Wearing a face mask in UK shops and supermarkets will become mandatory from this Friday and will no doubt become the new normal but in the meantime we need to think about protecting our skin from damage and irritation caused by prolonged PPE.

GP and aesthetic doctor for skin-tech brand FOREO Dr. Raj Arora shares her top tips and advice.

  • Apply a protective barrier cream such as ‘Cavilon Barrier Film’, an alcohol free, hypoallergenic topical cream. It can act as a protective layer between the skin and the PPE mask. This will help to reduce irritation and sores from continual applied pressure.
  • Maintain a simple and consistent skin routine. Omit aggressive skin care ingredients such as retinol or exfoliating acids as these can leave the skin sensitive and more prone to chafing/breakdown.
  • Add a protective paraffin-based ointment to your skincare routine such as Epaderm or Vaseline to help protect irritated/sore areas of the skin.
  • Hydration is also key. It is important to drink plenty of fluid throughout the day (at least 2 litres) to keep skin healthy.
  • For those with sensitive skin, ensure you are following a skin routine. After removing the mask, gently wash the face with a calming cleanse, moisturise using a ceramide-based moisturiser. Follow up with any barrier creams/ointments to any particularly sensitive or sore areas.
  • To help treat any nasty bruising from the masks ensure that you have a diet rich in Vitamin C as this is essential for collagen production. Collagen encourages the renewal of cells and therefore helps repair wounds on the skin.
  • In areas that are particularly sore – you could use a sterile thin piece of gauze or hydrocolloid dressing as an additional barrier. Such as ‘Duoderm extra thin’ or a soft silicone tape.
  • Heavy make-up underneath the mask can mix with sweat/moisture and contribute to clogging pores.

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