How masks can lead to chapped, sore lips - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 6 November 2020

How masks can lead to chapped, sore lips


Dry cracked and sore lips.

These are some of the changes that Amanda Atieno has been grappling with since the beginning of the pandemic.

Amanda, 25, says that she has been struggling to understand why her lips are dry lately.

“One day I woke up and prepared to go to work. I applied my usual moisturiser on my lips but when I came back in the evening, my lips were cracking,” she tells the Star.

Amanda who works at a Salon in Kibera says that she started doubting her lip balm that had lasted one year.

“This is a moisturiser that I have been using for the longest time and I normally use it until it gets finished. After I had an episode, I looked at the lip balm and saw that it had not expired,” she says.

“But what I did not understand is why my lips were cracking so badly that I could not even eat properly.”

She notes that she decided to switch the product she was using to one that was recommended by a friend.

“I felt that it was not working. My lips would remain chapped for a day or two. So I had to peel the dead cells so that I felt some kind of relief which made it even worse,” she said.

“When I peeled it, it remained reddish and I could feel some pain. For two days I did not go to work and realised that the pain reduced and the lips were healing.”

What Amanda was not aware of was that wearing masks can leave your skin irritated.

And if that’s not enough, the need to wear a face mask every time you step out of the house just adds to the list of skin woes.

dermatologist in Oakland Maggie Kober says that face masks trap warm moisture that is produced when we exhale.

“This warm moist environment surrounding skin creates the perfect condition for naturally occurring yeast and bacteria to flourish and grow more abundant,” she told WellGood media.

“This overgrowth of yeast and bacteria can produce angular cheilitis, the cracking and sores at the corner of the mouth.”

Wearing a mask for longer periods can lead to a unique problem called mouth sores and even majorly dry out your lips.

“What? No way? Has it been this mask all along?” Amanda says as she points at her blue mask.

She tells the Star that she had to apply petroleum jelly to ensure that she was alright and nothing was the matter.

“I started applying the Vaseline and at least I felt some kind of relief,” she said. 

But Kenyan dermatologist Mawenzi Ramadhan says that the chapped lips could be as a result of an inborn disease but he notes that there has not been any linkage with wearing masks.

“If the patient is sure that it is the mask creating chapped and sore lips, then he or she just needs to reduce contact of the mask with the lips. This is the only way out because you cannot be walking without a mask,” he said.

Here are a few tips to avoid a chapped lips:

Wear a well fitted mask; this will stop you from unnecessarily touching and read-adjusting your mask.

Avoid masks that rub or feel too tight or too loose. Choose a good material or fabric that will not irritate the skin.

Protect your lips. Apply moisturiser in the morning and evening and then seal with Vaseline to protect and lock in moisture.

Avoid lip licking, this will only dry and dehydrate your lips more.

Avoid make up and lipstick when wearing a mask. No one will see your lips whilst the mask is on.

Take a frequent mask break, only when safe to do so away from people.

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