How to protect your skin from excessive use of the mask

To great evils, great remedies. The use of the mask has become widespread in our daily lives and everything indicates that we will not part with it in a good season. It is one of the most basic prevention rules in order to prevent the number of infections from increasing exponentially, as it did in early April. Now epidemiologists are investigating whether there will finally be a new outbreak, only this time and unlike a few months ago, we will be more prevented thanks among other things, to This simple gesture that we perform every time we leave the house.

And now, with the arrival of the heat and the imminent official entry into the summer season, it must be recognized that the use of the mask becomes more uncomfortable, but not for that less necessary. How will this accessory that has become essential in our social life affect our body and our way of living? Doctors of all specialties are waiting to study the changes it will produce this small but so valuable utensil that will accompany us from now on.

The skin of these areas of the face can sweat more than it should, causing skin irritations, eczema, pinkish skin or acne

One of the most immediate first problems will be with the skin. In the wake of the recycled air cavity that creates the mask in our mouth and nose and the heat from the outside, the skin of these areas of the face can sweat more than it should, thus producing dermatological conditions that can range from skin irritations, eczema, rosacea or acne. The latter specifically is one of the phenomena that American doctors have begun to see the most among the population, although the use of masks is not the only reason attributed to them.

Acne, after all, can be produced due to external factors of stress or anxiety, as well as mental disorders such as depression or tiredness. All these conditions are to a greater or lesser extent related to the excessive release of the hormone cortisol, that ends up generating greasier skin. Although at the moment of truth many of us only have to wear the mask every time we get on public transport or when we cannot guarantee a separation between people of more than two meters, many others have to wear it for hours, for what they are more prone to develop dermatological problems.

Changes in ambient humidity can trigger dermatitis around the mouth

Among all of them, they are health professionals those who have spent the most hours wearing them since the pandemic began, to the point that some have experienced uncomfortable chafing that they may have had to deal with with plaster or a dressing. Similarly, workers in supermarket or essential goods stores They have also had to make a very prolonged use over time, so certain media, such as the American 'Vox', have already released a series of recommendations for all those who have sensitive skin to this type of problem.

The first thing is to choose the material with which the masks are made. In this sense, it is better to buy them in a pharmacy than to make them yourself from materials such as polyester or wool. "I have seen several people with masks made of wool from turtlenecks," he says. Jessica Wu, American dermatologist. "Don't wear that. Many synthetic fabric blends are treated with chemicals that they cause skin irritation and are not breathable. "

Associated problems

Instead, the expert advises to use masks made of natural fibers, such as cotton or silk, to reduce the probability of irritation. A protection tool against possible contagion like this traps moisture within the closed space between a person's face and the fabric. This humidity, especially in hot climates, can cause acne breakouts and, in some cases, contact dermatitis or a skin rash accompanied by an itchy sensation on the skin. Since many people opt for exercise (running or cycling) with them on since they cannot guarantee the safety distance with others, excess grease, dirt and sweat can also get trapped inside, which would end up producing irritations around the chin, in the jaw, the cheeks or the corners and areas near the mouth.

Wash your face frequently and dry it well. And of course disinfect the mask with alcohol before and after each use

"The skin is always in a state of balance with the outside air," he stresses. Heather Goff in 'Healio', professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "Changes in ambient humidity, in a dry or humid atmosphere, can trigger dermatitis around the mouth in an individual who may be predisposed to developing it."

What can we do to prevent this series of skin health problems? Usually, maintain good hygiene and pay more attention and attention to what our skin demands. This can be summarized in washing your face frequently, drying the most sensitive areas well, as well as using lotions and moisturizers when we go to bed and do not use masks.

It is also very important to take extreme hygiene measures when putting on and taking off the mask. Before putting it on, wash your hands well with soap, enough to put it on. The same for the mask: you must disinfect it before each use with hydroalcoholic gel. Also pay attention and try not to touch the outside, since you can contaminate it if you have dirty hands.