Simple Steps to Keep Your Skin Healthy and Safe While Wearing PPE

-by Jennifer R. Martindale LPN, LE

Who would have thought that 2020 would bring a pandemic where our latest fashion accessory and safety measures would be some sort of face covering? Whether you are a health care professional or stay-at-home mom or anyone in between, you are surely using some sort of PPE (personal protective equipment). With that being the new “norm,” at least for the interim, it is important that you are taking the time to care for your skin to keep it healthy.

As a health care professional and skin care provider, I know that constant rubbing, touching or exposure to your facial skin from these masks can cause some unwanted irritation, redness and even skin breakdown. That being said, I have a few recommendations to help ease and prevent those concerns.

By now you should all realize that washing your hands is one of the gold standards for EVERYTHING! So, let’s start there. Anytime you remove your mask, wash your hands. If your mask is on for any extended period of time, it is important to wash your face immediately to remove any unwanted bacteria from being covered and potentially clogging up your skin. Actually, you may wash your face an extra time or two throughout the day, just be gentle and choose gentle products and a good hydrator to follow.

You should be continuing your normal skin care regime, taking a few things into consideration. If you are using any treatment products that potentially cause irritation (think tretinoin, hydroquinone, glycolic acids), you may need to decrease the frequency (always contact your provider with questions regarding this). My advice is any active ingredients be used at nighttime after washing since your skin will have time to breathe and rest before the next round of potential irritation is to occur. Daily skin care can be very simple and gentle, yet prove to be very effective; a simple wash, gentle toner and hydrator are perfect (of course your a.m. regime should also have SPF).

Let’s think of this time as a break from your everyday makeup; let your skin breathe. If you must put something on, I would suggest a simple mineral powder of some sort. Lastly, I would like to remind you that if you are using a cloth mask, it is important to be washing that mask. Using a detergent that is fragrance-free and no fabric softener will help eliminate the possibility of causing irritation from those products as well.

If you currently have any concerns with rosacea, eczema or psoriasis on your face and seem to be experiencing added irritation, you should be addressing that with you dermatologist or skin care provider for the best recommendations.

I hope this finds you all healthy with glowing skin under that PPE! We are here for you with any questions or concerns and can’t wait to get back to seeing all your beautiful faces in person!

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