In the era of COVID-19, masks are the name of the game. We all know they’re a powerful way to stop the virus living among us in its tracks. As much as you may appreciate that, though, these masks aren’t always besties with your skin.
Obviously, COVID-19 is a higher-priority than a few breakouts and some skin irritation. Settle in, though, because here’s the great news: you don’t have to choose between a healthy community and beautiful skin. With the right strategies and skin care steps, you can have your cake and eat it too.
All you have to do is take advantage of these skin-saving tips.
1. Refresh Your Mask
This tip is a two-for: it helps your skin and your COVID-19 prevention at the same time. Don’t over-wear your masks.
Make sure you know whether your masks are meant to be single-use masks (such as the paper-like surgical masks) or reusable masks (like most cloth masks). If your mask is for a single use, toss it out after you use it.
For reusable masks, make sure you launder them after every use. This helps to get rid of particles from this coronavirus but it also gets rid of the dead skin cells, sweat, dirt, and other particles that get onto your mask when you use it. If you put a dirty mask back onto your skin, you’re likely to break out.
2. Take a Break from Makeup
We all love to look our best, but if you put on makeup beneath your masks, you’re actually doing more harm than good. Not only will your makeup artistry be hidden, but it will be more likely to clog your pores and irritate your skin because it’ll be mixed in with the sweat and humidity beneath your mask.
Instead, limit your makeup to the upper half of your face which the world can still see above your mask.
3. Pretend You Have Sensitive Skin
People who have sensitive skin tend to live by certain rules to avoid skin irritation. They steer clear of products with fragrances and dyes, for example, because those products have a tendency to lead to inflammation.
During these mask-heavy times, we should all take a page from the sensitive skin playbook. With the warmth and humidity of your masks, your skin will be more prone to irritation in general. To keep it to a minimum, we should all take a step back from fragranced and dyed products and focus on products like fragrance-free moisturizers.
4. Stay Squeaky Clean
Washing your face is one of the most essential steps in any skin care routine, and it’s more important than ever when you’re wearing masks. Your face tends to sweat more beneath a mask, especially in these warmer months. That sweat is likely to clog your pores and lead to breakouts.
Wash your face every time you take off your mask and use a gentle cleanser. This will wash away the sweat and any other debris that was trapped under your mask and is putting your skin at risk for a breakout.
5. Soak Up the Hydration
On top of breakouts and irritation, your skin also tends to get drier when you wear a mask. The mask itself can be drying, but if you’re practicing good skin care and washing your face often, it will dry out your skin even more.
To protect your skin, make sure you’re using a moisturizer on a regular basis. Apply facial moisturizer after every time you wash your face. Don’t forget about your lips: they’ll get dry too, so use a hydrating lip balm or petroleum jelly to keep them soft and flake-free.
6. Switch Up Your Masks
We all get bored after wearing the same thing over and over, but if you’re wearing the same mask too often, your skin might go beyond bored. It can develop chafing and irritation along the edge of the mask.
To lighten your skin’s load, switch it up and use masks in a variety of materials and shapes. This way, your skin isn’t feeling the same friction day after day and it’s less likely to get inflamed.
7. Prioritize Your Care for Other Skin Conditions
Your masks could lead to skin irritation even if your skin was in perfect health before this pandemic hit. If you already had a history of skin conditions like acne, eczema, or rosacea, your skin is even more likely to have a flare-up.
During these mask-heavy times, be sure to follow your dermatologist’s instructions or keep up with your medications for any skin conditions you have. The more controlled your condition stays, the less likely it is to pop up for an unwelcome reappearance.
Protecting Your Skin and Your Health
Real talk: we’re living in scary times and all of our lives have changed in many ways. In the midst of it all, the last thing you need is the added discomfort of skin irritation from wearing your masks. Instead of taking risks by leaving your mask at home, follow the skin care tips above to give your skin the TLC it needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.