Regimen for skin under a facemask

A woman wears a face mask. PHOTO | FILE

Photo credit: NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • It is time to accept masks are a fundamental part of our lives and shop for more than just the one or two that you have.
  • If you have sensitive skin, you are advised to wear cotton, silk or satin.
  • Wearing a mask repeatedly breaks down the microscopic barrier of your skin, which comprises oils that keep your skin moisturised, or in this case, hydrated.

The mask has become as much a part of ourselves as undergarments. Now we can’t go for a quick run to the kiosk without one. The only time you probably don’t wear one is to bed. And there is no way out.

But with there is an emerging problem that dermatologists have reported witnessing — SARS maskne, a combination of the words ‘mask’ and ‘acne.’

Maskne is so real the American Academy of Dermatology Association came up with recommendations for the problem.

Maskne is caused by the constant friction on your face, heat and humidity, your preferred skin products right down to the weather. Maskne shows up around the parts covered by the mask — cheeks and chin.

Touching and moving the mask around your face by wearing it below the nose or on the chin is causing interference with levels of contamination on your skin.

It does not help that mask hygiene has to be impeccable, which means you can’t just be perambulating this planet with that one sole mask you keep wearing.

SENSITIVE SKIN

It is time to accept masks are a fundamental part of our lives and shop for more than just the one or two that you have. If you have sensitive skin, you are advised to wear cotton, silk or satin. Also, anytime you buy a new mask, it is advisable that you wash it first.

The number of hours you spend in a mask do not count.  Maskne can also arise if you have acne-prone skin and wear a mask for a short time.

The breakouts pop out because the friction between the mask and your skin causes clogged pores. Wearing a mask repeatedly breaks down the microscopic barrier of your skin, which comprises oils that keep your skin moisturised, or in this case, hydrated.

Aside from that, the inside of your mask gets warm and moist, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

So what should you do? If you have oily skin, wear gel moisturisers. They are far more compatible with your skin type and how it will interact with the mask. For dry skin, creams will still do and for normal skin, use lotion.

If your skin is prone to breaking out, wash it twice daily.  Ideally, everyone should wash their face twice a day.

Don’t over-cleanse your face. It will become angry, irritated and inflamed. Your magic ingredients are products containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. If you wear make-up underneath your mask, keep it light. Reach out for BB Cream.  There is no reason to cancel makeup either. Just apply it with a lighter hand. Yes, we all still need to wear sunscreen on the entire face, not just the parts that are exposed. Look for a sunscreen with zinc.

ZINC SUNSCREEN

If your self-care or skincare routine includes oils, save them for bedtime. You sweat faster, and since the mask has to stay on for as long as it is necessary, your skin will react.  A layer of the right moisturiser, zinc sunscreen and regular cleansing will help calm or diminish the intensity or probability of eczema, rosacea and pimples.

Wear the right mask. One that fits you snugly because it will not move around. A good mask covers you snugly around the nose, chin and cheeks, and stays put. This means wearing a mask as a chinstrap has to stop. 

Now is not the time to try out new skin products because you don’t know how they will interact, and also, if your skin is getting irritated, consider dropping products with retinoids, bench your aftershave and do not use acne-busting products that contain leave-in salicylic acid.

And when it comes to your lips, the first point of contact when you put on a mask, it is advisable that your first line of defence be Vaseline. Or, if you are a Kenyan,  Arimis.

You are allowed to take a 15-minute break for every four hours you are wearing a mask.

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