Our dermatology expert shares tips for your skincare when wearing a mask

From 24 July, it will be compulsory to wear a face mask or covering in shops in England. Here, our Consultant Nurse in Dermatology, Alberto Barea, shares his tips for looking after your skin.

Frequent hand washing and prolonged use of face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) can irritate the skin and, in some cases, induce contact dermatitis (a type of eczema triggered by contact with a specific substance).

As the requirements of face covering and frequent hand washing are vital for controlling the spread of the virus and these measures are expected to remain in place for months to come, it is important to be prepared and prevent any problems with some good skin care.

My top tips are:

  • Keep your skin clean and well moisturised: apply a lotion-based moisturiser to the face 20-30 minutes before wearing a face mask.
  • Apply hand moisturiser (a cream or ointment) frequently throughout the day to prevent skin irritation from hand sanitisers and handwashing. Pat dry rather than rubbing your hands with a towel.
  • Take time to fit your mask. Ensure all folds in your mask have been used to optimise the correct fit for you and do not over-tighten.
  • If you feel your mask is digging in, move away from direct people contact, remove the mask and allow the skin to recover for approximately five minutes.
  • Check the face mask does not build up excessive moisture. If it feels wet inside it is likely to lose its protective function and will need to be replaced anyway.
  • Ensure you wash your face, and gently pat it dry with a tissue or towel before reapplying a new mask.
  • Regularly inspect your skin for signs of redness/soreness. It is important that you take regular breaks (I recommend every two hours) from wearing a mask to relieve the pressure and reduce moisture build-up.
  • Stay well hydrated throughout the day.

Find out more about Mr Barea and the services he offers at Kingston Private Health.