Natroma Covid-19 Skincare Advice
Coping with Covid-19 skincare problems
Now that we're all wearing face coverings on a regular basis, we're receiving more queries from customers who are having problems with their skin. We're hearing about breakouts, rashes, skin irritation, acne, rosacea flare ups and dryness. Many customers have been puzzled about why their skin is suddenly misbehaving, and haven't realised it's due to their Covid-19 face mask.
The main problem with wearing a face covering or mask for any length of time, is that the skin tends to become hot and irritated by the friction of the mask. The fabric/material of the mask is likely to be absorbing the skin's natural oils, because it's in close contact for so long. Face masks create a hot, humid micro-environment for the skin which can trap bacteria and dirt, particularly if a cloth mask isn't being washed regularly. The lack of air circulation across the face, combined with the trapped heat and moisture and loss of skin oils can lead to the skin feeling sore and uncomfortable. The mask will chafe the skin particularly across the bridge of the nose, across the cheekbones and the sensitive skin under the eyes and around the ears, with some people finding they are allergic to the metal band inside the nose section of surgical style masks. Healthcare workers, may have also noticed bruising to the skin since their masks are tighter and are worn for a longer period of time. I have noticed that my mask is setting off my rosacea, since it makes me feel much hotter than usual and when I remove it my face feels slightly inflamed. So what can we do to cope with Covid mask skincare problems?
Natural skincare tips when wearing face coverings
The first thing I'd advise, is to make sure you're cleansing your skin day and night. Try to use a cream cleanser (such as our Natroma Facial Cleanser) with a muslin cloth rather than a facial wipe (these can be drying), to ensure you're gently cleaning the skin without stripping away the natural oils. Muslin cloths help to exfoliate away dead skin cells in a gentle way and this will ensure your skin is clean and in the best possible shape to absorb your moisturiser each day to prepare your face for wearing a mask. Treat the skin gently when cleansing, particularly when it's feeling sore.
Try to use our organic Natroma Hydrolat Toners a little more regularly than usual. I'd suggest that you try using hydrolats when you return home (or when you remove your mask if it's been worn for a long time). Spritz the hydolat directly onto the skin or sweep a hydrolat soaked cotton pad gently across the skin or leave it to rest for a short while on sore patches of skin so it acts like a compress. The gentle action of our organic rosewater or orange blossom waters, will help to cool the skin and calm down any inflammation. It will gently cleanse away any impurities, bacteria, sweat or excess sebum, and since our organic rose and orange blossom hydrolats, are also mildly acidic and will help to re-set the skin's acid mantle whilst calming irritation.
Make sure that you are moisturising regularly. Masks are inevitably drying out our skin, so try to use products with organic botanical oils to try to replenish what is is being lost. We'd suggest using products that contain organic rosehip, argan, borage and jojoba oils where possible. Apply a light moisturiser (nothing too heavy, otherwise a heavy cream combined with the humid conditions inside the mask may lead to blocked pores) - our Natroma Q10 Moisturiser or Concentrated Moisturiser are ideal since they have a penetrating, but non-greasy consistency. Ideally use a product with hyaluronic acid since this helps to hold moisture in the skin layers, and will help to prevent it drying out so much.
If you're having problems with your mask chafing, try applying a little moisturiser in the areas where the mask is catching - perhaps behind the ears, across the cheekbones and bridge of the nose etc. We have just released a mini Natroma Q10 Moisturiser - a tiny 5ml pump that has a very small dispensing nozzle. This tiny pump can easily be carried around with you, and can dispense a very small amount of moisturiser at a time so you can apply whenever you feel any dryness. If your mask loops are causing sore patches (but not broken skin), it will be fine to apply a small amount of our Natroma Organic Balms behind the ears (we'd recommend Soothe). Remember that our balm products are very concentrated, so only use a little and avoid applying to the face.
At the end of the day, cleanse. tone and use a quality facial oil - such as our Q10 Oil Serums. Treatment oils like these used at night will be important to replenish the skin and help to counteract any additional dry patches that may be developing. Using high quality facial oils (again look for products that are rich in organic rosehip, argan, borage, jojoba, macadamia oils) since these will help to keep the skin supple and hydrated.
It will be best if you wear lighter facial make-up or ideally none at all under the mask. In particular try not to wear any heavy skin products, like primers, concealers or heavy foundations since combined with the conditions under the mask, this is the most likely reason many people are having problems with acne and clogged pores. Rosacea sufferers should also find that minimal make up will help, if they are finding their skin is becoming very flushed.
For acne/breakouts, treat the skin gently and try not to touch any spots or areas of redness. Try to minimise mask wearing as much as you can and allow fresh air to circulate across the skin, using gentle cleansing products and a hydrolat to calm breakouts. The key is to keep the skin clean, so weekly Rhassoul Clay treatments (you can easily create a cooling treatment mask with our Natroma Cleanser and rhassoul clay) can help clear congested pores and calm irritation. I find that using a rhassoul clay mask, once a week, helps to calm my rosacea.
Try to use a gel based sunscreen, applied after moisturising, rather than heavier cream formulations.
Try to increase your water intake. If mask wearing is making you feel hot there's a good chance you're becoming dehydrated more quickly than usual. Making sure that you are drinking enough, and eating fruits and vegetables each day since these will contribute to your overall well being and definitely help your skin from the inside!
Finally if you are using a washable mask, remember to wash it regularly. A dirty mask that keeps being re-used will not help your skin, and may be contributing to breakouts and skin irritation.
I hope this information helps, and please don't hesitate to get in contact if you need any further advice!