Treat your mask as you would your underwear – avoid 'mask lip' with these tips

FACE masks have become part of our daily lives. And I see lots of women coming to my clinic with “mask lip”.

From fungal infections to breakouts, dryness and cracking, our mouths have had a tough time. While normal skin has 16 or so layers, the skin on our lips has just three to five layers.

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Being more vulnerable, it needs special treatment. Firstly, treat your mask as you would your underwear – wash it after every single use.

Studies show there are millions of bacteria that thrive in the warm, moist conditions of masks that have been used all day.

Rightly so, there is a huge movement away from single-use masks to washable, reusable ones. But it is important to have a few, so you can rotate them and wash them regularly.

Secondly, it is worth looking at what your mask is made of. Synthetic fabrics tend to be harsher on the skin than natural ones.

I use bamboo viscose, a natural fibre and a recyclable material that lasts up to 50 washes. Silk is great if you want to be kind to your lips but it is not cheap.

If you are creative and have spare material at home, a needle and thread, try making your own to sit under any normal mask, using a regular mask as a template.

I see a lot of women double-masking with silk underneath their regular mask to be kind to their skin and lips.

Remember your lips when you think about your skincare regime.

Thirdly, remember your lips when you think about your skincare regime. Look out for ingredients such as golden jojoba oil, squalene and vitamin E. All are great to keep your lips hydrated.

Each pair is unique, like fingerprints

I have my own lip range, called ESHO, sold exclusively on QVC. It is designed to protect, heal and hydrate.

Since masks became commonplace, many women have ditched their lipstick. But a good primer will help keep lips in good condition and keep lipstick in place despite the mask.

When it comes to general lip health, it is important to protect your lips just like you would your skin from harmful rays.

Just like we should all be wearing an SPF on our faces, even when it is not bright sunshine, we should be using a proper SPF lip balm.

I am often asked what constitutes a healthy lip. And while all mouths are different, there are a few ways you can check your lip health in front of the mirror.

Firstly, when you press your finger on your lip and remove it, it should only take a few seconds for the colour to come back.

If there is a sudden change in the pattern or colour of the lips in a specific area, whether lighter or darker, talk to your GP.

This is the “capillary refill time” and shows the blood supply is healthy under the skin’s surface. Secondly, your lips should be warm to the touch when you are indoors. If they are cold, you might have circulation issues and if it is causing pain, do get it checked out.

Next, check the pigmentation. Whatever colour your lips are, they should be uniform. If there is a sudden change in the pattern or colour of the lips in a specific area, whether lighter or darker, talk to your GP.

Finally, look at the outside line of your lips. You shouldn’t have any cracks or any breaks in the lip line.

Our lips have more than a million different nerve endings and, like fingerprints, they are unique to each and every one of us.

So while they might stay hidden under masks for a little while yet, it is worth taking the time to pay them some proper lip service.

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