Aside from makeup smudging on face masks, one of the most frequently asked questions in online beauty groups these days since we started self-quarantine and social distancing is, how to treat skin problems from wearing a face mask. And the most common skin problem arising from wearing them is acne.
You see, a mask creates a moist, hot environment for your skin, as your breathing is being trapped. So it will also trap a build-up of sweat and sebum on the skin under the mask, which can lead to inflammation, rashes, and even acne breakouts.
There is a lot of advice out there about this topic right now, but this is something I personally been experiencing too. Some may advise using strong ingredients like AHA/Glycolic, while some do not. Personally, I think the focus should be hydrating with a little bit of chemical exfoliator. Below are my tips on how to treat (and even avoid) skin problems from wearing a face mask specifically your acne:
1. Wash your face before & after wearing a face mask
Since oil and sebum will be trapped, after you wash your hands, make sure to clean your face before wearing a mask and after you remove it as soon as you arrive home. Opt for foaming cleansers since it removes oil more effectively than oils or balms. For those with oilier skin like me, opt for cleansers with salicylic acid because they work to remove excess oil and dead cells from the surface of the skin, which will prevent potential flareups and clogged pores.
Wearing face masks also causes inflammation and rashes, so focusing on drying your acne can make the other skin problems worst. So I highly recommend using products that can both hydrate and exfoliate.
The By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water is a good exfoliator for all skin types, but if you have very dry skin, I recommend Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA which is not only a hydrating exfoliator but also moisturizing, seriously, the most moisturizing AHA toner I ever used. TAKE NOTE though, if you’re new to chemical exfoliators, I suggest starting with once or twice a week only and then after a month, start adding a day per week until your skin is used to it.
But if you prefer just a simple hydrating toner, I recommend the underrated Dr. Oracle 21;STAY A-Thera Toner. This toner calms inflamed acne and pumps skin with antioxidants to help skin heal faster. It is hydrating, moisturizing, and an anti-inflammatory.
3. Protect Your Skin Barrier
Yes, face masks trap oil and sebum but skin hydration and skin oil production are separate issues. It’s important to apply a lightweight moisturizer especially when you’re wearing a face mask, even if your skin tends to be oily and acne-prone. It’s because you have to protect your skin barrier. A face mask can cause friction on your face too and then using an exfoliator to treat the acne can make your skin barrier vulnerable. And a damaged skin barrier can make inflammation, rashes, and acne worst. So to combat this all, PROTECT YOUR SKIN BARRIER by using hydrating and moisturizing products with healing properties.
On my post about how to prevent makeup from smudging on your face mask, my first tip there is to skip foundation. Just focus on eye makeup instead. It’s because most foundations and concealers have pore-clogging ingredients that can be irritating under a face mask. And also the increased humidity under the mask could affect your skin’s sebum production and potentially lead to an increase in clogged pores and breakouts.
5. Opt For A Breathable Cotton Face Cover
The public should be wearing cloth face coverings, not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as those are critical supplies that must be reserved for frontline healthcare workers. And so there are now a lot of washable cloth face masks in the market, but make sure to opt for the most comfortable. Cotton is a breathable fabric and will, therefore, be relatively non-irritating for the skin. You can still put a filter pad in it or a coffee filter in between the fabric for added protection.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FAQ: Should I Skip Sunscreen Since I’m Wearing A Mask?
A: No. Do not skip sunscreen because it is the best anti-aging product out there. Plus, acne can cause dark spots, and sunscreen prevents it. But I suggest opting for non-greasy broad-spectrum sunscreens and avoid using tinted sunscreen for a while. I haven’t researched it yet but in my experience, they tend to cause irritation under the face mask.
FAQ: Why Are You Recommending Dr. Oracle & Krave Beauty A Lot?
A: If you notice, I have been recommending Dr. Oracle and Krave Beauty in this post a lot, I swear neither of those brands sponsored this post. They’re just the two brands I find really reliable when treating irritation and acne at the same time.