Face masks are a critical way for all of us to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As much as we all know and are willing to make that sacrifice, the fact is that face masks aren’t always skin-friendly. The friction and humidity of masks can lead to issues like dryness, acne breakouts, irritation, and more.
Fortunately, you don’t need to choose between being responsible and keeping your skin comfortable. There are plenty of ways to minimize the skin-related effects of face masks, and our skin care experts at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta have the details.
Maintain the Basics
Everyone has their own skincare routine that works for them, but there are two essential steps we recommend for everyone: cleansing your skin and applying moisturizer. This should be your routine twice per day, and it is even more important to maintain that routine on days when you wear a mask.
Especially during these hot months, you are likely to sweat under your mask. Between the sweat and your normally shedding dead skin cells, the combination can clog your pores. Regular cleansing helps to keep that at bay. The moisturizer will minimize the dry skin that often comes from face masks too.
Skip the Makeup
Your skin cells and sweat under your mask already have a tendency to irritate your skin and cause acne breakouts. If you wear makeup under the mask, your risk is even higher. No one will see the lower part of your face anyway, so skip your foundation or powder and focus on comfort.
For many people, masks make their skin more sensitive overall, even if their skin does not normally get irritated. To protect your skin from irritation and inflammation, take a break from any potentially harsh skin care products, like products with fragrances. This is also not the time to try adding new products to your routine because any newcomer has the potential to cause a bad reaction.
Protect Your Lips
The lips tend to be overlooked often in skin care, but you want them to stay comfortable under your mask too. Masks frequently lead to dry lips. To prevent this, apply petroleum jelly to moisturize your lips. Ideally, apply it every time you put on your masks, after each time you wash your face, and before bed.
Keep Up With the Laundry
When you re-wear a mask without washing it, you increase your risk for skin irritation. You are taking all the sweat, dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria from the previous wear and putting it back onto your skin. For disposable masks, be sure to use them one time only. For reusable masks, wash them after every use.
Choose the Right Mask
The mask you wear will make a difference in your skin’s reaction. Cotton masks are gentler on your skin than masks with synthetic fabrics. Make sure your mask fits correctly too. It should be snug: not too tight or too loose. You don’t want it to rub excessively but you don’t want it to let in dirt either.
As dermatologists and specialized skin care professionals, our focus is on your skin. That doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your responsibility for COVID-19 prevention to keep your skin healthy, though. With the tips above, you can protect your skin and your community’s health at the same time. For help with your mask-related skin irritation or other skin concerns, call Dermatology Associates of Atlanta today. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more skin care tips.