Under the current COVID19 crisis Face masks are now compulsory when leaving home.
This poses several problems to the skin particularly for people sensitive to certain materials and chemicals used in manufacturing the masks. Moisture build up, as well as any bacteria from the breath, secretions such as saliva or mucus, are trapped inside the mask. The natural balance of the skin around the mouth is disrupted, this may lead to acne eruption or rash such as peri-oral dermatitis (which can also resemble acne) or an exacerbation of skin conditions such as Rosacea.
How to reduce the incidence of face mask related problem skin:
The World Health Organization and the Australian Health Departments announced that frequent Hand washing is necessary to prevent the spread the novel infectious Coronavirus. This advice resulted in hand soap and antiseptic hand rub flying off the shelves, leaving them stripped bare.
As the frequency of hand washing and hand sanitizing has increased, so too have their drying effects on our skin. Dry or not, it is essential to continue washing them to avoid transmission of this deadly virus.
So how can we help prevent Dry chapped skin?
Chapped skin means a compromised skin barrier and therefore the flaky, cracked skin can harbour more germs. It is important to wash your hands for at least 20 secs, ensuring all surfaces are washed. Rinse off with luke warm water and only pat dry, leaving a little water on your hands. Immediately apply a hand cream, ideally using a barrier cream each time you wash them. This will prevent sore chapped skin and assist in its recovery.
As people have been in lockdown, most have been at home, away from social gatherings, this meant more screen time. Whether it is working from home in front of the PC, playing Xbox or PlayStation games, on social media or Zoom and FaceTime. Our skin and eyes are subjected to extended periods in front of a screen, and at times even 2 or 3 screens simultaneously.
How does this affect your skin?
Screens are known to emit electromagnetic radiation and in particular, blue light which is damaging to our skin. When exposed to screens for extended periods of time the skin suffers increased cellular damage such as oxidative, DNA damage and inflammation. In order to reduce damage, limit exposure and apply protective skincare; antioxidant serums; Niacinamide, Retinol, Vitamin C and zinc-based sunscreen and mineral makeup.
When exposed to blue light even for a short time in the evening or night from different sources: device emissions and artificial lightening (LEDs), it can desynchronize skin cells from their night time rhythm (circadian rhythm) , and cause many damage and accelerate ageing. The impairment has been shown to result in a loss of skin repair and recovery.
How can we help the skin during these times; Antioxidants are essentially important to be topically applied, preventing oxidative stress. Recommended; Niacinamide serum, Retinol 1% serum and sunscreen with zinc or pure mineral makeup like Jane Iredale. Stay hydrated… drink lots of water!
How is the skin affected by anxiety, depression and stress? During the COVID-19 lockdown, mental healthissues have increased dramatically. Anxiety about the coronavirus and infection, depression under lockdownand under the social distancing restrictions. Stress of losing your job or even working from home and possiblyalso with the demand of home-schooling children adds to the burden. Anxiety, depression and stress has beenshown to affect our whole body, causing cortisol (stress hormone) release to rise and reduced Serotonin (thehappy hormone) levels. As we are faced with uncertainty and must conform to a new normal our mentalhealth is challenged. It important to stay calm and seek relaxation therapies, keep busy, talk to family, keep incontact with friends or seek professional therapies.
Our skin is the reflection of what is happening internally. You may simply suffer more breakouts, be extrasensitive and red or suffer dry and dehydrated skin. However, more severe responses may be acne, eczema,rosacea flare up, urticaria, cold sores and psoriasis. Firstly, acknowledge it is a stressful time and you are notalone! Be mindful and take time out for exercise and relaxation and meditation or prayer. If you can go out fora walk or exercise in nature is calming and nurturing and great for mental wellbeing.
There are several skin care treatments you can apply to your skin. Masks and serums are a great addition toyour regular skincare routine to help boost your skin while clinics are closed. Speak to the MLAC DermalClinicians for advice on skin and Iso-kits targeted to your specific skin concerns.