Extended pressure, moisture buildup, and chafing are the primary causes of facial skin disorders caused by masks, goggles, and shields. A bony protrusion with little soft tissue beneath the skin, the bridge of the nose is most commonly afflicted. The cheekbones, the forehead, and the backs of the ears are all common areas of the face that are affected by mask elastics.

Experts from around the world have compiled the following information on how to avoid and treat skin problems associated with personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Moisturize your skin on a regular basis.

Wash your face and neck with soap and water once you finish your shift. Apply a high-quality moisturizer after patting your face dry. Before putting on your personal protective equipment, make sure your skin is well moisturized. When you're getting ready to go to work, it's a good idea to moisturize your skin because it needs time to dry and absorb into your skin.

Make sure your hands are completely dry before putting on your gloves and then use appropriate hand cream. As soon as you remove your gloves, wash and moisturize your hands.

  • Make sure your mask is comfortable.

When a mask isn't placed on correctly or isn't properly fitted, it might lead to skin issues. When it comes to putting on your mask, take your time. Make sure it's not too loose or too tight, and that it doesn't chafe. Before you begin working with patients, make sure you have everything you need. When it comes to N95 face masks, you should only wear one that matches your face. Finally, if your mask becomes wet or filthy or becomes uncomfortable while you're working, replace it immediately.

  • Relieve stress on a consistent basis.

At the absolute least, remove your mask, goggles, or face shield every four hours if you can. Allowing regular blood flow for even a few minutes can help prevent long-term skin damage.

  • Apply a barrier cream to protect you more.

If you're going to be wearing your PPE for an extended period of time, consider using a barrier cream as an additional layer of protection. For those with underlying skin injury, such as when the redness doesn't go away within a few minutes after you remove your PPE and there are signs of bruising, this is very crucial.

  • Make use of dressings if there is a need to.

You can also apply dressings that protect and absorb moisture between your skin and places that are subject to friction or pressure. If your skin is already damaged, this may be essential.

Make sure that the planned dressings won't interfere with the PPE's effectiveness and are in accordance with your employer's routine before taking this step. If you're using it with a respirator mask, you'll need to get it re-fitted.

  • Keep your ears safe.

Fortunately, there are a few DIY techniques to keep the elastic loops of your mask from irritating or even ulcerating your ears. In most cases, this includes attaching elastic to buttons on caps or headbands. Keep an eye on the mask and make sure it doesn't get much tighter as a result of this.

  • Pay attention to your rashes.

Intertriginous dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that some health care workers who wear gowns all day develop. When sweat becomes caught in skin folds, it results in an itchy sensation on the skin.

Make careful to thoroughly dry off after taking a bath or shower to avoid developing this condition. Wear moisture-absorbing underwear to avoid chafing. Talcum powder or corn starch can also be used to assist keep the region dry.

  • Staying hydrated is important.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in the mornings and evenings. During the winter, your lips may become dry and chapped as a result of their exposure, parched skin becomes more prone to irritation and injury.


Take care of your skin by following the advice we've provided. Injured or broken skin should be reported to your supervisor and an incident form filled out. If the problem worsens, make an appointment with your doctor so he or she can prescribe the proper medication.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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