Skin care during coronavirus days and PPE

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Jenny Liu, MD, Chief of Dermatology at Hennepin Healthcare, recently shared some skin tips with our healthcare staff who are on the front lines fighting COVID-19. Since then, not only are all staff wearing masks, but essential workers such as our wonderful grocery store clerks and the general public are wearing masks. These can take a toll on your face.

Long periods of tight masks will increase dryness, irritate preexisting sensitive skin, and cause acne.

Here are a few easy tips I recommend to care for your face:


Friction from masks along with the humidity of an enclosed environment leads to dry skin. To repair the skin barrier, stick to hydrating serums and moisturizers with active ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5. Apply twice daily in the morning and before bedtime.

If you have rosacea or sensitive skin, ingredients such as niacinamide help to reduce inflammation and redness.

Reapply sunscreen

Inevitably, your SPF will rub off. Don’t forget to reapply at the end of the day. My favorite product to use is a powder sunscreen for easy application and you don’t need to touch your face.

Minimize heavy makeup

Forget about heavy foundation or cover-up. They can clog pores and worsen acne. Instead, stick to tinted sunscreen and use concealers as needed. For those with acne-prone skin, stick to non-comedogenic (tends to block pores) products. And make sure to remove your makeup before you sleep.

Minimize physical exfoliation

Friction from masks can cause micro tears in the epidermis. Harsh exfoliation (shedding of dead skin cells) with scrubs can worsen this. Exfoliation is important for healthy skin, so stick to chemical ingredients like AHAs. Cleansers are a great option, but limit in-leave treatments to once weekly or a few times monthly to minimize skin irritation.

Lip service

Lips can often get chapped. A simple layer of petrolatum jelly (such as Vaseline®) throughout the day is the most effective and affordable way of keeping them hydrated. Lastly, avoid touching your face and thoroughly wash your hands before applying any products.

Jing (Jenny) Liu, MD is the Chief of Dermatology at Hennepin Healthcare

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