Mask irritation: how to avoid it?

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People who wear a protective mask for several hours at work can develop skin problems. The cause is friction, moisture, and perspiration.

The debate about the usefulness of wearing a mask against Covid-19 does not arise in some professional circles. Nursing personnel, as well as supermarket workers and any other workers who receive public, should use this protection daily.

And to offer maximum protection, the mask should be tightly closed, especially on the nose. The problem occurs in stressful, humid, and sometimes hot environments that cause discomfort and skin damage.

According to a study published by the Journal of Wound Care in February 2020, sweat from masks can cause friction, causing pressure problems on the nose and cheeks, and even skin damage. Since the wound cannot heal, the risk of infection increases.

Unpleasant friction

Without reaching this stage, how can we prevent and treat more or less serious discomfort? "People who already have acne, eczema, rosacea, or who have dry, irritable atopic skin are at higher risk," says Brigitte Milpied, a dermato-allergist at Saint-André Hospital in Bordeaux and a member. of the French Society of Dermatology.

The first problem with wearing the mask for more than six hours a day is irritant dermatitis. "It manifests itself by redness, dryness, sensitivity of the skin and, sometimes, itching, especially at the level of the nasal bridge. The metal rod that allows to fix the mask well supports an area of the nose that is not used to being pressed "says the specialist. As with people who wear glasses the first time, it takes a while to adjust so that you no longer feel the friction.

Irritating dermatitis can sometimes spread to the cheeks and below the neck, depending on the sensitivity of the skin. The solution: apply a moisturizer in the morning and at night, or even a healing cream for the most problematic cases. "And don't hesitate to contact a teleconsultation dermatologist if you have questions," adds Brigitte Milpied.

The other problem frequently encountered by the dermatologist is what she calls "confinement dermatitis". "The skin is confined under the mask, occluded, and can develop or worsen folliculitis or seborrheic dermatitis." Naturally oily, acneiform skin will tend to react. In this case, I recommend avoiding comedogenic products like bases and fatty creams, which are not suitable. "

To deal with your problematic skin when wearing a mask throughout the day, the specialist recommends a perfect cleansing in the morning and evening, daily makeup removal, the application of water spray to calm irritation and a light moisturizer . Applying too oily cream several times a day would be counterproductive.

Allergy is very rare

Are you worried that the mask will cause an allergic reaction? Rest assured that this type of allergy is very rare. The metal nose bar is guaranteed nickel-free and is therefore non-allergenic. The symptoms of a possible allergy are worsening of the dermatosis despite the application of a cream, an increasingly irritated area, including the appearance of dandruff, erosions. In this case, contact a health professional, who will offer you appropriate treatment.

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