During this pandemic, we are often reminded to use respiratory protection to limit the spread of the virus. However, what kind of care should you take when you're a regular person who wears an ordinary, non-medical face mask, for everyday protection? Whether you create your mask out of a bandana or buy a stylish mask from a designer, you're likely to discover that if you wear one for hours a day, you begin to chafe, develop rashes, and even acne.
The problem is that masks trap close to your skin the warm, moist air that you breathe out. Prolonged exposure to moisture and heat can cause the skin to ramp up sweat and oil production, both of which inflame the skin.
If you wear a face mask of any description for hours a day, here are some tips to help you keep your facial skin healthy.
Wash your face
Before you put on a mask, it's a good idea to wash your hands, and to then use your clean hands to wash your face thoroughly. A facial cleanser can work well because it is effective at leaving your skin oil-free. If you have oily skin to begin, a facial soap with purifying ingredients can help. You should also make time to wash your face after you remove the mask at the end of the day, to remove any buildup of sweat and oil. Washing your face helps lower the potential for clogged pores and flareups.
Use a light moisturizer
Once you wash your face and dry it ahead of putting on your mask, it's important to treat your skin with a lightweight moisturizer. Many people believe that they don't need a moisturizer if they have oily skin. This isn't correct. Moisturizer helps keep your skin barrier balanced and hydrated, and in the best condition possible.
Wear no makeup under the mask
If you usually wear makeup over your entire face, you might continue to put it on even when you wear a mask. The hot and humid conditions under the mask, however, can cause your skin to ramp up the production of fatty sebum. If you wear foundation, concealer, and other heavy formulations on the skin that you cover-up, it can lead to pore clogging and acne. In this case, wear makeup only at eye level and above; there should be no makeup on the parts of your face that your mask covers.
Pick a mask made of breathable organic cotton
Health authorities recommend that regular people wear cloth masks, and not surgical masks or N95 respiratory masks. Those specialized masks are needed for frontline medical workers. Whether you like to buy your masks or create them out of materials at home, you need to make sure that the mask is comfortable against your skin. Organic cotton is a breathable, eco-friendly fabric that doesn't irritate the skin. It's a good idea for most people.
Treat breakouts with gentle care
If you've been wearing face masks for a while and are experiencing some skin irritation, it can help to take care of it. Wash the masked area with water and a gentle cleanser. Then, dry it gently and help the skin heal with skin healing ointment that contains natural humectants like glycerin, aloe vera, honey, or seaweed. If you see actual acne - whiteheads or blackheads - applying apple cider vinegar acid or green tea can help.
Wearing a mask is an important way to protect yourself and others during the pandemic. It's also essential, however, to keep your skin in good shape because healthy skin can prevent infections. These tips will help you ensure that your skin looks good and stays healthy.