Under the Mask – PPE and Your Skin

As the national Lockdown is beginning to ease and alternative measures are being put in place to continue keeping everyone safe from the virus, we are all getting used to wearing masks more often when we are out and about. Those working in restaurants, pubs, post offices and other face to face services will be adapting to wearing more extensive PPE, such as visors and aprons, and of course our brilliant healthcare workers will be continuing to don their full PPE in their daily working lives. Most of us aren’t used to these types of safety measures and you may have noticed that wearing masks and visors has had quite the effect on your skin in the past few weeks and months. Trikwan Aesthetics’ Dr Zoya Diwan certainly noticed the effect on hers during the shifts she undertook in the NHS helping out during the COVID-19 crisis and she has passed on some essential tips from herself and her dermatology colleagues on how to battle the effects PPE can have on the skin of the face.

Especially for those required to wear forms of PPE in their jobs, wearing masks and visors for many hours at a time can really suffocate your skin, increasing the amount of sebum and oil your skin produces. This can lead to: your skin becoming congested; to clogged pores which can develop into commedones (prominent black heads and white heads); break outs, combinations of dry and oily areas of skin on the face; and in more severe cases, it can even lead to mini pressure sores and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH is particularly bad for those with darker skin tones as the resulting pigmentation can take up to a year to resolve.

I’m experiencing some/all of these effects, what do I do?

Dr Zoya suggests a 3-part plan to help tackle these issues:

1. Prevent
A Vitamin C serum, in the L-Ascorbic acid form, is a great anti-oxidant product that will help to prevent hyperpigmentation in the skin. It will also inject some brightness and life into skin that is already experiencing the effects of wearing PPE, to help improve the overall appearance of these regions. You should apply your serum at least 30 minutes before donning any PPE to gain the full effects of its application. Learn more about the many benefits of Vitamin C here.

If you are suffering some of the more severe effects, like pressure sores, then Duoderm Hydrocolloid Dressings are a great option available from your local high street boots or pharmacy that will prevent these sores from getting worse. Alternatively, these can also be worn in the areas where your PPE rests to prevent any pressure sores developing in the first place.

2. Exfoliate
To tackle congestion and commedones in the skin, make sure to use a BHA (Salicylic acid) Cleanser every evening. This will exfoliate the skin to unclog any dirt and oil that is sitting in your pores, smoothing and clearing your skin’s appearance.

If you are struggling with break outs then using a product containing Benzoyl Peroxide will help address any spots or acne. Combining both a Salicylic acid and a Benzoyl Peroxide product together in your evening skincare routine is a great way to target congestion and blemishes in one go.

3. Maintain
Finally, it’s incredibly important to help your skin maintain it’s natural barrier using a good quality barrier-repairing, non-comedogenic moisturiser every day. If your skin is feeling particularly oily in places, it can be tempting to skip out on the moisturising step of your skincare routine, however it is so important to maintain your skin’s hydration so that it’s natural barrier can remain strong under the extra pressure PPE puts on it. Learn more about the beneficial of moisturisers and hydrators here.

As always…

Should you notice your skin continuing to worsen, whether that be in worsening acne, hyperpigmentation, or in overall appearance and quality, make sure to seek help from a qualified doctor or dermatologist. At Trikwan Aesthetics we run online and in-person skincare consultations where we can thoroughly assess your skin and recommend the best medical-grade products to tackle your individual skincare concerns.



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