All around the world, people are learning what it feels like to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). While these protective measures help keep us safe and reduce the transmission of COVID-19, for many of us, especially healthcare professionals, wearing masks and face coverings has resulted in skin issues including irritation, breakouts, rashes, and bruising. The friction from the mask rubbing against our skin coupled with the warm, moist environment caused by our trapped breath can cause mild to severe skin irritation. Wearing masks is critical for keeping us safe and flattening the curve so how can we reduce the skin irritation many of us are experiencing? Read on for our tips!

1. Cleanse With Intention

Every time you wash your face, it’s important to cleanse with intention. Use a gentle cleanser with skin-loving ingredients to minimize disruption to your skin barrier. Avoid any that are formulated with irritants like synthetic fragrances which can exacerbate skin reactions. We recommend a hydrating cleanser that will wash away any impurities while nourishing your skin.

2. Protect Your Skin Barrier

Strengthen your skin barrier to help prevent the spread of bacteria and infections. Because this barrier is being compromised throughout the day by humidity, sweat and the moisture underneath your mask, it is crucial to reinforce your skin barrier day and night. Using a face oil or moisturizer with nourishing ingredients after cleansing will give your skin the extra boost it needs to repair itself as you sleep. An overnight face mask is also another great way to add moisture to your skin. If you're experiencing inflammation, try applying a cold compress or cool mask to help soothe. To make a cold compress, place a face towel in ice-cold water. Wring the water out and gently lay on clean skin. Repeat as needed.

3. Avoid Flavored Lip Balms

This may sound like an unusual tip but this is an important one - avoid wearing flavored lip balm! When you’re wearing a mask, your breath gets trapped, resulting in a moist and warm environment. This causes sweat to build up when you talk and spittle may deposit around your mouth without you realizing. This saliva can further aggravate any rashes around your mouth. It’s important to use a lip treatment that’s fragrance-free to avoid any breakouts and rashes but still keep your lips hydrated and nourished. 

4. Less Frequent Facial Steams

Did you know steam can further aggravate a compromised skin barrier? Although facial steams can open up pores and help loosen buildup, during these times when our skin is more sensitive, it’s best to reduce facial steaming. Steam draws water out of the skin which can result in even more severe dryness. Keeping your skin hydrated is important to maintain a strong skin barrier. The regular heat of facial steam can further irritate rashes and skin can become even more red and swollen. 

5. Reduce Gum Chewing

Similar to flavored lip balms, chewing gum has flavors that can exacerbate rashes and irritation around the mouth when it comes in contact with skin through spittle. Reducing gum chewing will help to protect your skin barrier during this time. 

Let us know what skincare tips you have while wearing a mask @Wander_Beauty!