Protect Your Face From Your Mask

Wearing a face mask is a must these days, and I never leave home without one. Now that we are getting into the groove of wearing one, some of you may notice that constantly wearing a mask can lead to skin congestion. 

If you are experiencing facial acne (mask + acne = MASKNE), or your Eczema or Rosacea is flaring, the following are some tips to make your skin happier during this time:

TIPS ON THE FIT OF YOUR FACE MASK

Find a mask that fits your face so that it is not to tight causing indentations, but also not to loose so that there are gaps, sliding around on your face causing friction. A metal wire allows you to mould a mask to your face is ideal. Remember to take breaks from your cover where possible and safe. Wash your face mask daily after every wash; I quickly hand wash it using hot water and a fragrance-free sensitive detergent since this material will be touching my face and hang it to dry overnight. My favourite is for this is Laundress Delicate Wash.  

PAY ATTENTION TO THE MATERIAL OF YOUR FACE MASK

Are you wearing a paper mask or a material made one? I, for one, have tried a paper mask, and it was quite scratchy and uncomfortable on my skin. It is of utmost importance that I use a face cover that is comfortable and allows my skin to breathe, especially when having to keep a face cover on for a 12 hour day.

A suitable material is essential when choosing the best face mask for your skin. Look for ones made of 100% cotton, considering it is more breathable and avoid synthetic fabrics that are more likely to irritate your skin. I love the selections at Liberty Masks.


SKINCARE STEPS TO TREAT YOUR “MASKNE”

Every person, and especially those who are prone to acne can experience skin reactions when wearing your mask. We all have sebum(oil) secretion on our face, and with increased temperatures, coupled with your hot breath and trapped oil and sweat, it is a recipe for inflamed skin. Some people with a more sensitive skin type may experience redness with dryness, and individuals with eczema or rosacea will almost definitely feel aggravated by prolonged mask-wearing. 

KEEP YOUR SKINCARE SIMPLE

If you are using a mild cleanser that works for your skin type, then keep to it and see how your skin adapts to wearing a mask. If your skin reacts over time, then consider simplifying your cleanser and skincare routine.  

If you have oily, acne-prone skin:

  • Use a face wash with salicylic acid twice a day(Salicylic acid is an excellent comedolytic, or pore-clearing ingredient because it exfoliates the surface of the skin and penetrates pores to remove sebum. Try Cerave SA Cleanser.
  • Avoid greasy skincare products instead, look for oil-free formulas.
  • Using an astringent or toner will help to pull oil out of your skin to assist with control in that department. 
  • Having a face covering on can aggravate your acne, so try wearing a pimple patch as a spot treatment to avoid irritation. Try Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots. Otherwise, if an acne patch does not work for your pimple, then consider using salicylic acid or anti-bacterial agents such as benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid as a spot treatment. A side note worth mentioning is if benzoyl peroxide transfers onto your mask, it can cause discolouring, so be cautious with this combo. Try Neutrogena Rapid Clear.
  • Look for products labelled non-comedogenic, formulated in a way that they are not likely to cause pore blockages and breakouts. 
  • Consider using a deep purifying mask once a week on the areas you need it most.  Try Caudalie Purifying Mask.

A recommendation suitable for all is to apply a moisturizer and sunscreen daily. An oil-free moisturizer(for oily skin), as well as zinc oxide, (found in most mineral sunscreens), will provide a barrier between the mask and your skin, preventing friction. Try Darphin Hydraskin Light and LaRoche Posay Light Fluid SPF 50.

Pat on a lightweight moisturizer to hydrate your skin and look for products with hyaluronic acid. Heat, sweat and friction from the mask rubbing on your skin can potentially cause irritation and possibly facial yeast overgrowth. Therefore the soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of hyaluronic acid moisturize the skin and fight these issues.
This Amazon cult-favourite hyaluronic acid serum has more than 10,000+ reviews, with reviewers noting how quickly their skin felt plumper and more hydrated. Try Cosmedica Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR MASK IRRITATES YOUR SKIN?

If you are experiencing mild redness and dryness due to wearing your mask, I recommend seeking a face mask brand with a softer fabric variety. You can also apply two layers of gauze on the inside of your mask where you are experiencing irritation. For maintenance be sure to apply a light moisturizer during the day and a heavier moisturizer at night to nourish your skin, avoiding the inflamed areas until they calm down. Lastly, consider using a low-strength topical steroid like hydrocortisone cream applying on inflamed areas.

CAN I WEAR MAKEUP UNDER MY MASK?

If you are wearing makeup under your mask, there is a chance your skin concern may worsen. Whether it be acne or dryness, I recommend if you cannot go without your makeup, then stick to a lightweight base with hydrating ingredients. This clean face oil contains jojoba seed, avocado and raspberry seed oils to soothe, hydrate and tone your complexion. Focus on playing up your eye makeup to avoid clogging your skin.  

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