Face masks can irritate the skin by rubbing the skin, absorbs the skin’s natural oil, accumulate unwanted moisture from breathing and sweat, and clog pores. However, it is very necessary that we wear our masks.
The most common problems from face masks are:
- Raw, irritated skin
- Sore skin behind the ears
8 Tips to prevent these problems:
1. Cleanse and moisturize your face twice a day. When washing your face, use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser.
- Face Wash 101:
- Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol.
- Wet your face with lukewarm water and use your fingertips to apply cleanser. Using a washcloth, mesh sponge, or anything other than your fingertips can irritate your skin.
- Resist the temptation to scrub your skin because scrubbing irritates the skin.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
- Apply moisturizer if your skin is dry or itchy. Be gentle when applying any cream around your eyes so you do not pull too hard on this delicate skin.
- Limit washing to twice a day and after sweating. Wash your face once in the morning and once at night, as well as after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
2. Apply moisturizer before and after wearing a mask.
- Moisturizer can prevent problems, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. Use Cerave:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Dimethicone (which can also create a barrier that helps reduce irritated skin)
- You can prevent breakouts from your moisturizer by using a moisturizer formulated for your skin type. When selecting moisturizer, follow this guide:
- Oily skin (or when weather is hot, humid): Gel moisturizer
- Normal or combination skin: Lotion
- Dry to very dry skin: Cream
3. Protect your lips by applying petroleum jelly.
- Dry skin and chapped lips are common face-mask skin problems. You can prevent chapped lips by applying petroleum jelly to your lips.
4. Skip the makeup when wearing a mask.
- Beneath a mask, makeup is more likely to clog your pores and lead to breakouts. If makeup is necessary, use only products labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil free.”
5. Wear the right mask.
- To reduce skin problems, look for masks that offer the following:
- A snug, but comfortable fit.
- Soft, natural, and breathable fabric, such as cotton. Fabric on the inside that feels soft if you have sensitive skin. Cotton material inside if you have acne or oily skin.
- Wearing a mask that offers a snug, but comfortable fit helps to protect you and others. You want a snug fit across your nose, on the sides, and under your chin.
- A snug, comfortable fit also reduces skin problems. If the mask feels too tight or slides around on your face, it can irritate your skin. You’re also more likely to adjust a poorly fitting mask. When you touch your mask, you can transfer germs to your mask and your face.
- The fabric is also important. Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon. These are more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts.
6. Take a 15-minute mask break every 4 hours.
- Health care workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic have found that this helps save their skin. Of course, only remove your mask when it’s safe to do so and after washing your hands. Safe places to remove your mask include:
- Outdoors, when you can stay at least six feet away from people
- Inside your car when you’re alone
- At home
7. Wash your cloth masks.
- Many health care organizations now recommend that you wash a cloth mask after each use. Washing it also removes oils and skin cells that collect inside the mask, which could lead to a skin problem.
- You can wash a cloth mask in a washing machine or by hand. Both ways remove germs and other particles. Just be sure to:
- Follow the washing instructions on each mask.
- Wash the masks in hot water unless the instructions say otherwise.
- Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
- After washing your mask, check its shape. If a mask no longer fits snugly (and comfortably), it is less protective.
8. Protect your ears.
- Elastic strap loops can cause friction burns on the backs of your ears. If your skin is sensitive or if you’ll be wearing a mask for long periods of time, there are alternatives. You can attach the straps to buttons on a headband or to a clip behind your head.