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18th October 2021

Yes, Maskne is a thing

International Prevention Week runs from 17-23 October. Abi Spence has some top tips for care workers including how to prevent Maskne.

There is little out there this year on International Prevention Week as I write.

Everyday Focus

The COVID-19 pandemic has signified stricter infection prevention control measures. With government campaigns and guidance updated regularly, a national/international week has turned into an everyday focus.

Protecting the vulnerable

What is important is that we do not become complacent, that we remember there is not one virus or bacterium out there, but many, and a considerable number of vulnerable people to protect.

Look After Yourself

As we remain vigilant and follow best practice, there is one area which has become the topic’s Cinderella – how we look after ourselves when wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). It can be hot, uncomfortable, and cause havoc with our skin. Here are my 6 tips for making life easier in PPE.

Hydrate: Before wearing PPE, make sure you have had a good drink of water. If we get personal, try and do this at least half an hour before you do, so that you don’t need to run to the loo which means doffing and donning again.

Use a good lip balm to stop your lips drying and the feeling of needing to touch them. Try a natural lip product which does not contain petroleum as this will sink into the lips, nourishing from the inside out.

Maskne is a thing - tiny spots can develop on the line where your mask has been. Some people really struggle with this. This can be due to ill-fitting masks or masks that have been adjusted/ touched often.

Speak to your manager if you think your mask does not fit properly (as this is not good for IPC). Get a colleague to observe whether you are touching your mask often as you may be unaware you are doing this.

To help prevent the above, make sure you are thoroughly washing your face in the morning and evening, cleansing in warm water, and closing the pores (to stop grease and grime entering) with a splash of cold. Moisturise with a higher water content moisturiser to keep the skin hydrated.

Keep up that hand washing! To combat cracking hands, use an oil-based emollient preferably without parabens. Slather it on overnight and put cotton gloves over your hands and cream to let the product soak in overnight.

As winter comes, ensure you moisturise even when your hands are not cracked. If you suspect dermatitis, you should speak to your manager to form a plan and use alternative gloves/soap at work.

Consider face yoga or facial massage. Did you know most of us hold our faces differently and speak differently when wearing a mask? You probably did. So, to combat aches in the jaw, give those muscles a workout.

Lastly, when you are home, after doing the right thing with IPC day in, day out to protect everyone, run yourself a bath and relax!

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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