The new checklist when we step out these days is mostly … “phone, keys, wallet and…face mask !!” Just a few of the many changes that the Covid19 pandemic has brought upon us.
While we all seem to have figured out correct usage of masks – care of face masks and care of our skin beneath the mask – is something that we need to get smart about. So, we’re here with expert inputs from our designers, artisans, users, healthcare professionals – on how to take care of our masks and facial skin. Read on to know best practices for hygiene especially when you’re wearing a face mask and when you’re washing it for your next use. And a care routine to keep one’s complexion soothed and protected with mask usage.
Why Wearing a Face Mask is Essential
Doctors have confirmed that wearing a mask is not primarily about preventing oneself from picking up the virus – it is intended to protect others from getting the virus from us too ! The protective barrier that cotton fabric triple layered masks create – prevents us from not only being exposed to the Covid19 virus – it also protects others when any of us talk, breathe or even cough or sneeze. After all – we could be asymptomatic carriers as well, right ? The masks, of course need to be fitting snugly but comfortably on our faces covering the mouth and nose completely for maximum protection.
Do’s and Don’ts while Wearing a Face Mask :
Once you have worn the mask – do not touch it at all. Do not adjust it once you are amongst people. This is because the outside of the mask is contaminated. If you really must take off your mask for any reason at all – do not touch the front of your mask, nor your eyes, nose and mouth when removing your face covering and wash your hands after removing your mask ! Then wear a fresh mask after.
Masks during Muggy Monsoon Heat :
During monsoons, when it is especially hot and humid, your mask can become damp – and we recommend you carry at least one if not two extra masks with you. Follow the same protocols as shared above when you take off your damp mask. If you are not washing the mask immediately – pack it away separately in a paper bag. And again, wear a fresh mask if needed.
Why you need to Wash your Face Mask after every use:
A reusable cloth face mask should be cleaned and disinfected after every single use. If by some chance – you are unable to wash your mask – keep it in a paper bag (never ever in a plastic bag ) and place it in a warm spot, like on a window sill or even in direct sunlight. You’ll need to wait at least 48 hours before you use the mask again – as that’s the time needed for the mask to dry out and for virus particles to become inactive.
When you’re washing your mask – ideally do so by hand. Use warm water and a mild detergent, scrub it well for at least 20 seconds and then rinse it out. You can also pre-soak the mask in a bleach or liquid disinfectant solution after following instructions on the pack for additional protection. Dry the mask completely in a warm place or in direct sunlight before use.
Dealing with Skin Issues caused by Face Masks :
Wearing a mask for extended periods of time can cause skin irritation in the form of heat rash and even acne. So, it’s important to ensure your mask is made from fine, breathable cotton fabric to minimise chances of perspiration and oils getting trapped on the skin’s surface and instead – getting absorbed by the cotton fabric layers. If possible – try and take a mask break in a safe and socially distanced space – and give your skin a break too. Consult your doctor if needed for medication in case the problem persists.
Regular Skin Care when Wearing Masks:
Preventive skin care can go a long way in ensuring skin protection over long periods of mask wear. Experts prescribe the use of a good face moisturiser before putting on a mask – as it forms a barrier between skin and fabric and minimises chafing and irritation. Make-up under a mask is not really recommended and a sunscreen is a must for your entire face for sun protection – especially from UV rays.
A mask is our single most important weapon in our fight against Covid19 – only when correctly used and maintained and re-used along with but it cannot be a substitute for hand washing protocols and social distancing.
Stay well. Stay safe. Let’s all fight and overcome Covid19 together.