Wearing face mask coverings are the new normal and it looks like it may be that way for a while. The fashion industry has already stepped in to make them more attractive for those of us that are fashion conscious (have you seen some of the designs out there?). However, even the most fashion-forward mask doesn’t always work well with our skin. Wearing face masks may help us slow the spread of the coronavirus but it presents a whole other set of challenges for us beauties and our skin. With prolonged wear of face masks, our skin is subject to irritation, dryness, breakouts and worsening acne which is now amusingly being referred to as “maskne”. Now that we’re in the middle of summer, the heat combined with the mask isn’t helping our skin either. But alas, there’s a way to stay safe, cute and have glowing skin (but not in the sweat-drenched kind of way) while wearing your face mask. Below we list our top 10 tips for taking care of your skin when wearing a face mask.
- Change your mask or wash it often. The most important thing you could ever do for your skin is to keep your mask clean. If you are using disposable masks, that means changing them regularly and resisting the temptation to wear them past their time of acceptable use. If you are wearing a fabric mask, it is important that you wash it regularly too. It is easy to wear a dirty cloth mask without realizing it because you may not physically see the dirt (especially if it is brightly colored), leading you to think that it is still clean. A dirty mask, whether of the disposable kind or the reusable kind, is a breeding ground for germs that only creates problems for your skin.
- Do not use scented laundry products. For many of us, we normally wouldn’t think twice about washing our clothes with a soap smelling like a sweet spring garden. However, although scented detergents may not normally irritate your skin, you may very well experience sensitivity on your face. If you experience any skin issues when wearing your face mask, consider using an unscented detergent and fabric softener to rule out any allergic reactions.
- Choose a breathable fabric or consider inserts. There are so many creative and trendy masks out there that it is easy to get carried away when buying. However, if you want your skin to behave, wear masks that are made from breathable materials such as cotton. Another alternative is to buy a mask that has room for inserts so you can still show your fashion personality without making your skin suffer.
- Wash your face often with a gentle cleanser. With a mask on your face all the time, sweat and bacteria can get trapped between your skin and the mask. You will need to wash your face more often than you normally would to keep your skin fresh. Choose a cleanser that is gentle, and doesn’t dry your face out, like our gel cleanser. It is made with ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile that calms and hydrates your skin while it cleanses.
- Use a soothing toner or hydrosol. A toner or hydrosol helps remove any last traces of dirt from your skin after you wash your face. But if you can’t wash your face throughout the day, a hydrosol can still provide a lot of benefit if used on its own. We recommend using a peppermint or lavender hydrosol to keep your skin cool and refreshed; and your pores clear of dirt and debris.
- Exfoliate more. Wearing a mask all the time allows impurities to build up on your skin over time. The constant friction of the fabric against your skin can also lead to excessive dryness. Your skin will no doubt need some extra exfoliation to stay smooth and soft. Use a clay-based powder mask like our purifying nutmeg mask to help draw out impurities. Since the powder in our mask is very fine, it will provide you with gentle exfoliation as well. Don’t forget to exfoliate your lips too. Your lips may dry out more often than before since they are covered up with the mask. Use a sugar-based lip scrub every couple of days to get rid of any dead skin on your lips.
- Wear an ointment. If you already suffer from dry skin, wearing a mask may only make it worse. Use an ointment to create a barrier between your skin and the mask to reduce friction and skin irritability. Be sure that your ointment does not decrease the effectiveness of your mask. You may want to limit use to the areas of your skin that make contact with the perimeter of your face mask.
- Skip makeup or focus on your eyes. If you can avoid makeup entirely, this is the best option to keep your skin clean and clear. It can also help to keep your mask clean. However, if you must wear makeup we recommend focusing on your eyes and any other areas above your mask. Go for more dramatic eyeliners and more defined brows to draw attention away from your mask. Your eye pencils are your best friends here. Create elaborate wing tips that extend past the eye or adapt the trend of using a colored eye pencil to draw a single line on your lids. Now is a perfect time to try out new eye and brow techniques.
- Moisturize your lips and skin regularly. Just like washing your face, you want to ensure that your skin stays moisturized behind the mask. Even if you typically have oily skin. This also includes your lips. Use a lightweight moisturizer that is dewy but offers lots of hydration for your skin. For your lips, keep them moisturized with a nourishing lip balm. Look for ingredients in your lip products like coconut oil or shea butter. These will provide deep moisturization for your lips rather than just sitting on top of it.
- Create a gentle acne routine-If you do find yourself breaking out, treat your skin very gently. Many acne solutions tend to be very irritating to the skin and can make your skin sensitive. Wearing a mask while treating acne can hinder your progress to clear skin if you are using too many harsh products. Look for gentler alternatives like our Cerasee soap to help keep breakouts at bay. Our Cerasee beauty bar is made with Momordica Charantia, an effective herb that is traditionally used by Caribbean women for breakouts.
Have you noticed a change in your skin since wearing face masks? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Zen and Ether Admin for Zen + Ether.