Is Your Protective Face Mask Causing Breakouts?
With the pandemic being what it is today, we’ve all had to adapt to wearing protective face masks daily. Skin problems can arise when we wear any sort of covering on our face, be it home-made cloth masks, the single use disposable type, or the more restrictive and tight fitting masks our frontline and essential workers have to wear for several hours every day. Wearing a mask has become a necessity to keep us and our loved ones safe from this devastating virus.
With a looser mask— like a cloth mask or a surgical mask, the main issues are dryness, itchiness, redness and breakouts. This is usually a result of a combination of factors; consider the extra heat generated from your breath under the mask, plus the sweat and the friction of the mask rubbing against your skin. There’s actually a term for the breakout that develops from this, it’s called acne mechanica. For those of us who need to wear tight fitting masks for long hours, add hives, pressure sores, and blisters to the mix.
Since it appears masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future, how can we better manage the effects of wearing masks for long periods?
Pre Mask Skin Prep:
A few adjustments may be required to help your skin successfully adapt to wearing a mask. Firstly, consider forgoing foundation and concealers if you’ll spend hours wearing a mask. The extra pressure from the mask may make these clog your pores and create a perfect environment for breakouts. If you do decide to still apply them, then you should not reuse your mask.
Cleanse: Use a gentle pH balanced cleanser to wash your face. This is a great time to make sure you are practicing the 60 sec rule (wash you face for at least 60 secs!) and pat dry, your face needs the TLC.
Tone: Follow up with a toner. A good toner will add moisture and help build your skin barrier which keeps bad stuff from getting in. We especially like our Brightening Toner because it also exfoliates, which gently removes dead skin cells before they can clog up your pores.
Moisturize: Keeping your skin moisturized remains important especially when wearing a mask. Your moisturizer can take the form of a barrier ointment or oil (our Shea oil is a great option) to prevent moisture loss, and for daytime be sure to add sunscreen.
Look for ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide in your skincare to keep your skin well hydrated and your moisture barrier intact.
Post Mask Care
If you are breaking out, add a product with a good anti acne ingredient to your routine. We love the sulfur in our Clay Mask and Overnight Spot Treatment. Here are recommended steps:
Cleanse: Repeat the thorough cleanse & tone from above.
Mask: Calm and soothe the redness, irritation and any breakouts with a clay mask or hydrate and relieve dryness with a hydrating mask. Consider alternating days with either type of mask.
Treat: This would be a good time to apply any serums or spot treatments.
Moisturize: the last step is to pamper and massage your face with a nourishing and deeply moisturizing oil or a rich face cream.
These steps will go a long way to ensure that your skin does not suffer under a mask.
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