How to wear a surgical mask correctly and comfortably
Practical advice on how to wear a face mask correctly and comfortably from the doctors who wear them daily
However, the latest campaign led by a group of doctors has set up Masks4allUK. Councillor Dr Helen Davison, one of the founders, told The Telegraph that the group is 'advocating the use of cloth masks as a precautionary principle' with the group urging the public to buy or make their masks for public outings.
Countries such as Austria and Israel are adopting the compulsory use of masks, and some other European countries are recommending them as an insurance policy in trying to impede the spread of the virus.
Dr Sophie Shotter, an aesthetic doctor and medical director at Illuminate Skin Clinic, has returned to the NHS and is working on the frontline of the Covid-19 epidemic. Her face mask advice is this:
'Widespread mask use when in public can help to slow and stop the spread of coronavirus, but does not confer absolute protection. They are only effective when combined with regular, thorough hand-washing. For members of the non-medical community, my recommendation would be to use a homemade cloth mask. These are now widely available through websites like eBay and Etsy if you are not handy with a sewing machine, and can be washed between uses. I would ask members of the public not to buy medical masks, as it diverts resources from healthcare workers who need this grade of PPE.'
Sophie Shotter's tips for effective mask use:
• Wash your hands before putting the mask on
• Make sure the mask fits tightly, with no gaps between your face and the mask
• If you accidentally touch the mask while it is on, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards – assume that the front of the mask is contaminated with the virus
• When you take the mask off, wash your hands first and remove it from the back. Do not touch the front of the mask. I would recommend keeping eyes closed while removing the mask, and rewashing hands after removal
• Change your mask whenever you notice it has become damp. When we breathe out, the air is humidified and will make the mask progressively wetter. Once it is very wet, it will no longer work effectively
• Do not put masks on children under the age of two or people suffering from breathing problems
THE SKINCARE & MAKE-UP TO WEAR UNDER A MASK
Dr Eskander, the owner of Chelsea Dental Clinic, sports a mask daily and suggests, 'using a decent SPF, and developing a good skincare regime'. She uses Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream, saying, 'it's a rich and luxurious moisturiser that gives your skin a heavenly glow and creates the perfect base for your foundation. As a pre-makeup moisturiser that will plump your skin, add a glow, and create a smooth base for your make-up. I apply it once and make-up stays put even though I'm wearing a mask all day.'
Dr Shotter says, 'If you are only wearing a mask for a short period every day, it shouldn't cause any skin irritation. But for those wearing masks for extended periods, sensitivity can be a problem. My advice would be to use gentle and non-comedogenic products under the mask to minimise the risk of irritation and breakouts. Make-up should ideally be mineral or breathable, my favourite is Oxygenetix, as it allows the skin to "breathe". Anything that clogs pores will be problematic underneath the mask. The warm, moist environment under the mask is also a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so keep those pores as clear as possible.'
Our pick of the best pore-cleansing and non-comedogenic products that make the perfect base for mask-wearing and everyday skin-clearing too.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation, £45
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation, £45 – buy here
Heliocare 360° Colour Oil-Free Gel, £32
Heliocare 360° Color Gel Oil-Free, £32 – buy here
Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil, £55
Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil, £55 – buy here
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, £75
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, £75 – buy here
Paula’s Choice Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser, £22
Paula’s Choice Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser, £22 – buy here
La Mer The Brilliance Brightening Mask, £210
La Mer The Brilliance Brightening Mask, £210 – buy here