As a rule, our facial skin is accustomed to not being covered, which means that there is a lot of air exchange. But what happens when the skin is constantly covered by a face mask? Because we humans speak and breathe at the same time, a lot of moisture forms in the narrow space between the skin and the mouth-nose protection. If we put the mask on for only a few minutes, this moisture can quickly escape, but if we wear the face mask for several hours, moisture builds up. For people with sensitive skin, this process – hyperhydration – can lead to skin irritation. The reason for this is that the horny layer – the outer layer of the skin – softens and the skin barrier is damaged. Based on this, a lack of lipids occurs and the natural moisturizing factors of the skin are no longer able to bind sufficient moisture in the skin. Increased transepidermal water loss occurs, causing the upper layer of the skin to dry out. Dry skin due to the mask is the result.
If you are already prone to dry facial skin, this problem can even be exacerbated by constantly wearing a protective mask. In this article, you will learn basic information about dry skin on the face. Another phenomenon is the appearance of scaling and redness of the skin around the edges of the mask, where the tissue of the mask has close contact with the skin. A frequently seen problem is skin irritation in the area of the elastic bands behind the ears. As a rule, both cases involve mechanical irritation of the skin due to friction of the mask fabric against the skin. This occurs especially with sensitive skin. If the symptoms are very pronounced, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist in order to exclude the rarely occurring contact allergies.
Those who are prone to skin impurities can develop so-called “mask acne” under a mask. In this case, “less is more”, i.e. it is best to avoid make-up and too rich skin care products, never try out too many different products and, if in doubt, consult a dermatologist.
Because the mouth guard may well become a longer-term part of our everyday life, it is important to give the skin sufficient care and thus prevent the consequences such as dry skin under the mask. So, below we will explain what proper facial care for dry skin under the mouth guard can look like and how you can rebuild the skin protection barrier.
An essential part of the care should be to clean the skin thoroughly in the morning and evening, but with mild products. After drying and before putting on the mask, you should also reach for a light face cream that sufficiently moisturizes and soothes the skin (e.g. with panthenol). Allow the cream to absorb before pulling the clean protective mask over your face. Even if this seems difficult for you, you should avoid using make-up on dry skin areas in the mask area, as make-up can further increase the moisture build-up between the fabric and the skin. As a result, pimples appear, which can even develop into mask acne.
Richer skin care products (e.g. creams or nourishing face masks) should only be applied in the evening, or when you know that you will no longer be putting on a mask. Here it is recommended, for example, to use products with the ingredient urea, because this binds moisture, enriches it in the skin and strengthens the skin’s protective barrier.
Wear a well-fitting mask. It is also best to use different masks to avoid prolonged friction and pressure on the same area. The mask should be changed at least daily to prevent excessive bacterial colonization of the facial skin.
Apply light moisturizers or gel before wearing the mask to reduce friction between the skin and the mask.
Avoid cleaning your face with water that is too hot, so as not to put additional stress on your skin barrier.
If the mask must be worn for several hours a day, do not wear makeup under the mask if possible, just use a light moisturizer.
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