Masks can be worn as a disease control measure for COVID-19 but they also have a function for allergies. Studies show that wearing a face mask may reduce hay fever symptoms such as a runny nose or watery eyes. Nevertheless, it’s important to look out for rosacea flares around the chin, cheeks or jaw if you have a pre-existing skin condition. This could be due to wearing the mask for a very long time or using the wrong type of mask for your skin.
Handwashing with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But it may worsen skin allergy symptoms like those associated with atopic or contact dermatitis. Additionally, during a flare up you may be at risk of infection due to breaking the skin.
To look after your hands during periods of frequent washing, use a moisturizer after rinsing. Also, soap is typically less drying than hand sanitizer, so could be a better option for those with sensitive skin. Finishing with moisturizing promotes skin barrier repair, as it helps prevent your hands from drying out too quickly.
Keep in mind, skin allergies can be triggered by chemicals in soap, hand sanitizer and other everyday cleaning products. So try to use fragrance-free alternatives without preservatives.