By: Dr. Melanye Maclin-Carroll, MD

WOW! Within three months into 2020, an awful pandemic emerged due to a Coronavirus called COVID-19 that has truly changed our lives! Not only are we suffering mentally from the deaths of loved ones but we are also dealing with few common skin issues directly related to protecting our health.

Masks are essential protective daily wear to reduce your respiratory droplets from getting on objects and others less than six feet from you. However, the longer hours of wearing a mask can cause various facial skin issues.

Moisture can buildup under the mask especially if wearing for a long time. This can cause a facial rash similar to a diaper rash from yeast overgrowth. You may have redness, itching, and even pus bumps. You can reduce this issue by taking off masks when safe and using breathable cotton fabrics. Also topical antifungal cream like Lotrimin can help to relieve the rash.

The mask fabric can also cause skin problems. You may have a burning red reaction called irritant contact dermatitis. Once notice the rash, stop using that mask and apply an over-the-counter Hydrocortisone cream. Find a replacement mask made of a different fabric to reduce future rash. Also, hand washes a non-disposable fabric mask every two days with soap and warm water to reduce bacteria buildup.

If you have to wear the hospital-grade N95 for extended times, the protective fabric used to make them may also cause potential lip burns from the carbon dioxide that you exhale remaining in the mask. Try alternating with more breathable masks when can.

Hand washing is mandatory to reduce COVID-19 spread. Therefore, your hands have been under a great deal of recent irritation. It is best to use soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds despite the fact that excess washing can cause drying of hands. To reduce further drying, apply heavy hand cream after washing with ingredients such as shea butter, petrolatum, or cocoa butter. If you are unable to use a sink, the next best protection is hand sanitizer of at least greater than 60% alcohol. This product is extra drying especially since using more frequently daily. Barrier hand creams contain ingredients that trap moisture so hands don’t get as dry between washings or use of sanitizer.

We are encouraged to disinfect areas frequently to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well. The excess use of chemical-based cleaning agents can cause your hands to become extra dry. You may also get a red or burning rash called irritant hand dermatitis. The Key is for you to wash your hands thoroughly after using chemicals to avoid transfer to other body parts. Simple over the counter Hydrocortisone cream twice a day can relieve hand irritation.

This pandemic has also caused a lot of stress which has led to the new onset of fine lines, wrinkles, and gray hair. Because hair and skin start within, the special marine protein and collagen proprietary nutrient blend in BellaNutri natural supplement will help improve these issues. Stay consistent at least six months to maximally get nutrients working in your system. www.bellanutri.com

Despite these potential skin issues, it is still more critical to continue wearing your mask, washing/sanitizing your hands frequently during the day, disinfecting objects, and social distancing.

Please send any questions to www.askdrmac.com