As we all strive to stay healthy and safe by wearing masks in our daily lives, we also face new skin concerns. A mask can cause skin irritation, redness, and acne - some of which is unavoidable, particularly with long-term use.
This new reality is a frustrating one - we’re right there with you. So we teamed up with our aesthetics team here at SkinSpirit to map out some ways to reduce the issues you see in your skin with regular mask wearing.
Why do masks cause skin irritation and acne?
Wearing a mask can lead to lack of oxygen and build up of moisture - a bad combination!
The mask blocks fresh air from reaching your face, which normally keeps skin dry and balanced. Then, moisture can build up, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and spread. Re-use can further lead to the spread of bacteria.
Additionally, masks trap heat, which can cause inflammation. It’s also possible that your skin can be sensitive to the material of the mask.
If your skin feels dry right now, that’s likely due to:
- A buildup of dead skin cells, which makes skin feel thick and dry. Exfoliation is key!
- Air conditioning or lifestyle changes that add to dryness (working out outside, etc)
- Stress, changes in daily routine, diet, and sleep also contribute.
How to care for your skin while wearing a mask
Head of Aesthetics, Karen Fernandez, has a few tips to help you combat mask-ne and keep your skin in the best shape possible during this time.
Before you put your mask on, make sure your skin is clean and protected. If there is a build up of oils, dead skin or debris on the skin, this will intensify the chance of your mask irritating your skin or causing problems.
In general, Karen recommends cleansing earlier in the day/evening than you would normally- giving the skin more time to be clean, happy and balanced. She also advises against wearing make-up under your mask, when possible, and to adjust your home care routine so that your products are less active, lighter in weight, and calming.
Then, wash your hands before touching your mask and use either a reusable mask that’s cleaned daily or a new, disposable one each day.
As you’re wearing your mask, avoid frequent touching and picking of the skin, as well as rubbing the skin with your mask (if you have an itch, for example).
Once you’re done with your mask for the day, cleanse your skin right away, and follow Karen’s suggestions on what to do if you’re noticing the below concerns.
If your skin is breaking out:
- Use a cleanser with salicylic acid, such as Glowbiotics Probiotic Acne Treatment Cleanser or SkinBetter’s Oxygen Infused (sign up to purchase SkinBetter products on our shopping portal here).
- Incorporate a toner after cleansing to help dry up active acne. ZO complexion pads are great for this.
- Use a lighter moisturizer that provides more hydration than lipid, such as SkinMedica’s Ultra Sheer or Revision Hydrating Serum.
- Don’t pick! It’s tempting but picking can lead to scarring. Spot treat your breakouts with acne products like Jan Marini BioClear and/or Duality.
- Mask with a detoxifying mask, like Revision’s Black Mask, up to three times per week.
- Make sure you are wearing a clean mask each day!
If your skin is dry or sensitized:
- Cleanse with a gentle cleanser (like SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser) as soon after wearing your mask for the day as possible
- Sooth skin with a hydrating balancing toner. We like SkinMedica Rejuvenation Toner for this.
- Apply calming moisturizer that helps deeply rebalance and heal. Sente Dermal Repair Cream is a great option.
- We recommend masking 2-3 x/week and choose one that is calming but exfoliating. If you're looking for a recommendation, Karen says “the Jan Marini Skin Zyme and Clean Zyme duo is truly a miracle."
- Use cool compresses and hydration to help soothe your skin. We recommend SkinCeuticals BioCellulose mask (try one for just $20 and see how you like it!)
Shop Karen’s Recommendations for Mask-ne at SkinSpirit
At SkinSpirit, we are happy to get you on the right skin care regimen to fight mask-ne and other issues you may be experiencing as you start to wear a mask more regularly. Shop Karen’s product recommendations and learn about the latest special offers here!