Since the Pandemic started, we have all done our bit to help prevent the spread of covid by washing our hands regularly and wearing a facemask. However these protective practises can have a negative impact on our skin causing breakouts, dry skin and contact dermatitis.

Face Masks –to offer correct protection from viruses and dust, they must be worn correctly and have a snug fit. Breathing behind a facemask can create a microclimate of excessive high temperature and humidity. A tight fitting mask can also cause friction, rashes and pain.

“Maskne” a pseudonym for acne caused by mask wearing has become a problem for a lot of people, especially those who have to wear a mask for prolonged periods of time. Excessive facial hydration as a result of wearing a mask can cause the sweat ducts to narrow and and obstruct sebum flow out of the skin. Subsequent acne can develop around the jaw line and chin. Treatment can be difficult as long as you are wearing a face mask.

General tips and treatments-

•Take a short break from wearing the face mask and dry your face.

•Change the mask if it has become moist

•If you wear a reusable face covering, wash it regularly.

•Daily cleansing with skincare products specific to combination or breakout prone skin types such as Laroche Posay Effaclar, Cerave foaming cleanser.

•If these don’t work, topical creams can be bought over the counter to treat acne that contain Benzyl peroxide (Acnecide) or salicylic acid (Acnaut).

•In addition to above, if not effective, a doctor can prescribe a topical antibiotic. Talk to our pharmacist who can advise you on selecting the right treatment.

Hand dermatitis and dry skin

Frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitisers can generate various changes in the skin from dryness, contact dermatitis and even allergic contact dermatitis. Prolonged use of soaps, water, chemicals or gloves can disrupt the skin surface and increase its sensitivity. However hand hygiene is essential in the fight against covid and cannot be stopped.

General tips and treatments-

•If using a hand sanitiser, consider using an alcohol free one that maybe less irritating (Suprox). Also check that it has a PCS number which indicates that is has being approved.

•After washing your hands, dry them gently with a soft towel.

•Moisturise liberally with a skincare product throughout the day and immediately after hand washing eg Bioderma Ultra repair cream

•For very dry skin use a greasy ointment such as Emulsifying

•Avoid using cosmetic or fragranced creams

•If you have to work with gloves, wash and moisturise your hands when you take them off. Change frequently and only wear on dry hands

•If you are not getting relief with a moisturising cream, a topical steroid (Cortropin) cream maybe required.

Skincare management during the Pandemic is brought to you by McGorisks Pharmacy

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