Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is compulsory for all employees to wear a face mask to prevent spreading the virus. This effective preventative measure reduces confirmed cases significantly.
The problem is, some people have sensitive skin, which could lead to a break out of acne.
“Everyone’s skin is different, and it would react in different ways to wearing masks,” said a medical doctor at IDS Clinic, Dr YX Lum.
“During this time, people with acne-prone skin will be more susceptible to getting more acne; people with sensitive skin or eczema may experience more rashes and dry skin; and people with inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea may experience more swelling.”
Depending on what type of skin you have, paying extra attention to every detail from cleansing to protecting skin to strengthening its barrier is the best way to help skin cope during this period.
Prepare Your Skin Prior To Putting On Your Mask
Dirt and facial oil can irritate the skin if left to sit on the face for long periods of time. This can be made worse if the dirt and grime is “trapped” under a face mask, making it an excellent breeding ground for germs and other unwelcome guests. To make matters worse, the air you breathe from a dirty face mask is bound to be dirty as well.
“To minimise breakouts and skin irritation, one can try to strengthen the skin and its barrier,” said Dr Lum.
Maintaining good skin health practises like applying topical antioxidants, using moisturisers suitable for your skin type, can shield the skin from pollutants and other harmful particles according to Dr Lum.
“Prepare the skin by cleansing with a gentle cleanser then follow up with a gentle toner and an antioxidant product, and finish up with sunscreen,” said Dr Lum. “If you are wearing a very tight mask, it will be advisable to put on a soothing healing balm to minimise the amount of friction and injuries the mask may cause.”
Always Ensure You Have Sunscreen On
A Face mask can’t protect your face from environmental hazards like UV rays from the sun, blue light from our phones, and pollution. To protect your face from other hazards, the application of sunscreen is highly recommended.
“Sunscreen forms a protective layer over the skin,” said Dr Lum. A sunscreen of which the contents of its formula also having hydrating and moisturizing properties coupled with regenerating capabilities could further strengthen your skin’s health.
Should I Apply Makeup?
“It is not wrong to wear makeup,” said Dr Lum. “However, some of the foundation that we wear may contain ingredients that can lead to the clogging of pores, especially because of the increased humid conditions under the mask.”
More than half the face is usually covered when wearing a face; few will have the chance to catch a glimpse of that blemish on your face, so why apply makeup on? However, if you feel you must wear makeup, a bit of eye makeup would be best for now, as it is unlikely to affect the skin’s health.
“After the mask comes off, it is important to wash the face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser to get rid of dirt, facial oil and bacteria,” said Dr Lum.
A facial cleanser tends to reduce the moisture on the skin, so applying a suitable moisturizer afterward would be wise. Applying the moisturizer while the skin is still slightly damp allows better absorption. “A suitable lightweight moisturiser forms a barrier against environmental dirt and pollutants. Look out for ingredients such as ceramides or aloe vera for added soothing benefit.”
Products that contain high concentrations of retinoids or benzoyl peroxide are not advised to deal with angry zits for those suffering from acne, because the harshness could further irritate skin.
“Soothe, protect and treat the oily skin and acne with gentle products,” said Dr Lum. “Treat acne with antioxidants like vitamin C or calming ingredients like topical probiotics that not only reduce inflammation but also reduce the harmful bacterial load.”
Applying ice or a cold mask could be soothing and bring the swelling down, if your skin is irritated from the friction against the face mask. Increasing the skin’s hydration will not only strengthen the skin barrier, it also enables the skin to better able to hold up against whatever we put it through.
19th May 18:00