So… Singapore basically went into ‘apocalypse’ mode with the recent news of the Ministry of Health upping the Coronavirus outbreak alert to Code Orange.
Supermarkets were being raided for daily commodities like rice and toilet paper, and Singaporeans saw a glorious return to form of one of their natural-born talents – queuing.
Queuing for hours under the merciless heat for sanitizers and disinfectants at Senoko (click here, if you’re still looking for one: no queues I promise), queuing for face masks at pharmacies, or queuing for a decade’s worth of groceries at the supermarkets, Singapore are QUEUING to protect themselves from this virus.
With face masks practically sold out islandwide, I believe you have one on as you are reading this. While it might keep out that virus, what are at least 8-10 hours of pent-up heat and breath condensation doing to your face
Read more: How a photofacial saved my skin
What’s the Mask Made Of?
There are varying levels of the surgical face mask you’re wearing on your face, for starters.
What most of us are using is a minimum, protection, Level 1 mask, often featuring ear loops to hold the mask in place.
While the coronavirus is considered ‘medium to high risk’, the masks our Guardians and Watsons make available to us are actually for low-risk situations, where there’s no fluid, spray or aerosol.
They are usually manufactured using non-woven fabrics made from plastics like polypropylene, made to filter and protect.
While the filtering and protecting from environmental pollutants and the virus is going on, the skin of the portion of your face that is covered by the mask is actually suffering.
The Need to Breathe
During your defense against the lethal virus, your skin is being deprived of its freedom to breathe freely, through its pores.
The face mask over the majority of your face means the air that you breathe out, one that contains also contains various forms of germs (garlic breath, anyone?), is getting recycled on your face through the pores for the duration you have the mask on.
Breathing hot air back to yourself is already uncomfortable, but what if you’re actually ruining your skin while you’re doing it?
Do take a minute to look at the wired edges of your face mask after a long day out. Are the edges a little bit grimy? That’s been on your face for hours.
When the Mask Comes Off
No prizes at all for guessing what all of the above does to your skin. The acne, the enlarged pores from the wrong kind of hydration and for those who work in the sun… that really bad tan line that will take forever to go away….imagine all of that.
Protection from the outbreak is necessary, but so is a little bit of self-care in terms of your complexion. No one needs to look bad at the expense of staying virus-free!
For starters, invest in a chemical-free, water-resistant sunblock that will work for you, outbreak or not. UV rays are known for their ability to age people, tan lines aside. The sunblock should be on before the mask is!
Your skin might be in dire need of some exfoliation, cleansing and proper moisturizing in light of this mask-on situation.
Spend a little bit of time with a gentle exfoliator that doesn’t further dry out the skin, and contains the essential nutrients and vitamins that your skin is starved for.
Before you go to bed and live to fight the outbreak another day, slap on some night cream that can help to fight acne bacteria and encourages skin cell renewal.
Or if you’re really into masks right now, slap on a different kind of face mask.. the kind that does not restrict your breathing, but the kind that helps to brighten and optimize your skin.
This outbreak is going to be all over one day… and you’re going to not want to look like a zombie – trust me.