Today’s new normal has some challenges; one is wearing a new accessory we are not used to, face masks.
Although the masks are essential today to protect ourselves and others, it has brought some increased discomfort or exacerbated already existing conditions.
Here to teach us what we need to know about wearing face masks is Kristina Petkovic, MSN, RN, CNP.
About Kristina Petkovic, MSN, RN, CNP
Kristina began her medical career in 2007 after graduating from Kent State University with her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Originally from Croatia, she moved to the states at a young age and she remains very passionate about traveling the world. To incorporate her love for traveling into her love for helping others, she became a Travel Registered Nurse in 2010. She loves to talk about her journeys and finds it often further connects her to her patients. While continuing her travels, Kristina also further pursued her education at Walden University, becoming an AANP board-certified family Nurse Practitioner.
Most recently, Kristina completed a dermatology internship here at Apex Dermatology, learning from the finest dermatological providers in Northeast Ohio. She sees patients for all skin conditions including adult and pediatric dermatology.
How to Choose the Right Mask
First, pick the right mask for you and your skin. Having a breathable material is key. Cotton is the best fabric that can allow your skin to breathe. Try to avoid fabrics that are heavy and thick.
Some fabrics that are lightweight may also not be the best option, like silks. Although they are lightweight, the material is not wicking of moisture, so even moisture from your breath will permeate the fabric.
Most importantly, make sure the mask fits your face. Too large of a mask does not protect you, but too small of a mask can cause skin breakdown more easily.
Finding a mask that you do not have to readjust is important for your safety and comfort.
Also, if your skin is sensitive, wash your mask with a hypoallergenic cleanser prior to wearing it. This will help you avoid any further skin irritations or rashes.
How to Keep Your Skin Healthy Under a Mask
Wash your face at least twice a day. This is so important for good skin health. Washing off the oils and grime from the day will help with any skin type.
It’s important to use the right type of face wash for your skin. If you have sensitive skin, make sure you use a gentle cleanser. If you already have an underlying skin condition or are prone to breakouts, make sure you use a non-comedogenic face wash to ensure you do not clog any more pores.
Since the masks can cause us to sweat more, washing your face after wearing a mask can also be extremely helpful to avoid skin irritation and breakouts.
What Healthcare Providers Wearing Masks Need to Know
Some healthcare providers who have to wear a N95 all day, causing skin breakdowns. These types of masks are more rigid and having a barrier to protect your skin from breakdown is important. Even if you’re not wearing a N95 mask, you can still develop breakdown behind the ears from the basic surgical or home-made masks.
Remember to avoid long term use of masks if at all possible by staying home when you can.
If you are a healthcare provider or at work wearing a mask for a long time, make sure you use a barrier cream to protect the bridge of your nose, behind the ears or any area that the mask you use is constantly rubbing to avoid skin injury.
A good simple barrier cream like Vaseline can work to protect that skin. Another helpful way to protect those ears is by using a headband with buttons to rest the mask on the buttons instead of the ears.
If you do develop a rash or skin injury and are unsure of what to do, know that Apex is available, and we continue to transform lives through healthy skin. Call us at 833-279-SKIN (7546) or request an appointment online at apexskin.com