This month, we’re talking to the everyday heroes on the frontline of the NHS about their roles in the COVID-19 pandemic, and their recent relationships with their skin. Today, we’re talking to Vicky Gough, Diagnostic Radiographer, about COVID-19 and the impact that wearing a mask has had on her skin.

Name: Vicky Gough

Job Title: Diagnostic Radiographer

Location: University Hospitals North Midland Trust, Staffordshire.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role?

I am currently a general radiographer which involves taking X-rays of patients, these range from X-rays of bones that may be fractured to chest X-rays of patients that are suffering from respiratory conditions, including COVID-19. 

How has your job changed due to the pandemic?

The job itself has not changed that much, we still X-ray the usual broken arms! However, my colleagues and I have been utilised in imaging patients with the virus, as changes to the chest that occur as a result of having COVID-19 can be visualised on a chest X-ray. This can often be the first port of call for people with symptoms, as well as to monitor the progression of the symptoms in patients that are deteriorating, including those that are in critical care.

Tell us about your skincare journey over the years.

Since I was about 13 I have had spots that I have always tried to get rid of. I would use all my pocket money and wages from part time jobs both on skincare and make up in an attempt to solve the problem or cover it up, but nothing ever really worked. As I’ve got older, the acne generally improved and I felt less conscious about it, however as soon as we began wearing masks at work for long periods of time my skin became irritated and the spots got redder and angrier, with more and more coming up daily.

How has your skin been affected by the pandemic?

I have never had perfect skin and have suffered with mild acne on and off for years, however it was fairly clear with the odd spot prior to the pandemic. 

The constant use of masks caused an acne flare up that became very sore and inflamed. Wearing both the surgical masks constantly and FFP3 masks when required definitely took its toll on my skin, especially at the start of the pandemic. I felt very down about it and was constantly searching for a miracle treatment to improve it, wasting a lot of time and money! 

Do you have any skincare tips you’d like to share with other frontline health workers?

Try Skin + Me! And simplify your routine, you don’t need 10 steps to your skincare routine for it to be effective! This is a huge revelation to me that has saved me money, space in my bathroom and, when we are eventually allowed to travel again, will mean more space in my suitcase!

What are your thoughts on Skin + Me so far?

I’m on my 5th month and still loving it. My latest formula is 0.012% Tretinoin, 1% Clindamycin and 4% Azelaic Acid. I have found that recently my skin has become slightly drier, but after a quick email to Skin + Me for some advice (I was advised to use moisturiser prior to my daily doser as a buffer) it has settled down. I will be continuing with Skin + Me for the foreseeable.

If you could give a Skin + Me subscription to anyone who would it be and why?

This is a hard question! I would love for a fellow healthcare worker that has been struggling with acne, whilst doing an amazing job looking after others to have the chance to try a subscription.