often: Not only is this necessary to prevent the spread of disease and general hygiene but also for clean skin. Directly after removing your mask, wash your hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, before touching the skin. Remove any sweat or makeup with warm water, or a gentle cleanser, if possible.
- Tend to any irritation: If rash or other skin irritations occur, take care of them immediately and appropriately. Thick creams and ointments such as Aquaphor or Vaseline protect damaged skin and helping calm burning and itching skin. If irritation is persistent or worsens, contact your dermatologist, who may prescribe a medicated ointment to treat the affected area.
- Wash or Replace Your Mask Frequently: If you are using surgical or polypropylene masks, throw them away after 1-2 uses. Wash reusable masks often with a mild detergent, or hand wash.
To treat flare-ups of acne or dermatitis, contact your dermatologist. Any signs of further, more severe irritations such as pain, infection, broken skin, or pus should be addressed immediately before they worsen or spread.
The staff of Galt Dermatology strongly urge you to continue following health and safety guidelines as mandated. Continue to look after your health and the health of your skin. Contact us at (954) 463-5406 if you need to speak with your physician, or book an appointment.