What is the importance of taking extra care of your skin during our current pandemic?
Wearing a protective face mask can keep bacteria and germs contained, which is extremely important while we are doing our best to keep this pandemic at bay.
The downside is that a mask stays enclosed around your face. You’re trapping your own breath and creating a warm, moist environment. Skin under a mask can become sweaty and damp from this moisture, which can make it susceptible to breakouts and irritation.
When combined with the South’s humid, hot temperatures in mid-August, wearing masks and other facial protection can cause irritation, chafing, breakouts and other skin issues. While a little acne is certainly worth it to keep yourself (and others) safe, there are easy ways to keep your skin protected too.
What are some skin care tips for keeping mask acne/“mask-ne” and these mask-related skin issues under control?
Try and pare down your daily skincare routine. Keep things simple:
- Thoroughly wash your hand and then your face with a gentle cleanser twice daily; morning, night and after heavy sweating or workouts.
- Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer. Even if your skin tends to be oily, you want to make sure you skin barrier is in the best shape possible: balanced and properly hydrated.
- Skip the makeup if possible. Wearing makeup under your mask can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Try to avoid heavy foundation. Save time too by just wearing a little mascara, eye shadow and liner.
- Steer clear of harsh scrubs, heavy-duty exfoliants, and thick creams, which can cause further irritation to already compromised skin.
- Always wear your daily sunscreen. It’s non-negotiable when it comes to any skincare regimen and protecting your skin from wrinkles and skin cancer.
- It is essential to continually clean your face coverings. You always want to rotate wearing a clean mask rather than reintroduce dirt, oil, and debris from a soiled mask to your skin surface. Using hot water and a fragrance-free detergent will do the trick to ensure cleanliness.
Do you have product suggestions for mask wearers?
CeraVe Foaming or Hydrating Skin Cleanser is a great option:
- It removes dirt and buildup from the skin without stripping it.
- It is formulated for sensitive skin.
- It is hydrating, which will help decrease oil production and ultimately help prevent breakouts.
A light, oil-free moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid is ideal:
- Think thin and not too thick.
- Choose one that it light, oil-free and hydrating.
- Revision Skincare’s Hydrating Serum or CeraVe’s Facial Lotion are both great choices.
Try using targeted application of spot treatment products:
- Choose one containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help eliminate breakouts around where your mask is worn/perioral area.
- Total Skin & Beauty carries a great Benzoyl Peroxide Gel for specific breakout areas.
If you’re experiencing swelling, itching, inflammation, and redness caused by masks, Hydrocortisone is a topical steroid that can provide healing and calming results:
- 1% cortisone creams can be purchased over-the-counter in most any drugstores.
- Apply on clean skin in the mornings and evenings — before and after wearing your mask.
For an all-around great daily facial sunscreen, I suggest EltaMD’s UV Clear, Broad-Spectrum SPF 46:
- It is lightweight, oil-free, and hydrating.
- It is perfect for protecting sensitive skin types prone to discoloration and breakouts associated with acne and rosacea.
- It is also available in a tinted version, which would be a great alternative for wearing facial makeup during this time.
Gene Stancut, MD practices dermatology medicine with Total Skin & Beauty Dermatology Center.