TODAY -

Preventing skin damage due to face masks

Shahnaz Husain *



Let’s face it, medical face masks are going to be a part of our life for a while. Masks play a vital role in reducing the spread of the coronavirus and have become important safety measures of our daily routine activities when you are out and about in public spaces for various reasons.

If you are wearing face masks for the whole of the day due to your job/professional commitments because of COVID-19 pandemic, it can also be hard on your skin, causing problems that range from skin irritations, acne and peeling skin to rashes and itchiness.

As the process of unlocking has been on the fast move and more places begin to open up, and wearing masks has become routine affairs of daily lifestyle mainly for citizens living in cities and highly dense populated areas /high rise buildings etc where the movement of population is quite rampant and fast.

Since wearing a mask in public is compulsory, your skin may develop “maskne,” a term used to describe acne in the area a mask is worn especially those who must keep them on during full workdays like Doctors / Nurses / Skilled Professionals or anyone with underlying skin conditions (e.g., acne or rosacea).

While experts agree on the importance of wearing masks until we find a sure shot way to eliminate the effects of the infamous virus, however, Mask wearing tends to worsen skin maladies such as miliaria and rosacea because the mask traps dirt and oil in pores.

Experts suggest doing these things to keep your skin healthy, clean and protected when wearing face masks

Choose 100% cotton material face masks.

If you want to minimise the skin issues due to face masks, then the first step is to purchase soft, natural and breathable — like 100% cotton face masks. There is no need to purchase costly online synthetic face masks mostly made of polyester, nylon and rayon material which are more likely to make you sweat, which will dampen the fabric and, in turn, may cause irritation etc.

You can make one sitting in the comfort of your home from any old cotton shirt, dupatta or dress material which has outlived its utility due to fashion, style, colours etc. You need not carry attractive looking, designer, fashionable costly face masks, all you do is to choose a tight, secure fit with tightly woven fabric.

When you take off mask in the evening after a hectic duty in a day, Change and wash cloth masks regularly with a fragrance-free “non-foaming gentle cleanser with lukewarm water either in a washing machine on the warmest setting appropriate to fabric or by hand wash to clear up some of the debris, sweat, accumulated during the day.

A dirty, sweaty mask will contribute to maskne. Don’t touch the front of the mask when you remove it and wash your hands after handling it.

You can avoid makeup in areas under the mask till pandemic threat is looming over. Eye makeup is fine if it gives you an emotional boost. Working women, who might wear makeup, might find their pores are a little more clogged just from the pressure of the masks as well which can lead to different skin conditions . Give your oil and sweat pores a break.

Always clean your face before bearing the mask and after you take it off to remove oil and dead skin cells. Tips that will help rashes:

Mix a little rose water with sandalwood paste and apply on the rashy areas. Wash off with plain water after 15 minutes.

For rashes that itch, add one tablespoon vinegar to a mug of water and pour it on the affected body area. It helps to relieve skin itching.

Take a handful of neem leaves and simmer on very low fire in 4 cups of water for one hour. Leave overnight. Next morning, strain and use the water to wash areas with rash. Make a paste of the leaves and apply on the face.

Tips that will help Acne

After cleansing, apply an astringent lotion. Green Tea has an astringent effect and helps to reduce oiliness. Soak green tea leaves or a teabag in hot water for half an hour. Cool and strain. Apply the liquid on the skin.

Sandalwood paste applied on the acne eruptions also helps. Mix together one teaspoon cinnamon (dalchini) powder, half teaspoon methi seed powder, lemon juice and a few drops of honey. It should be a sticky paste.

Apply it only on areas covered by face mask and leave on for a couple of hours, or even overnight. Add 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil to two tablespoons of water or rose water. Apply this on eruptive conditions.

Tips that will help Rosacea

Avoid heavy make-up and other cosmetics. Use a mild cleanser and wipe the skin with rose water, using cotton wool. Apply aloe vera gel on the area daily and rinse off with plain water after 15 minutes.

Green Tea also helps. Make a cup of green tea and keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Dip cotton wool pads in it and apply on the face

Add 2 to 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil to 2 tablespoons coconut oil and apply on the affected areas. Wipe off with moist cotton wool after 15 minutes.

Tips that will help Dryness:

Cleanse the face twice a day with a cleansing cream or gel, containing aloe vera, which helps to check moisture loss and also rehydrates the skin. Protect the skin from moisture loss during the day. Apply a sunscreen, before going out in the sun. Most sunscreens have built-in moisturizers.

Keep the skin well moisturised. Moisturizers are available in cream and liquid form. For extreme dryness, use a cream. A liquid moisturizer should also be used under make-up. To a tablespoon of cold milk add 2 drops of any vegetable oil (olive, or til or sunflower oil). Dip cotton wool in it and wipe the skin. Make this for 2 or 3 days, but keep it in the refrigerator.

Mix half a teaspoon honey, one teaspoon rose water and one teaspoon dried milk powder. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Remove after 20 minutes with water. Applying honey or aloe vera gel on the face also helps to moisturise the skin and improve moisture retention.

Discomfort: Discomfort can be caused if there is burning or itching of the skin covered by face masks for longer hours says 12 hours. Sometimes, excessive dryness can cause peeling of the skin and make the skin sensitive with dry, reddish patches.

Use mild glycerine soap or soap-free bathing lotion. A gentle moisturizer should be used with a mild fragrance. In fact, application of pure oils like pure coconut oil can help.

Coconut oil is also said to be beneficial for the skin, as it soothes sun-damage and has a healing effect. It softens the skin and gives it a smoother appearance.

Almond is particularly beneficial for very dry skin and helps to relieve itching, soreness and dryness. It is reported to be soothing, healing, lubricating, softening, revitalizing and nourishing.

Jojoba oil or shea butter can also be applied. Coconut milk is also very soothing for sensitive skin.

For all skin conditions, pay special attention to your diet. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of warm water and have it first thing in the morning. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts, whole grains and curd, soybean in your daily diet.

Always stay safe and stay healthy. Maintain proper social distancing


* Shahnaz Husain wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is international fame beauty expert and is called herbal queen of India
This article was webcasted on July 23 2020.



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