Post COVID hair and skin troubles: All your questions answered
When a person's body is under emotional or physical stress, it goes into survival mode. The body only focuses on the essential parts needed for survival. Hair, being a non-essential part of the body, doesn't get as much nutrition, and this leads to hair loss.
- Acne caused or multiplied by wearing masks comes under Maskne
- A non-comedogenic moisturizer should be selected to avoid pore-clogging
- An oil-free and water-based, gel moisturizer should be used by individuals with oily to combination skin
- Masks made of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon or rayon should be avoided as these materials can irritate the skin
New Delhi: The past year has brought anomalous changes to ones' life; the morbid waves of COVID and the quarantine which came alongside it. Although people have been extremely cautious about their surroundings, there are other issues that crop up. Skin is the uppermost layer of a person's body and is exposed to many things on a day-to-day basis. The modifications that the pandemic has produced enable a person to wear masks and go through stress-generating experiences.
Although hair fall has nothing to do with COVID symptoms, the physical and emotional stress that accompanies a case of COVID-19 could be an explanation. Telogen Effluvium (TE) is a reversible condition caused by stress that occurs after a few months of an initial trigger of stress. These triggers include emotional distress, major surgery, high fever, an acute illness (like COVID-19), or even stress-related to quarantining.
When a person's body is under emotional or physical stress, it goes into survival mode. The body only focuses on the essential parts needed for survival. Hair, being a non-essential part of the body, doesn't get as much nutrition, and this leads to hair loss. The best treatment for this state is the correction of the underlying cause, focusing on managing stress and leading a healthy lifestyle.
If one is a smoker, considering quitting the cigarette is a great step towards a healthy way of life. When a person experiences hair loss that: comes on suddenly, causes hair to fall out in clumps, leads to bald patches, and is accompanied by scalp itching or pain; they must consult a dermatologist and get the reason for their hair fall diagnosed.
Maskne is a common occurrence with COVID and it stays put after. Acne caused or multiplied by wearing masks comes under Maskne. There are various types of Maskne, the most common ones that appear are 'acne mechanica', caused by the friction and precipitation trapped underneath the mask, leading to pore clogging and bacterial growth resulting in pimples. Regular acne treatments help in this; however, acne creams dry out the skin and one must use a moisturizer to keep the skin barrier intact.
Rosacea is a skin issue that could flare-up with mask usage. Wearing a cotton mask underneath the regular mask is always advised to avoid unnecessary friction. Fragrance-free moisturisers and sunscreen are recommended to avoid irritation due to the presence of alcohol. For people with sensitive skin, the material of the mask is important, allergy towards the material can lead to dermatitis. While dermatologists prescribe a steroid cream to calm the inflammation, the cotton mask underneath the regular mask could be useful. In the case of Folliculitis where the mask disturbs facial hair follicles, antibiotic creams work well.
When taking care of these issues, the face should be washed thrice a day with lukewarm water after which the skin must be dried by patting the face. A non-comedogenic moisturizer should be selected to avoid pore-clogging. An oil-free and water-based, gel moisturizer should be used by individuals with oily to combination skin. Those with dry skin should use a cream moisturizer with ingredients such as ceramides.
People with normal skin can use a lotion-based moisturizer. Wearing sunscreen is the final step to complete morning skincare. It's necessary to choose sunscreens' carefully as masks provide only SPF 7 while Indian skin needs at least an SPF 30 in the daytime. Those with oily to combination skin could use a matte finish sunscreen that includes gel or silicone-based. A lotion-based sunscreen for normal skin works well, and for those with dry skin, moisturizing sunscreens that are again lotion or cream-based are advised.
Makeup products that are non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic must be preferred if avoiding makeup is not probable. It is significant to wash the mask with a gentle detergent or toss it if disposable after each use. Wearing a face mask that fits comfortably, but isn't too tight and has three layers of fabric is necessary; if the mask is not correct, touching the face more often to fix the mask leads to increased chances of contamination.
Masks made of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon or rayon should be avoided as these materials can irritate the skin. For those with sensitive skin, masks made of natural, soft fabric (like cotton) should be worn under a regular mask.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association reports that after every four hours of non-stop wearing a mask, a 15-minute break for the skin is needed while maintaining social distancing. Although it's imperative to wash hands before taking a mask break. A person can't avoid social contact entirely due to innumerable reasons, even though quarantine is the best way out of such a situation, here masks and sanitizers play a very crucial role to help flatten the curve and to stay protected. The best way to protect oneself and those around from COVID-19 is by keeping the mouth and nose covered.
If stress causes hair fall and skin issues, which in turn causes more stress, visit the dermatologist who could solve all the problems.