Masks and winter skin – 7 expert tips to protect your face and lips

PHOTO: iStock

Keeping your skin healthy during the winter season can be a bit of a challenge, even more so when you have to wear a face mask for extended periods of time.

The season takes the greatest toll on the nose and lips owing to the dry air, cooler weather and colds or flu causing redness and inflammation.

Cape Town-based dermatologist Dr Lauren Knight has shared several ways to protect the skin and lips when the cooler air, low humidity and colds or ‘flu can leave them feeling drier, rougher, less supple and more susceptible to damage.

Seven ways to protect your skin and lips this winter:

  1. Choose the right type of mask.

Light cotton or silk create less friction and are less likely to irritate the skin.

  1. Stay hydrated.

Increased humidity under the mask increases water loss, resulting in dry, cracked lips. And you may find you drink less frequently when you wear a mask.

Protect the lips with a lubricating barrier that helps lock in natural moisturisers. Apply regularly.

  1. Avoid licking your lips; when the saliva evaporates it takes the moisture out of the lips.
  2. Gently exfoliate weekly to increase cell turnover and eliminate dead skin without upsetting the balance of natural oils.
  3. Apply lip balm overnight when the body is focused on recovery and regeneration.
  4. Avoid matte lipsticks which can aggravate chapped lips.

If you’re unsure which lip products are best, Dr Knight says any moisturising balm can help protect the skin, and recommends one that contains petroleum jelly, castor oil, shea or cocoa butter and vitamin E.

‘And if you do happen to catch a cold or ‘flu, be gentle when wiping your nose.’

For more oral care advice, visit the Ivohealth blog (

Zululand Observer/Gugu Myeni