Because of COVID-19, many of us are in a position where it is mandatory to wear masks to work for 8 or more hours a day. Depending on the type of mask being worn, how long it is being worn, and the environment it is being worn in, masks can cause skin irritations like abrasions, cuts, redness, inflamed hyperpigmentation and what some are calling “maskne”. Here are two different ways masks can cause unwanted skin problems:
1. Masks can actually cause dryness. Some of you may experience dry patches and peeling due to the fabric absorbing the natural oils of the skin needed to maintain the natural moisture barrier.
2. Wearing masks consistently may also cause breakouts due to the environment created under the mask. Your breath causes the surface of the skin to become warm and moist (I know, we all hate that word). Unfortunately, this is the perfect environment for yeast and bacteria to clog the pores and infect the hair follicles, causing acne- this specific type of acne is called folliculitis.
While some of these frustrations are unavoidable (i.e. healthcare workers’ “hero wounds”), there are steps you can take and products you can use to help keep some irritations from becoming worse.
Keep Your Skin As Clean As Possible
The skin under your mask can become a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast to grow in that area underneath. Because of how warm it can get under the mask, they can trap sweat, dirt, and oil which can exacerbate issues such as acne and inflammation. In order to keep these things to a minimum, it is imperative to keep your skin clean as you can. In the morning, be sure to use a gentle cleanser on your skin that won't strip your skin of natural oils. If you already struggled with acne before having to wear a mask, opt for a cleanser that contains salicylic acid to combat your spots. Make sure to wash your face as soon as you get home to rid your skin of the dirt that has built up over the course of the day. Cetaphil, CeraVe and Neutragena are three brands that carry gentle and affordable cleansers that will effectively clean your skin. If you are looking for something a little more on the natural side, we carry four different cleansers made for four separate skin types. Click here to shop online, or stop in at any Oasis location to have an esthetician help you find the right cleanser for your specific skin type.
Tip: this is a great time to enjoy not wearing makeup. By avoiding face makeup, you are taking that extra step to help keep your pores from clogging. Take this opportunity to play up your eyes and brows ;)
Tone, Tone, Tone
Typically, I do not recommend toners to people unless they suffer from extremely oil skin or intense breakouts. Toners are one of those products that you can use if you like, but are not essential to a good skincare regimen. However, I do recommend a good one if you are wearing a mask all day. I myself have tried many different toners, but my favorite that I have used is our Oasis Pore Balancing toner. This toner contains:
Horsetail: promotes the healing of rashes and burns and has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties
Cornflower: soothes sensitive and irritated skin
Rose hips: helps skin maintain moisture and has anti-aging benefits
Green tea extract: refreshes and brightens the skin
Witch hazel: clears pores from dirt and oil with antibacterial properties and soothes sunburns