Increased use of face masks can lead to skin irritation. However, to control COVID-19 infection rates, wearing a mask while going out is compulsory. It is also important to take care of your skin while we continue to take precautions. 

It is important to understand that because of the occlusive nature of the mask, your breathing is trapped, creating a humid environment for your skin. Individuals are sweating underneath the masks, and this causes friction, leading to pressure damage on the nose and cheeks leading to skin infections and irritations.

How to take care of and reduce skin irritation?

1. Keep your face and facemasks both clean. Wash all cloth masks after every use with hot water and iron them before using again.

2. Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser to get rid of excess sweat impurities, avoid using acid-based cleansers. Doing this at the end of each day, after returning home will be most effective.

3. Caring for the skin can also reduce the chances of pressure sores developing; masks should be removed every 2 hours for people who need to wear them for a long time. Remember to remove it only for a few moments and do not remove the mask while in a crowded place.

4. Use a good moisturizer depending on your skin type, at least 30 minutes prior to wearing a mask.

5. Avoid using heavy makeup under a mask as it may lead to breakouts.

6. The most important thing is that you do not remove, touch, or adjust the masks when in public.

7. In case you have an itchy rash, use calamine lotion or mild steroid cream on the skin.

8. To avoid pressure and irritation of the mask, use a face shield that does not touch your skin, and still gives protection. It is however recommended that you wear a mask along with the face shield if you are going to the market or meeting multiple people.

9. Use 3 to 4 masks and wash them daily and use them alternately.

10. Use masks made of a skin-friendly soft cloth.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong!