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Protecting and improving your skin during COVID

Have you seen some of the images of nurses and doctors after a full, and very long day after taking off their masks and protective eyewear? The skin has been chafed off, leaving red, crusty skin along the contact areas. It looks painful and irritated. It makes us appreciate all that they have been doing for us in a visually compelling way that we might not have thought of before.

I know that when I return to work, as will be the case for most people too, that protective masks and possibly eye protection will be the norm, at least until a vaccine has been established here in Canada for the coronavirus. I want to be able to protect my skin and I want others to know what they can do too, so that we can prevent or repair damage from our protective wear.

It is most important at this time, and in the foreseeable future to keep the skin extremely hydrated. Beyond drinking plenty of water, which is very important as well, there are some steps we can take to help prevent skin damage. To start, unless you are suffering from acne, I suggest washing at night-time only, as washing frequently will reduce the natural hydration of the skin. In the morning, apply a hydrating serum, such as SkinMedica Hydrating Serum or Skinceuticals H.A. Infusion followed by a light barrier cream. I suggest the Epidermal Repair for most skin types or the Dermal Repair for very dry skin. And even though we are wearing protection, getting to work still requires a good sunscreen for added protection.  For those concerned with pigment or aging, I suggest the CE Ferulic serum or SkinEssentials MD Texture Perfector as well in the morning, applied first, before all the other products.

During the daytime, we shouldn’t be touching our faces, but if the irritation is intense, there is a beautiful healing product, Zo Hydrating Cream that is absolutely the best. I suggest washing your hands first, removing the protective wear, wash hands again and apply a small dab of the Hydrating cream. It will instantly make the skin feel cooler, calmer and healthier. Don’t forget to wash hands again before applying your protective wear for the rest of the day.

At night time, be sure to wash with a less aggressive cleanser and be sure to remove all of the cleanser with a baby washcloth and warm water. There are two ways I will be doing my night routine, most likely alternating nights. The first night after washing my face, I will apply my serum again, either the HA Infusion again or the TNS Essential Serum, which not only helps collagen production but is full of vitamins to help my skin heal. I will finish off with one of the moisturizers listed earlier or the Triple Lipid Restore.

On alternate evenings I will wash and apply a serum again, but instead of applying a moisturizer, I will apply the Phyto Corrector Mask in a thin layer (it is a light green gel, almost transparent) and leave it on overnight. In the morning, instead of removing the residue with water, I will use a light toner, such as the Gentle toner from Zo before my day routine begins.

For those with oily skin, wearing a mask is not going to be the most fun thing in the world either, but keeping up with a good acne routine and adding the Epidermal Repair mornings and evenings will allow you to treat the acne while keeping the skin protected from the friction of the masks and goggles. And again, no matter the skin type, if you’re going to be outside or at a car window, a good sunscreen is still advised for healthy skin.

During this time and moving forward, a high percentage of the population will be choosing to protect themselves and their patients/clients by social distancing and wearing protective gear, at least for the foreseeable future. But, we don’t have to let the quality of our skin slide.

There is a light at the end of this scary tunnel, and we want everyone to look and feel their best for when they come out the other side.

~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre

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