SKIN-DEEP SAFETY during Covid-19

12 June 2020

Article by: Wan Rezal Ismail, Corporate Communications
Facts approved by: Dr Bong Jan Ling, Consultant Dermatologist
  1. Is it harmful to wash your hands frequently?
    It can be harmful to wash your hands constantly. Each time you wash your hands with soap or sanitising them, you’re also washing away a layer of fat or grease on your skin. This can cause problems as your skin would be drier than normal.
  2. What can happen if I’m exposed to dry skin for too long?
    For those who have no skin conditions, you may develop irritant contact dermatitis due to frequent hand sanitising. Hand sanitisers have a 60% content of alcohol which will degrease one’s hands. It’s therefore important for you to make sure that your skin doesn’t get excessively dry.
  3. What about for those who face a skin condition like eczema? How are they affected?
    If you are managing a condition such as eczema, you’ll need to take extra care during this period as your skin is genetically drier than normal. If you don’t manage re-moisturising your hands after frequent hand washing and sanitising, you may deplete your skin’s lipid layers which will cause your skin to be drier than it already is. Consequently, that will trigger your eczema to flare up.
  4. What can we do to prevent the side effects of drier skin?
    Re-moisturising your skin is certainly an important step to add after washing your hand. There are a lot of different ways you can re-moisturise your skin accompanied by a lot of different products. Ointments can produce a longer lasting effect on your hands but people may find it sticky and uncomfortable. Should that be the case, you can go for lotions too which are smooth but the moisturising effects won’t last as long.

    The best advice is for you to find what suits you, your own personal preference over how intense you want your moisturising to be, how often you want to do it a day, and how long you want it to last for.
  5. Can face masks cause harm to your skin?
    Yes, wearing a mask generally means breathing is confined to that limited space within the face mask. The tighter the mask, the less circulation, and what this means is that the air that is breathed out is trapped warm air which will encourage other things to grow. Commonly, I’ve seen people develop Seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin that causes itchiness and flakiness, around the face. Adding to that, I’ve also seen people develop an excessive growth of yeast on the skin as well as acne formations.
  6. How can you prevent these conditions?
    For Seborrheic dermatitis and the growth of yeast, I would encourage removing your face mask whenever it is safe and possible to allow your face some circulation. Should your skin condition worsen into something serious, then proceed with treatment.

Tags: covid-19