Coronavirus Protection – How It Affects Our Skin
Coronavirus has now moved into more countries and doesn’t look like its going to stop anytime soon. Although there’s no need for panic, many of us are taking precautions to protect ourselves and others from infection. Since it’s likely you will also be following one of the below methods of protection we’re here to give you some tips to protect your skin.
Does Coronavirus affect the skin?
Firstly, Coronavirus does not affect your skin from what is understood so far. It is effectively a type of flu, so you’re not going to come out in a rash. You can learn more about the virus here.
Wash your Hands Frequently
The first piece of advice from the WHO is to wash your hands frequently. This is solid advice in preventing spread of the virus. However, please be careful with your often-sensitive hands. Frequent hand washing can cause dry skin and dermatitis. Aim to combat this by using a moisturiser after washing; we’ve also outlined some tips on treating dry skin for you.
Using Hand Sanitizer
No doubt you’re washing your hands with some kind of soap. Usually this is a soap that does not put too much stress on your skin. However, during a virus outbreak such as this, we are encouraged to use a hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers tend to be much stronger and can often contain alcohol. Alcohol and disinfectant is used to kill the germs but can negatively affect our skin moisture. We’ve already established how alcohol can cause dry skin when consumed, so just imagine the effect when applied to the skin directly.
Although this next piece of advice need not apply in the case of protection against coronavirus, it is worth keeping in mind. In children, overuse of a hand sanitizer can also run the risk of reducing their ability to resist bacteria. Your body needs to be confronted with bacteria in order to build its immunity. If hand sanitizer use is too frequent then the body will not be given opportunity to create the necessary anti-bodies needed to fight infection.
In all, we do suggest using a hand sanitizer after visiting a bathroom in public or touching surfaces; it is best to remain vigilant. Hand sanitizers are a valuable tool to fight against infection, just remember to bring a moisturiser to protect your skin from dryness, eczema and dermatitis.
Wearing a Protective mask
A controversial one but some are now choosing to wear a mask in public. The jury is still out on how protective these masks actually are but if you’re wearing one then here’s some tips to protect your skin.
Firstly, wearing a mask tight to the skin like that can cause dryness and red marks. This is a little like wearing a neck warmer over your mouth when in the cold or skiing. Your own breath can do some damage and prevent giving your skin the air it needs. Not only does this risk dryness but also, and you guessed it, spots. The dryness can cause an oil build up, from that oil build up comes spots. Equally, a mask tight to the face may cause contact dermatitis in those that suffer from the condition. Be careful and try to moisturise where possible.
At this stage it’s widely accepted that masks are unnecessary unless you’re at risk in a high risk zone. We suggest following CDC guidelines when considering a mask and remember to moisturise your skin if you’re wearing one.
In all, the most we can do during a time like this is remain vigilant. Wash your hands and try not to touch your mouth, nose and eyes if you have touched public surfaces. Since we’re going to be washing our hands more frequently, remember to moisturise more frequently too. All that hand sanitizer and alcohol applied directly to the skin will cause dryness so be prepared! If you’re noticing spots, red marks or rashes that you don’t usually see, give our AI skin image search a try or speak to one of our board-certified dermatologists today.
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Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, Alumni UC Berkeley. My PhD thesis is on Digital Health and I published 5 peer review scientific papers on teledermatology.