9 WAYS TO PREVENT FACE-MASK SKIN PROBLEMS
Wearing a mask can be hard on your skin but gentle skin care can prevent it from causing skin problems.
We never dreamed that one day we’d all be told to wear masks daily to try and prevent the spread of a virus.
Some people hate them. Nobody loves them. Most people simply tolerate them. The one thing we can probably all agree on is that masks can also be hard on your skin, causing problems that range from acne and peeling skin to rashes and itchiness.
To help prevent skin problems from developing under your mask, dermatologists recommend these nine tips.
1. Cleanse and moisturize your face daily.
Gentle skin care can prevent skin problems. When washing your face, use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser. Dry skin is a common face-mask skin problem. Applying moisturizer adds a protective layer that can reduce dryness.
2. Apply moisturizer
After step one above, you want to apply moisturizer immediately afterwards. The problem is choosing the best one that will add to or preserve your skin’s natural moisture without adding skin-drying chemicals.
We recommend My Skin’s Friend or similar products that are organic and contain no alcohols or other chemicals.
You can prevent breakouts from your moisturizer by using a moisturizer formulated for your skin type. When selecting moisturizer, follow this guide:
- Oily skin (or when weather is hot, humid): Gel moisturizer
- Normal or combination skin: Lotion
- Dry to very dry skin: Cream
Any of My Skin's Friend lotions mentioned are made for all skin types. Apply moisturizer before and after wearing a mask. Moisturizer can prevent problems, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin.3. Protect your lips by applying an organic lib balm. Dry skin and chapped lips are common face-mask skin problems. You can prevent chapped lips by applying the balm to your lips:
- After washing your face
- Before you put on your mask
- Before bed
To prevent breakouts, take care to apply the balm only to your lips.
4. Skip the makeup when wearing a mask.
Beneath a mask, makeup is more likely to clog your pores and lead to breakouts. If makeup is necessary, use only products labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil free.” These kinds are less likely to clog pores.
5. Avoid trying new skin care products that can irritate your skin. Wearing a mask for even a short time can make your skin more sensitive. To reduce skin problems, avoid trying harsh products, such as a chemical peel, exfoliant, or retinoid for the first time. Retinoids can irritate your skin
TIP: “If you’ve been using a retinoid (or retinol), apply it at bedtime and don’t increase the amount that you apply.6. Use less of certain skin care products if your face becomes irritated. When you cover your face with a mask, some skin care products that you’ve used in the past may irritate your skin. If this happens, you might want to cut back on products that can irritate your skin, such as:
- Leave-on salicylic acid
- Retinoid you apply to your face
- A snug, but comfortable fit
- Soft, natural, and breathable fabric, such as cotton
- Fabric on the inside that feels soft if you have sensitive skin
- Cotton material inside if you have acne or oily skin
If you must wear a mask, wearing a mask that offers a snug, but comfortable fit. You want a snug fit across your nose, on the sides, and under your chin.
A snug, comfortable fit also reduces skin problems. If the mask feels too tight or slides around on your face, it can irritate your skin. You’re also more likely to adjust a poorly fitting mask. When you touch your mask, you can transfer germs to your mask and your face.
The fabric is also important. Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon. These are more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts.
Find masks with different types of ties and ear loops and wear a different type each day.
Take a 15-minute mask break every 4 hours. Health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic have found that this helps save their skin. Of course, only remove your mask when it’s safe to do so and after washing your hands.
Safe places to remove your mask include:
- Outdoors, when you can stay at least six feet away from people
- Inside your car when you’re alone
- At home
9. Wash your cloth masks. Many health care organizations now recommend that you wash a cloth mask after each use. Washing it also removes oils and skin cells that collect inside the mask, which could lead to a skin problem.You can wash a cloth mask in a washing machine or by hand. Both ways remove germs and other particles. Just be sure to:
- Follow the washing instructions on each mask.
- Wash the masks in hot water unless the instructions say otherwise.
- Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
After washing your mask, check its shape. If a mask no longer fits snugly (and comfortably), it is less protective.Continue the treatment plan that your dermatologist created for you. If you have a skin condition, such as acne or rosacea, it’s especially important to follow your treatment plan. This can help keep the condition under control.
What if you develop a face-mask skin problem
Life gets busy. Sometimes, it’s hard to care for your skin as planned. If a skin problem develops despite all you do to help prevent it, see your dermatologist. They’re trained to recognize and treat skin problems, even those caused by the very thing being used to protect your health.