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Masks are on for all public transport NZ


Try to embrace the mask, it’s really not that hard even to wear one all day.

Masks protect people near you from infections such as Covid-19.  Masks do not cause infections such as Staph but just like your knickers regularly washing or changing to keep them clean is the only way to go.  Masks sometimes aggravate acne and contribute to other facial rashes hence the 2020 rise of "maskne".

Prolonged mask wearing can cause some irritation for some wearers.  If you are prone to dry skin, use gentle cleansers and apply a moisturiser whenever possible.  If prone to acne, use lighter moisturisers and limited make-up under the area on your face covered by a mask. Heavier products combined with the moist air inside a mask can aggravate acne. 

Underlying skin problems may be aggravated by prolonged mask wearing. If you experience skin problems on your face, see a dermatologist. 

Wash and dry or gel your hands before putting on a mask.  This way you will not spread bugs from your hands to your face.  Avoid touching the mask once in place as this also transfers bugs. When learning to wear a mask it is common for people to fiddle with their masks, practice at home to fit it and leave it in place.  Choose a mask that fits well and fix it on reasonably firmly.  Higher on the nose is best, if it has a wire inner this is designed to mold over your upper nose – it holds the mask in position, reduces fogging of glasses and improves the fit.  If the mask falls to only partly cover the lower nose or falls to become a chin cover then something is wrong with the fit - just try again with clean hands!!

Reusable masks reduce waste but should be washed daily.  Cotton and silk are kinder to the skin than synthetics as the inner - against skin - layer.  For added effectiveness non-woven polypropylene is a good mask filter.  In NZ there is also the HELIX.iso filter.  Best evidence supports washing at 60 Celcius and with soap.  Dry outside in the sun (UV kills lots of infections) and wind unless you are pollen sensitive, hot dryers are also helpful to clean and many can be hot ironed which is another cleaning step.  Gentle lukewarm hand washing is not so effective which is a downside to silk masks which may otherwise be excellent.  If the silk mask is unable to be hot washed include an antibacterial and rinse well in fresh water. Please note there are downsides to cleaning a mask in a microwave – fire risk – and don’t try the rice cooker.  If only wearing for a very short time you can increase the time between washes but not if you stuff the mask in the same bag or pocket as your keys, coins and dog treats.  Remove the mask from your face with clean hands and carefully place in a clean bag.