As promised in my social media posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram more blogs will be coming along soon and now here we are!
Earlier this year around the time lockdown started, I wrote a blog about managing eczema during the pandemic –https://deeperthaneczema.co.uk/managing-eczema-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
A lot has happened since and I just feel that I should continue for now to write more posts relating to eczema and COVID 19 (especially now due to a second wave) and to expand on further to what I blogged about previously.
Wearing face coverings/masks is now compulsory in most public places including shops, public transport and hospitals within the UK. The purpose of wearing face coverings/masks is to reduce the spread of COVID 19 to others. Face coverings/ masks come in all shapes, sizes and materials and from personal experience I have noticed that some are eczema friendly and others sadly are not.
I have struggled with adapting to this new norm of today’s society. From generally just being uncomfortable and hot to struggling to breathe and not to mention steamed up glasses! Although I’ve had face coverings/masks since the start of lockdown in March I was not wearing them that much until mid-June when it became compulsory to wear one in hospitals where I work.
I struggled to breathe with the first brand of disposable face coverings/masks. By the 3rd day I noticed myself wheezing more and more and then ended up having a huge coughing fit by the 4th day. I then discovered another brand which was latex free. It then occurred to me that the reason why both my eczema and asthma was triggered. The first ones where made of latex and I have a latex allergy so basically I had an allergic reaction. As soon as I switched to the latex free ones I had no issues with rashes, however still had minor issues with breathing and steamed glasses.
Outside of work I use a cotton face covering/masks for shopping and the occasional use of public transport. Although annoying to wear, I find cottons masks much more comfortable.
So, what should we do when it comes to wearing face coverings/masks while suffering from eczema particularly on the face?
Wearing a face covering/mask can trigger eczema because factors such as sweat and bacteria develop under the covering/mask making that part of the face more moist and prone to becoming itchy. In addition if make up is also worn, this could add to irritation.
If you are using a fabric face coverings/masks which are re-useable make sure you wash them with warm water and soap after use or alternatively place in the washing machine along with other laundry. If you use a disposable face covering/mask one use them once only and dispose as soon as it becomes moist.
What are the best types of face covering mask to wear?
Cotton face coverings/masks are ideal to avoid irritation and potential flare ups. However bear in mind that this material is not protective enough in certain environments such as hospitals. Please click on this link for further information about face coverings in a hospital environment – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/face-masks-and-coverings-to-be-worn-by-all-nhs-hospital-staff-and-visitors
I hope this blog has given you some useful advice based on my own personal experiences with face coverings/masks. Below I have added some more links and videos with more information including general advice about face coverings including how to make your own face covering/masks.
Links of more useful tips about face coverings and eczema
1. Coronavirus face covering guidance | NHS
- Is your COVID-19 face mask triggering skin issues? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ehKJ2-QQy0
How to make your own face covering/masks
1. Step-by-step guide to making your own face mask
- How to make a cloth face covering
General advice about COVID 19 for eczema sufferers
- Advice on COVID 19 for people with eczema
- COVID 19 questions and answers