With the recent COVID-19 crisis, we are receiving endless requests for tips to prevent skin irritation from masks. Whether you are a healthcare hero on the front lines wearing an N-95 mask for endless hours in a row, or simply a citizen following the CDC’s recommendation of wearing masks while out, you may be experiencing skin irritation such as acne, dryness and even bruising.
Our Medical Aestheticians and Nurse Practitioners came together to give you some tips to prevent irritation and soothe skin conditions caused by masks!
1. Avoid Strong Cleansers And Exfoliants
A common mistake people make when dealing with severe skin irritation is using a harsh exfoliant to clear up the condition. However, many exfoliants will only irritate the skin more and can cause further breakouts. Although these products are amazing for anti-aging, you should avoid products that can be irritating such as retinoids and acids.
2. Nourish And Repair Your Skin
We recommend gentle cleansers, moisturizers and even healing ointments if there is a lot of skin trauma from the mask. Here are some of our favorite products that are recommended for irritated skin.
Hylunia Gentle Cream Cleanser or SkinMedica Sensitive Skin Cleanser are both great choices for gentle cleansers.
Be sure to moisturize, we recommend a moisturizer with ceramide which enhances the skin barrier. SkinMedica’s Ceramide Cream is a good choice for this. At night, a thick barrier cream such as SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream is a great restorative skincare product. It can also be chilled for relief of abrasions if desired.
For healthcare workers or those wearing masks for long periods of time…
Aquaphor Healing Ointment is very effective in soothing and healing the skin. This can also be applied before putting the mask on to prevent further irritation. If you’re experiencing a lot of bruising around the mask, we recommend using Arnica gel and even eating foods that contain Bromelain like pineapple to help prevent bruising. Last tip is to use silicone scar strips on the areas across the nose and face that are most irritated when wearing the mask.
3. Cleanse Immediately After Removing Mask
Skin irritation from masks is created not only by constant rubbing against the skin, but also because moisture is trapped inside the mask which can cause breakouts and clogged pores. Immediately cleansing skin with a gentle cleanser after removing the mask helps to prevent oil blockage and further irritation. If possible, healthcare workers should try to do this a few times throughout the day if wearing a mask the entire shift.
4. Let Your Skin Breathe
Makeup can clog your pores and create more irritation and breakouts. Try to avoid wearing makeup like foundation and heavy concealers and let your skin breathe! A lightweight tinted sunscreen is a great way to protect your skin while adding a little glow like SkinMedica Tinted Essential Defense SPF.
5. Book A Virtual Skincare Consultation
With so many different opinions and products out there, it can be overwhelming to know what regimen will work best for your skin type. We are currently offering free virtual skincare consultations so that our experts can consult with you about your concerns and give you the best at-home recommendation. They will also be able to recommend the best skincare treatment once we reopen to improve results of your at-home product routine such as the Diamond Glow or Hydrafacial to gently cleanse and add hydration. Text our skincare coordinator at 412-444-7834 or message us on Instagram @skincentermd to book!
We hope you find these tips helpful and we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this time. See you soon!
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