Preventing skin damage due to face masks

Here are some tips on how to handle irritation, itching, acne and rashes

By Author  |  Shahnaz Husain  |  Published: 15th Jul 2020  4:21 pm

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 day due to your job/professional commitments, it can also be hard on your skin, causing problems that range from skin irritations, acne and peeling skin to rashes and itchiness. 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.

While experts agree on the importance of wearing masks, wearing it 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. Purchase soft, natural and breathable — like 100% cotton — face masks. Synthetic face masks made of polyester, nylon and rayon material are more likely to make you sweat, which will dampen the fabric and, in turn, cause irritation.
  • Change and wash cloth masks regularly with a fragrance-free “non-foaming gentle cleanser” with luke warm water either in 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.
  • Avoid makeup in areas under the mask. 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. Always clean your face before wearing the mask and after you take it off, remove oil and dead skin cells.

Tips to tackle rashes

Mix a little rose water with sandalwood paste and apply on the 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 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 to get rid of acne

  • After cleansing, apply an astringent lotion.
  • Green Tea has an astringent effect and helps to reduce oiliness. Soak green tea leaves or a tea bag 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.

Tackle dryness this way

  • 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.
  • Keep the skin well-moisturised. Moisturisers are available in cream and liquid form. For extreme dryness, use a cream. A liquid moisturiser should also be used under makeup.
  • 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.

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