The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining Skin Wellness While Wearing Masks

The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining Skin Wellness While Wearing Masks

Michelle Miller

 Understanding the Skin Microbiome: How Wearing Masks Affects Skin Health

In recent times, the widespread adoption of face masks has become a crucial part of our daily lives, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our front line hero health professionals (think doctors, nurses, aged care workers) all live and work in day to day masks. Yea re so grateful to these professions for their commitment and care.

While masks serve as a vital tool in preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses, their prolonged use can impact various aspects of our skin, and to those with sensitive skin, knowing how to best to understand mask wearing and their skin can really change the outcome of skin wellness. In this blog post, we'll explore the fascinating world of the skin microbiome and delve into how wearing masks can affect its delicate balance.

The skin microbiome is like a mirror with our visible skin wellness. The skin microbiome is absolutely huge numbers of invisible to the human eye microorganisms that inhabit the surface of our skin. These microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, are actually super important at  maintaining skin health and forming a protective barrier against harmful microbes or allergens, regulating inflammation, and supporting the skin's immune function. Keeping this microbiome happy is essential for healthy, radiant skin.

Effects of Wearing Masks on the Skin Microbiome

Masks are life saving for patients and health professionals as they offer protection against respiratory viruses, they can also create a different environment to either what our skin is used to or what our skin wants. It can in some cases create a warm, moist environment conducive to a different microbial growth than what is ideal, there is less exposure to oxygen as what we breathe out of our nose can be to some extent closer to our skin than if we were not using a mask, also leading to potential changes in the skin microbiome.

Prolonged mask-wearing  can disrupt the natural balance of the skin microbiome, potentially leading to issues such as acne, irritation, and dermatitis. As each persons microbiome is unique, a bit like our fingerprint, the way we react to masks is individual.

Furthermore, sometimes  friction from an ill fitting mask can physically irritate the skin surface, compromise the skin's protective barrier, making it more susceptible to infections and inflammation. In individuals with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea, wearing masks can exacerbate symptoms and trigger flare-ups.

Skincare Guide Plus Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Skin Microbiome While Wearing Face Masks

Despite the challenges posed by mask-wearing, there are several steps you can take to support a healthy skin microbiome and minimize the negative effects:

  1. Choose the Right Mask: Opt for masks made from breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics such as cotton or silk to minimise moisture buildup on the skin. For N-95 try a few different brands for a good fit and fabric you prefer.

  2. Practice Good Hygiene: Cleanse your face with a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser before and after wearing a mask to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria. We recommend theSkinBiotic® Calming Oil Cleanser, applied directly onto dry skin and then removed with a clean, cloth soaked in warm water, then dried gently with a  clean towel.  Avoid harsh or abrasive products that can disrupt the skin's natural barrier.

  3. Skincare Guide for Mask Wearing: Use a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturiser to hydrate and protect the skin without clogging pores. We recommend using theSkinBiotic® Prebiotic Restore Face Serum.

  4. Take Mask Breaks: Whenever possible, take short breaks from wearing masks to allow your skin to breathe and reduce the risk of irritation. 

  5. Seek Professional Advice: If you experience persistent skin issues or irritation from wearing masks, consult a dermatologist for personalized recommendations and treatment options.

 In conclusion, while wearing masks is essential for public health and safety, it is great to know the best skincare routine whilst wearing masks. By understanding the role of the skin microbiome and implementing proper skincare practices, you can help maintain a healthy complexion and minimise the negative effects of mask-wearing. Remember to prioritize gentle, nourishing skincare products and listen to your skin's needs to ensure a happy, healthy microbiome.