With a global pandemic currently ongoing, staying home, washing your hands frequently and wearing a face mask are some of the best ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from coronavirus. However, frequent and prolonged use of face masks can wreak havoc on your skin, resulting in breakouts and irritation. If you have been struggling with breakouts caused by frequent mask-wearing, here are a few ways you can treat and prevent them:
Pare Down Your Skincare Routine
If you frequently wear the looser masks like cloth or surgical masks, you could experience mild skin irritation like itching, dryness and redness. This is because of the extra heat, moisture from your breath, and friction caused by the mask rubbing against your skin. Given all the extra pressure and friction on your skin, it would be a good idea to strip down your skincare routine to the bare essentials to prevent acne and breakouts. Invest in high quality organic beauty products to cleanse, moisturize and protect your skin.
You should always cleanse your skin immediately after removing your mask, both to prevent acne and also to sanitize your skin after being out and about. You can cleanse your skin up to twice a day, but cleansing more frequently can strip your skin dry and irritate it. Choose a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser without any harsh scrubby bits. If you are dealing with bad breakouts, you can use a facial wash that contains salicylic acid to combat your blemishes and clean your pores. Follow up with a lightweight antioxidant moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
Keeping your skin well-hydrated will help prevent dryness that is associated with frequent mask use. After letting your skin absorb your moisturizer for a few minutes, apply a lightweight sunscreen to keep your skin protected from UVA and UVB rays. Avoid wearing heavy makeup or foundation when wearing a mask. Your face will be half covered anyway, and piling on too much product could lead to clogged pores and bad breakouts or painful zits.
If you already have bad acne or breakouts, you will need to treat it with an effective anti-acne product. One of the best anti-acne treatments is benzoyl peroxide. It is a very effective yet highly irritating product, so try using a lower concentration like 2.5% or 5% and only apply on affected areas instead of all over your face. If you have very sensitive skin, you can apply it, let it sit on your skin for about 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse it off to minimize irritation and dryness.
Salicylic acid, azelaic acid, sulfure and retinoids are other very effective ingredients when fighting against acne and breakouts.
Repair Your Skin Overnight
If at the end of the day, your skin feels very sensitive, raw or tender to the touch, you might be dealing with a compromised skin barrier. Repair your skin by using a heavier moisturizer at night before you go to bed and leaving it on overnight. Notable ingredients to look for include ceramides, glycerin, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. These are great at repairing and restoring your skin, and building up your natural skin barrier so it can protect itself.
Thick occlusives like Vaseline or Aquaphor can also help to heal your skin. They basically at like a protective seal over the surface of your skin so it can restore and rejuvenate itself as you sleep.
Breakouts caused by wearing face masks can be annoying and uncomfortable, but fortunately they are relatively easy to treat and prevent. At the end of the day, it is better to be safe than sorry, so don’t skip your face mask when you go out in an effort to avoid breakouts.