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Mask up and skin cleanse… Why skincare is important too

While masks are now part of everyday wardrobes, it’s essential to not forget about what is underneath. 
 Yes, skincare is still just as important as ever. 
 Masks have been deemed essential in fighting the spread of COVID-19, however prolonged wear can have effects on the skin, such as irritation and rashes.
 In an effort to help treat this and skin, Tracey Ferguson, an esthetician with Tri-Cities Skin and Cancer, provided some tips.
 “First of all, I think using a good cleanser, something gentle and nothing fragrant, would be good to start out with,” she said. 
 One brand Fergusen recommended was Cetaphil, which is known to be gentle and fragrance-free. 
 “Making sure your face is good and clean. Making sure your hands are good and clean when you’re touching your face is a top priority,” she said. 
 Alongside cleansing is moisturizing. 
 “The mask is obviously breaking down the barrier of your face because it’s constantly rubbing it and rubbing all the natural oils our skin produces, so you need to moisturize with a good moisturizer,” she said.
 Fergusen explained that moisturizers aid in replenishing the barrier rubbed off by masks. She also again urged that moisturizers, like cleansers, should remain gentle and fragrance-free. 
 In addition to skincare tips, Ferguson also had some advice on how to treat irritations brought on by masks. 
 “When we do get that irritation from the mask, due to humidity, sweat, our breath breathing, it does cause irritation, some redness, so at that point, you can add on some salicylic. Anything in salicylic, ingredient-wise over the counter, is good for acne-prone skin,” she explained.
 While acne and rashes are not pleasant by any means, popping zits is discouraged due to bacteria being underneath fingernails and risks of scarring.
 Mask care is also imperative to healthy skin. Fergusen explained that keeping cloth masks washed, regularly, in gentle, fragrance-free detergent is necessary for keeping skin protected. Likewise, medical masks need to be changed out and thrown away after use. 
 Ferguson urged that little makeup should be worn. When it is worn, washing it off as soon as you are home should be done. 
 Skincare is not set for any specific time of year. While humidity has caused irritation for masks during summer months, winter poses threats as well, such as by drying the skin out. Cleansing and moisturizing remain important. 
 “Make sure and visit your dermatologist. Try not to self-doctor at home. There are medications that can help,” she said. “The biggest thing is to keep your hands off your face, make sure your face is clean and moisturize. I think if we do that and keep our masks clean, it’ll help.”