Prevent “maskne” and other skin problems


By Patricia B. Mirasol

A FACE MASK is essential amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but it can cause skin issues such as rashes and acne for the wearer. Streamlining your skincare routine and choosing the right type of material for protective clothing can solve these problems.

“There is a misconception that expensive is effective,” said Dr. Imee P. Rajagukguk, a dermatologist at Adventist Medical Center Manila, in an October 11 webinar. “Not necessarily.”

When researching skincare products, she says, key words to look for are “hypoallergenic” (which reduces allergic reactions), “non-comedogenic” (which prevents clogged pores) and “fragrance-free” ( which is less irritating).

In the morning, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that doubles as a moisturizer can be applied as a protective layer against dryness. In the evening, a moisturizing cream with ceramides or hyaluronic acid can be used after cleansing the skin. Dr. Rajagukguk advised using moisturizing gels for oily skin; lotion for normal or combination skin; and cream for dry skin.

Moisturizers can be applied before and after using the face mask and after washing the skin with a mild cleanser.

Masks made of breathable fabrics such as cotton or silk, on the other hand, can be worn under a surgical mask. When safe to do so, masks can be removed every four hours for 15 minutes at a time to reduce friction in the facial area.

” Do not touch [the outer part of] your mask. It could be contaminated,” Dr Rajagukguk said, adding that cloth masks should be washed daily to avoid entrapment of bacteria caused by humidity.

For people such as nurses who must wear gloves for work, cotton gloves can also be used under rubber gloves to reduce friction in the area. Nitrile gloveswhich are free of synthetic materials like latex and BPA (bisphenol A), are recommended for sensitive skin.

“Dry your hands before using gloves or you will become prone to fungal infections. Hand dermatitis is more common now,” said Dr Rajagukguk.

Hand dermatitis is hand eczema. Besides occupational exposures, other known causes of the condition include friction, allergies, and dry skin. To soothe irritation, Dr. Rajagukguk suggested petroleum jelly, an affordable moisturizer.

Consultation with a board-certified dermatologist is, however, necessary for dry skin caused by conditions such as Diabetesa metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar, or psoriasisa chronic skin condition that causes scaly patches of skin.

“We advise you to request a consultation with us, so that we can give you the right moisturizer to use,” she added.