When talking and breathing with a mask in place, there is a good amount of humidity that builds up between your mouth and the mask. I joked the other day that I didn’t realize just how much breath I had until I went 6 straight hours at work with a mask on! The heat and humidity concentrated around the mouth can alter the pH of your skin and make you more prone to 3 issues. Bacterial overgrowth can result in folliculitis or infected hair follicles. Yeast overgrowth can result in perleche or cheilitis. This can present as persistent chapped lips or dry cracked corners of the mouth. And, lastly, perioral dermatitis. This is a variant of rosacea that can present as dry patches around the mouth and painful deep cystic pimples around the mouth.
There are 3 particular types of breakouts possible:
1. Bacterial overgrowth can result in folliculitis or infected hair follicles.
2. Yeast overgrowth can result in perleche or cheilitis. This can present as persistent chapped lips or dry cracked corners of the mouth.
3. Perioral dermatitis, a variant of rosacea, that can present as dry patches around the mouth and painful deep cystic pimples around the mouth.
There is a good chance you have been touching your face even more with a mask- manipulating it to breathe at times, adjusting it to avoid fogging of your glasses, or just to talk on the phone. It’s a good idea to wash your face in case there was an inadvertent transfer of little microbes to your face.
Washing your face can reduce the overgrowth of microbes and try to restore your skin’s pH and it’s natural immune defense.
Skin Care routine tips:
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and use a good moisturizer. Apply a lip balm to protect the delicate skin of the lips. Avoid products intended for anti- aging or acne. This is not the time to use these as most focus on exfoliating or drying the skin which can become very uncomfortable with a mask. Rethink the need for pigmented cosmetics under a mask because most will not survive.
Wash with a gentle cleanser. Focus on products with hydrating properties that have added antioxidants and anti inflammatory effects. Antioxidants and anti inflammatory ingredients to look for include vitamin E and niacinamide, while hydrating and skin protective ingredients include ceramides, squalene and glycerin.
While face masks are the new ‘normal’ using serums can help as they are lightweight and non-greasy. Face oils can be helpful if dry patches are persistent. Non-alcohol based toners can help soothe the skin, especially ones containing rose water.
Learn more as Dr Ilyas discusses with Asia Tatler