Tips on preventing face-mask skin problems

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UNAIR NEWS – The coronavirus pandemic has created new habits, such as the use of face-masks when doing activities outside the house. However, for some people, this habit has the potential to cause several skin problems.

One of the problems is acne or maskne, which is a condition on the skin due to the use of prolonged face-mask use. Apart from acne, there are also other skin problems, such as dermatitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, folliculitis, and rosacea.

Quoted from The New York Times, medical personnel and other front-line workers are the groups most vulnerable to skin problems because they must use face-masks as tight as possible or in layers for a long time.

In fact, a further study in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology noted the rate of skin damage experienced by medical personnel in Hubei, China, reached 97%.

The same study also stated that more than 70% of medical personnel experience symptoms of dry skin; 56.8% felt pain in the face when touched; and 52.5% itching. More than 60% had peeling skin; 49.4% erythema; and 32.9% had acne.

Pay attention to the right use and condition the face-mask

The use of face-masks aims to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through droplets that come out when someone is breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing.

So, what steps could be taken so face-masks can be used effectively without causing skin problems?

According to a medical specialist in skin and genitalia, dr. Irmadita Citrashanty, Sp.KK., The onset of skin problems come from water vapor that is produced when someone is breathing.

“If you don’t use a face-mask, water vapor automatically disperses into the air. On the other hand, the use of face-masks actually causes moisture stay in closed areas, such as the cheeks, nose and chin, causing high humidity, ”explained dr. Irmadita.

Skin problems occur if the face-mask is used longer than the doctor’s recommendation. Moreover, the dirty part of the face-mask also becomes place for bacteria or germs to grow.

“The use of face-masks is ideally for four hours. After that, use a new face-mask. Because the skin condition is moist and dirty masks will make skin problems worse. We recommend that you bring more than one face-mask when traveling, ” she added.

The lecturer of Faculty of Medicine (FK) Universitas Airlangga said that people should not be confused when choosing masks because the cloth face-mask with two layers, added with a dry tissue paper as a filter can protect people from viruses.

Even so, people need to pay attention to the type of face-mask that suits their skin condition. In some cases, choosing the wrong fabric will actually cause allergies. Moreover, face-masks that are too tight can also cause irritation, especially if there is excessive friction on the skin. One of the recommended types of fabric is cotton.

“Guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), recommended some time to open the face-mask to reduce moisture. However, because you are not allowed to open the face-mask, try to find a quiet place. For Muslims, maybe they can take advantage of ablution time if they want to open their face-masks, “added dr. Irmadita.

She also asked the public to pay attention to the cleanliness of face-masks by washing them regularly. The face-mask can be washed using water and detergent.

Maintain cleanliness of facial Skin and manage diet well

Not only paying attention to the use and condition of face-masks, preventing skin problems can also be done by maintaining skin cleanliness, such as through skincare.

“Skincare has several compositions that function to reduce acne, such as from the retinoid group, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and salicylic acid (BHA). Furthermore, there are also composition that can treat acne, vitamin B3 or niacinamide, ” she said.

Normally, the skin will experience a skin peeling for 28 days. However, with this skincare, the skin will peel off regularly, thus preventing the buildup of dead skin cells that cause acne and stimulating new skin cells.

“Another way to maintain facial skin cleanliness is to wash with soap and water, especially for those who tend to have acne. The goal is to reduce moisture, oil and dirt that accumulate when using face-masks, ” she said.

The doctor emphasized that there is no special treatment in preventing skin problems caused by face-masks. People should routinely maintain the cleanliness of facial skin, face-masks, and always bring personal needs, such as skincare or soap, so they can be used every time they do activities outside the house for a long time.

“And, don’t use make-up in areas covered by face-masks,” she continued.

When experiencing serious skin problems, people can take advantage of long-distance medical services (telemedicine) widely available. (*)

Author: Nabila Amelia

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).

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