Essential skincare tips during the pandemic
The waves of challenges that the novel coronavirus has introduced into people's lives are unimaginable, to say the least. A whopping 174 million people have been affected by COVID-19 so far.
The only way to keep this deadly pandemic at bay is to constantly use masks and sanitizers and maintain distance. Sadly, these preventive measures can lead to skin problems like dryness, acne, and infections.
It's necessary to not only take our health seriously during the global pandemic but also to love and nurture our skin to help find its lost glory. To help you with the process, we have curated some of the skin manifestations of COVID-19 and the suitable skincare tips for each one of them.
Face mask acne, or maskne as it's commonly known, is the type of acne outbreak found commonly in the areas of the face constantly covered under the mask.
Wearing a face mask for long periods of time can result in comedones or papules on the chin, cheeks, and bridge of the nose. These parts fall directly under the contact and pressure of the mask and are most likely to be affected. Another sign that you have this type of acne is if you experience symptoms like an itching sensation and oily skin.
How to Avoid Maskne
- Try reducing the time of mask-wearing. If you must wear a mask at all times due to your job, add two layers of gauze inside the mask.
- If your skin type is oily, you need to gently wipe your face 3-4 times a day with a wet wipe or paper towel. This will prevent oil from clogging the pores of the skin.
- Be sure to wash your mask frequently.
Treatment of Mask-Related Acne
If your maskne has aggravated, you can seek a dermatologist who might suggest topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or topical and oral antibiotics. Adding cleansers like glycolic acid and salicylic acid to your skincare routine can help treat acne, too.
Additionally, doctors may recommend combined oral medications, which like topical retinoids, will help treat inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.
Contact dermatitis is when your skin becomes red and inflamed after using an irritant, such as hand sanitisers and soaps. These products damage the natural skin barrier function, thereby triggering an allergic reaction.
Contact dermatitis increased during the pandemic due to the increased and constant use of sanitisers. As per a survey, 82.6% of the participants reported symptoms of Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD).
You can conclude that you have contact dermatitis if your hands show the following signs:
- Dry, flaky skin
- Burning sensation
- Superficial cracks all over your palms
- Redness stopping at the wrist
How to Avoid Contact Dermatitis
- Use hand sanitisers containing moisturizers as recommended by the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS).
- If you use chlorhexidine, chloroxylenol, triclosan, or detergent-based hand sanitisers, replace them with alcohol-based hand sanitisers. They are safer because of their lesser lipid-dissolving effect.
- Moisturize your hands with emollients after using soap to alleviate the dryness.
- Avoid harsh rubs when sanitizing and opt for gentle wipes instead
Treatment for Contact Dermatitis
Your dermatologist might prescribe topical treatments such as corticosteroids to heal dry and cracking skin. You may also be advised to replace your hand soap or sanitiser with a skin-friendly cleanser and moisturizer.
If you suffer from extreme contact dermatitis, oral corticosteroid therapy may be suggested.
Due to COVID-19, our home life and work-life have been merged, leading to a surge in the screen time of students and workers.
But did you know that these increased levels of digital exposure can also be a potential skin problem?
Electronic gadgets are an indoor source of blue light. When your face is exposed to high or concentrated levels of this light, it can lead to redness, skin ageing, and hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is characterised by discoloured patches of skin on your face or hands due to excessive melanin production. The condition essentially leads to an uneven skin tone and dark spots.
How to Avoid Blue Light Hyperpigmentation
- The most common step is to moderate the use of digital gadgets as much as possible. You could also install a blue light filter app or lower the brightness of your monitor when working.
- Use mineral sunscreens or moisturizers to protect your skin against blue light.
- Apart from computer and phone screens, you can also change your standard LED bulbs to blubs that emit less blue light.
Treatment of Blue Light Hyperpigmentation
While over-the-counter solutions for hyperpigmentation are available, your dermatologist can prescribe the right topical treatments that might be more effective. Typically, ointments that aim to inhibit the production of melanin like hydroquinone or azelaic acid are recommended.
Dermatophytosis - also known as mask tinea and ringworm - is a contagious fungal skin infection caused by the prolonged use of a mask.
Face masks can lead to increased sweating around your mouth and nose, inadvertently creating a humid microenvironment for fungi to grow. This manifests as pink and red rashes in a ring shape on the affected areas. You may also experience itching or an intense burning sensation when out in the sun.
If you experience these symptoms, you should consult a dermatologist to confirm whether you have ringworm.
How to Prevent Dermatophytosis
- Always clean your face mask after use.
- Facial ringworm is just as contagious as COVID-19, so never share your mask with another person.
- Keep the area around your mouth and nose dry.
Treatment for Dermatophytosis
Facial ringworm is best treated with antifungal medication and powder. Your doctor may also suggest applying topical creams and lotions such as ketoconazole to get rid of the infection. Apart from this, morning and evening baths with antifungal soap can help alleviate the condition.
Yes, the continued use of masks and sanitisers is causing skin problems. But it's the only solution we have for now to successfully battle COVID-19 and protect ourselves and our loved ones.
That said, following these protective measures does not mean robbing your skin of the attention and care it deserves! With the skincare tips mentioned here, you can keep your skin healthy and prevent COVID-related skin issues from occurring.
For more information on treating your skin with care or to talk to a certified dermatologist, visit Skin & Hair Academy today.