At this point, we all know that cloth face coverings are both a courteous gesture and one proven way to help stop the spread. But, as helpful as they are in the fight against spreading COVID-19, they also happen to be not-so-wonderful for your skin.
With our faces covered, we're starting to see everything from breakouts to rashes caused by regular use of masks. They've brought out redness, bumps, and blemishes in places we've never had issues before. We can't be the only ones with breakouts around our ears, right?
Since wearing these masks is looking to be the new normal for the foreseeable future, our skin-care routines need to adjust to combat this new "maskne" that's messing with our complexions.
Here are some best practices and products to help minimize PPE-related breakouts and meltdowns.
Wash Your Mask...A Lot
Sweat, dirt, oil, pollution — your mask is holding on to a lot of pore-clogging and skin-irritating grossness. Respond accordingly by washing it regularly. We're talking every two or three days if you can manage. Be sure you are using a fragrance-free, allergy safe, non-irritating laundry detergent to help avoid any potential rashes or sensitivity. It's also a good idea to invest in masks that are lightweight, sweat-wicking, and anti-microbial to help keep acne-causing bacteria from building up and your face from being a hot, sweaty mess. Many yoga and exercise brands are now making masks made out of performance material — consider investing the $$$ in picking up a few, especially now as the temperatures start rising.
Clean Your Face
This one is a bit of a no-brainer but it bears saying: Wash your face every night and splash your face with water after removing your mask. Your mask is trapping all of that dirt and sweat and oil on your skin, so you need a thorough cleanse to rid your skin of those unwelcome hitchhikers. Environ's Sebu-Wash Gel Cleanser is a great pick for those with oily skin, while dry skin types can grab Reflekt's exfoliating (yet-non-drying) skin-balancing option.
Drop Some Acid
Dead skin and pore gunk build-up needs a good chemical exfoliation via beta-hydroxy or alpha-hydroxy acids. AHA's are water soluble and work on the surface of the skin to "un-glue" dead skin flakes, while BHA's are oil-soluble and can get into the pore to dislodge oil plugs. We like the double whammy of using a product with both to cover all your bases, like Lernberger Stafsing AHA/BHA Peel Gel Mask. If your skin is seriously blemish-prone, Skin Design London's On the Spot Acne Serum uses a mix of salicylic acid and anti-microbial peptides to clear pores and kill bacteria without irritating skin.
Hydrate Without Clogging
Avoid the heavy hydrators and opt for lightweight moisturizers with detoxifying ingredients. These will make sure your skin gets the moisture and hydration it needs without feeling heavy or greasy. Dr. Sturm's Clarifying Face Cream was made for this task: It's filled with skin-balancing and calming ingredients like zinc, purslane, and balloon vine, plus moisturizing sunflower seed oil.
Don't Forget To Use The Other Kind Of Face Mask
Remember when people said face mask and the first thing that came to mind was a beauty treatment? Well, those kind of masks are still necessary right now, too. Make sure you are giving your skin a little extra TLC with a treatment mask that deep cleans to really get in there and detoxify. Goldfaden's Facial Detox Mask is our top pick right now because it gets the job done with zinc oxide, sulfur, and camphor. It soothes as it power-washes your pores, resulting in smoother, clearer, brighter skin.
Follow these five easy steps and you'll see your skin clear up and calm the eff down. And, in case anyone hasn't already said it, thank you for wearing a mask and helping to protect others—we're grateful to everyone who practices this simple safety precaution.