There’s been a lot to get used to throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With cases in America still on a steady rise, it’s more important than ever to follow CDC social distancing and face mask guidelines. While facial coverings are invaluable when it comes to protecting yourself and those around you from the coronavirus––they aren’t kind to your skin.
Over time, masks can commonly cause chafing, redness, excessive dryness, irritation, breakouts, and even bruising in rare cases. Below, we’ve compiled tips to help upkeep your skin’s health and happiness. The type of mask you wear and how you care for it (and your skin) goes a long way.
Stick with Cotton
Currently, the CDC recommends that all non-healthcare or front-line workers wear cloth face coverings in public or shared spaces. While N95 masks provide added safety, they are less reusable, and the CDC encourages people to avoid purchasing these to ensure they go to those who truly need them. Look for a tightly woven cotton mask.
Cotton is softer and less likely to irritate the skin or cause a rash than synthetic fabrics while still supplying a tightly woven barrier to keep viral particles from spreading. If you’re looking for extra protection, there are cotton options with internal pockets for replaceable filters. Pro Tip: Coffee filters or replacement HEPA vacuum filters are cost-effective and reusable.
Wash Your Mask & Face
Your mask should always be in direct contact with your skin for optimum protection. However, this also creates the perfect environment for a build-up of sweat, oil, bacteria, and dirt to accumulate. Washing your face with a gentle, all-natural, fragrance-free, and pH-balanced cleanser before and after you put on your mask will help prevent breakouts.
Cloth is absorbent, so if you choose to use a reusable mask, wash it every few days. Fabric softener and heavy detergents can often be too abrasive on sensitive facial skin, so consider handwashing your mask with an all-natural castile soap. Having a few masks to rotate from day to day helps keep bacteria or sweat from building up, too.
Try to Avoid Friction
Often, it’s not the mask per se that causes skin issues, but exposure to constant friction and irritation throughout the day. If your mask has rubbed your skin raw, protective and restorative salves can significantly reduce dryness or chafing. Vaseline and Aquaphor work in a pinch but can be heavy for people with oily skin. Chemist Confessions Balm Voyage or Shiffa Healing Balm, both of which utilize botanical ingredients like St. John’s wort to naturally soothe your skin and relieve inflammation.
If you’re required to wear an N95 mask, hydrocolloid bandages will be your new best friend. These are easily applied and encourage healing while protecting the face from new abrasions or micro-cuts caused by a tightly fit mask.
Managing Break Outs
Breathing into your mask, especially during the summer, leads to a build-up of heat and humidity–the ideal recipe for clogging pores, affecting sebum production, and causing breakouts. If you’ve noticed an increase in acne surrounding your chin, mouth, and nose, there are steps to be taken. First, try to minimize or altogether avoid putting on makeup under your mask (especially foundation or concealer). Now’s the time to embrace eye shadow.
While harsh acne scrubs and abrasive treatments can seem like the answer to a breakout, now’s the time to soothe your skin. Honey is an all-natural and highly effective antimicrobial agent that can stop a breakout in its tracks if carefully applied. Salicylic acid and acne patches both work well to penetrate deeply while reducing inflammation.
If you have any questions about skincare during the pandemic or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to give our St. George, UT, office a call today. We are following strict CDC guidelines in the office to ensure the safety of our clients and staff.
To learn more about our non-invasive skincare options like HydraFacials and Microneedling, check out all of our med-spa, Oasis Aesthetics’ offerings. If you’d like to schedule a virtual or in-person consultation, please give us a call at (435) 627-8150 or contact us online today.