Today, the world is facing problems, including a pandemic, environmental catastrophes, and food insecurity, that are much bigger than a few pimples. But when you’re holding up inside, or only looking at yourself during Zoom meetings (everyone is doing it, trust us) acne breakouts can sometimes feel like a big deal.
Whether you’re an essential worker wearing a PPE face mask or someone sporting a bandanna to get your 10,000 steps in, your skin might need a little extra TLC these days.
Here’s our expert-approved guide to help prevent acne from face masks. Shoquor Wright, esthetician and StyleSeat Pro, gives us the scoop on how to keep your skin fresh and glowing.
Wash your face regularly with cleanser
Following a cleansing routine can help prep your face for whatever the day brings. “You definitely want to make sure that you are double cleansing your face in the morning and at night,” says Wright. “This will minimize the chances of oil, dirt, and sweat build-up, which can cause breakouts.”
Be mindful though, a face that’s been squished in a mask all day might be more sensitive than usual, so now is not necessarily the time for rough peels or exfoliation.
For a deeper cleansing that won’t wreck havoc on your face, try hydrating skincare masks once a week. The Ordinary Peeling Solution uses a powerful combination of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids to penetrate pores, unclog dirt and sweat, and gradually improve texture and tone. Cult-favorite Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask is travel-friendly and works wonders for those with dry skin thanks to nourishing ingredients such as niacinamide, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants.
Apply moisturizer before putting on a face mask
Stress and masks can dry out your skin so moisturizing is extra important right now. Try to use oil-free products to reduce build-up on your skin. “You want to use a moisturizer for your skin type that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides to reduce dryness. Avoid using comedogenic products. [They] will only aid in clogging your pores, which will also make you breakout,” says Wright
Hyaluronic acid can be found in a lot of moisturizers and cleansers or even as a stand-alone serum. Apply it to a clean face before putting on your face mask to lock in moisture and repel oil.
Some guides for healthcare workers suggest using a thick barrier cream like zinc to lubricate the areas where your mask touches your skin to prevent irritation, but check with your StyleSeat Pro before trying this.
Ditch heavy makeup or wearing foundation every day
Maskne is caused by facial hair follicles being irritated, or by the swampy trapped moisture from our mouths and noses. Adding foundation makeup to this equation is a recipe for more blocked pores, so skip that for the time being.
If you really want to experiment, try booking an appointment for eyelash extensions or eyebrow tinting. These beauty services allow you to still have fun with your look and feel put together without spending a lot of time each day. Plus, they’ll draw attention to your eyes and away from plain face masks.
Elevate your look when wearing a face mask with lash extensions.
Avoid using harsh skincare products
Wright explains, “If you know that most of the day you will be wearing a mask, you should avoid harsh products like retinol and benzoyl peroxide, as they are medicated and can be more irritable under a mask.”
Instead the skincare expert advises to take a “simple is safe” approach. “If you are breaking out from your mask, you might want to find a more simple regimen with gentle but effective ingredients,” he recommends.
Need help putting together a skincare routine that works for you? Book with a Pro in your neighborhood.
Toss disposable face masks and wash cloth masks frequently
Reusing a disposable face mask is a big no, according to Wright. “Always toss your disposable mask, as it carries bacteria and dirt. You wouldn’t want to place that back on clean skin.”
If you prefer to wear cotton or fabric masks, he advises washing them regularly and having a rotation of other face masks options as well.
Ready to switch up your face masks? Shop our top picks.
If you want face masks that are functional and fashionable, try Henry Mask.
If simple face masks that are “kind” to your skin matter most, you should consider Hmnkind.
If you want a workout-worthy face mask, go with Under Armour Sportsmask.
Take brief breaks from wearing your face mask
“If you are in a space where you have to wear a face mask, take 10 to 15 minute breaks to let your skin breathe and only wear it when needed,” says Wright. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you are abiding by workplace and social distancing guidelines.
Masks can be annoying, gross, or straight-up bummers but they are so important! Your skin will thank you for these skincare tips and the world thanks you for doing your part to promote a healthier tomorrow.