We've been wearing masks now for a year and a lot of people have noticed some pretty significant skin irritations and blemishes caused by wearing their masks.
Some of the stuff goes away on its own, but what if you need a little bit of help? What if you're getting some pretty bad acne, rashes, or red marks that are just not going away?
What if you're among the millions of people developing real pain and inflammation from wearing a mask?
We all want to look good when we take the mask off, so when we smile at other people, they see our smile, our eyes, and how happy we are… And not look at the red marks on our face.
And we certainly don't want to get into our old age and have those marks still be there years later.
The only truly effective mask is the N95 masks properly fitted. However, that fitting presses very close to the face and has to create a seal with your skin. That seal causes irritation, red marks, and even a bit of pain for some. There's no easy solution here.
So, what can you do?
Your face gets exposed to the world all the time. It comes in contact with sunlight, the air, dirt, and anything else you can see or feel. It has its own cleansing system, oils and quickly shedding skin designed to protect your face body.
But, these can build up quickly, clogging pores and creating irritation, especially when you have the mask pressing against your skin.
Washing your face twice a day with a non-alcoholic, non-antibacterial facial wash will help remove excess oils and skin without stripping your skin of the protection. Alcohol is very harsh on your skin, and antibacterial agents kill the healthy probiotics you need to protect you from the bad ones.
The harsher the cleanser you use, the more vulnerable your face will be to irritation. Regular soap and chemical-based cleaners are very drying to your skin, robbing it of the protective oils your skin needs to create protection from the masks, bacteria, and viruses in the environment.
Once your face is washed, applying natural moisturizers can help replace the oils and help protect you. But, you don't want to pick up a cheap moisturizer and expect it to work. Many of them are based on petrochemicals and have harsh chemicals to mask foul scents and uncomfortable residue. Many of these moisturizers are also very alkaline.
Natural moisturizers provide an emollient mix of water and natural oils that more closely resembles a person's natural skin and closely matches the pH of a person's skin. Most commercial moisturizers are alkaline, and your natural skin pH is approximately 5.0 to 5.5, a bit acidic. When you raise your skin's pH, you make it more vulnerable to bacterial infections, like MRSA, and it allows viruses to survive on your skin longer and increase potential infection.
Throughout history, Ayurvedic medicine has used sesame oil as a rich moisturizing base for many cosmetics. Sesame oil closely matches the natural oils in your skin, is antibacterial, and smells good. In many hospitals, nurses pass around bottles of sesame oil to rub on their fingers. It helps moisturize their skin and reduces the irritation from the numerous times they have to wash their hands.
Use A New Mask
We know this is a hard one. Many people are picking up the same mask and using it day after day. Unfortunately, even the best masks are only designed for wearing no more than eight continuous hours (less if you take off). The disposable masks are only supposed have one use then disposed of. Cloth masks should be washed with a disinfectant shampoo and left to air dry every time you take it off.
Many of the cloth masks should get washed after approximately 1 hour of use.
When you wear a mask longer than recommended, the oils from your skin disrupt the ability of the mask to have a proper flow of air and filter out bacteria and viruses. Plus, with the N95 mask, repeatedly using it breaks down the seal. Basically, you make it ineffective at stopping the virus and harder to breathe.
Fortunately, supply has caught up to demand, and you can get enough masks to replace them as often as you should.
What It Means To Take Care Of Your Skin
It looks like we're going to be wearing masks for a while. If we take care of our skin, we can eliminate some of the problems leading to acne, eczema, irritation, and even pain. These steps are
- Wash your face at least twice a day
- Moisturize often
- Replace your mask on schedule
If you start taking care of yourself, you're going to find your skin is happy and healthy.