For health care providers and other essential workers, face masks and other types of personal protective equipment are central to the workday. This PPE is critical for health and safety. However, wearing a mask all day can be tough on the skin. Here are some tips to ease irritation and keep your skin healthy, as well as how a skin care dermatology provider can help.
Facial coverings can become full of oil and sweat during the work day, which can clog your pores and cause acne. Change your mask as often as possible to keep the skin clean at work. If you’re wearing a reusable cloth mask to the grocery store or other locations, be sure to wash your mask often. Buy or make several masks, so you always have a clean covering on hand.
PPE like N95 masks can rub on the skin, causing dermatitis and other types of irritation. It’s important to use gentle products in your skin care routine. Talk to your dermatologist about choosing a facial cleanser that won’t strip your skin’s moisture barrier. You should also look for products that don’t contain fragrance or other irritating ingredients. Using these types of gentle ingredients will soothe the skin and help it retain moisture.
Dryness is one of the main skin concerns that face masks can cause. To help fight this dryness, be sure to apply a rich moisturizer before wearing your mask and after cleansing your skin. Your dermatologist can tell you which ingredients to look for. Products like Aquaphor and Vaseline can add additional protection when applied over a cream moisturizer. However, always ask your dermatologist before adding additional products to your routine.
Irritation from facial coverings can lead to cracks and sores. This is especially true with N95 masks. If you have a sore on the face, be sure to cover it with a bandage before wearing your mask again. This barrier can prevent further irritation and infection. However, be sure to seek medical attention if you have signs of infection or a severe facial wound.
Make regular appointments with your dermatologist to address your skin concerns. This is especially important if you have a skin condition like eczema and psoriasis. The doctor can assess your skin and make recommendations for moisturizing products, acne medication, and skin care routines to prevent flare ups.
While you may be required to wear PPE at work, it’s important to give your skin a break when possible. Moisturize thoroughly and avoid wearing makeup on your days off. Applying a cold compress to the skin may reduce swelling and soothe irritation. If possible, stay home and avoid situations where masks are necessary. These breaks from PPE will give your skin more time to heal.
While PPE can be tough on the skin, the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists can help you find relief. Our dermatology and cosmetic center offers cosmetic, medical, and surgical services to address a wide variety of skin needs. We have locations in Downey, CA and the surrounding communities, so contact us today to book an appointment at one of our convenient offices.