As things begin to open up a bit and some of us venture back out into the world, there is a lot of uncertainty about exactly how things will go, but one thing we know for sure: masks are the new norm.
The mask is essential to protect yourself and those around you. Unfortunately, it’s not the best thing for your skin. A protective mask may rub against skin, creating irritation, and disrupting the skin barrier. Additionally, the mask creates humidity that can increase sebum production. That excess oil then gets trapped along with sweat and dirt under the mask.
Here’s how to avoid irritation and breakouts that could go along with wearing a protective mask.
Choose your fabric wisely
There’s no reason a mask can’t be fashionable, but pay attention to the fabric when making your choice.
For the inner layer that sits closest to your skin, avoid anything that is not breathable, or that has a potentially irritating rough texture. A soft, breathable cotton is your best choice.
For the outer layer, a heavier layer of fabric is preferable to provide protection from microbes.
If you’re making your own mask, the CDC recommends adding a filtering layer (like a coffee filter) between the outer and inner pieces of fabric.
Keep your mask clean
Keep multiple masks so you can use a fresh one every time you go out, and wash your reusable masks regularly to remove pore-clogging dirt, sweat, oil. Use fragrance-free detergent and dryer sheets to help avoid irritation.
Cleanse your face before and after
A mask traps dirt, oil, and sweat, so starting with clean skin will help to reduce pore-clogging elements. A cleanser with antimicrobial properties like a mandelic wash or a gentle cleanser. I have 3 great cleansers that will do double-duty right now, killing acne bacteria and virus germs.
Keep up your skincare regimen
With dirt and oil getting trapped under a sweaty mask, cellular debris will build up more quickly. Active products like mandelic serum or BP will help loosen and lift dead skin cells, dirt, and oil.
Keep up your entire skin regimen including SPF. You may not need it under the mask, but your eyes, where the skin is thinnest and most vulnerable to photodamage, are still exposed. So are your ears and neck.
Skip the makeup
The humidity created by the mask can increase sebum production, so by wearing makeup, you’re increasing your chances of sparking a flare-up. Since your skin will be covered anyway, it should be easy to skip the foundation. Concentrate on your eyes instead.
Give skin a detox by using a mask a couple of times a week. I have two great masks, one for oily skin and another for dry skin.
Soothe irritated skin
If friction from the mask is causing redness, rashness, or irritation, look for gentle, anti-inflammatory ingredients to promote a resilient skin barrier. I like vasoline or Aquaphor. Both provide slip for the skin and the mask will not rub as much.
For hydrating oily skin, use my Balancing Cream, Ceramide Cream or Hydrogel. All are fast-absorbing, oil-free formula that helps regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation, and speed healing.
Get professional advice
If you have any questions about what products to use, book an Advanced Skin consultation using the red button on the page called the BookNow button.