While wearing a face mask offers protection against COVID-19, it can wreak havoc with your skin. Experts say that wearers often complain of dry skin and acne even if they’ve never had skin issues before.
According to Vox, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised people to wear masks in public, 34 states have issued mask mandates that require residents to wear face coverings in certain settings.
Jessica Wu, a dermatologist from Los Angeles, told Vox that people with sensitive skin should avoid wearing masks made of synthetic materials like polyester or spandex as well as wool.
“I’ve seen people running around with these wool neck gaiters and wraps they wear skiing,” she said. “Don’t wear that.”
She recommended fabrics that are breathable such as cotton, bamboo or natural silk to reduce the risk of irritation. With warmer weather upon us, people who wear masks while exercising outdoors may find that the sweat trapped between their mask and face leads to skin breakouts.
Wu recommended washing your face with a gentle cleanser and soap before donning a mask and using an oil-free makeup primer or moisturizer to give your skin an extra layer of protection.
According to Medical Daily, noted beauty consultant Rachel C. Weingarten offered these tips on skin care in the age of COVID-19:
- Wash your mask with unscented soap or baby shampoo to reduce the risk of irritation.
- If your skin is oily, blot first before putting on the mask. If your skin is dry, use a gentle moisturizer.
- If you’re outdoors in the sun, bring a backup mask so that your mask doesn’t get soaked with sweat which can irritate your skin.
- If you want to wear makeup, wear a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation so you don’t stain the mask.
- Watch how you apply eye makeup. “I think my number one tip is don’t neglect your brows,” says Weingarten. “While eyebrow grooming has become incredibly popular the past few years, with mask wearing you want that polished and defined look without being overdone.” The expert says to keep eye makeup neutral and avoid applying mascara which can smear your mask.
Make masks part of your wardrobe, Weingarten suggests. “It’s the smart thing to do and the right thing to do. Choose colors that flatter your skin tone. Match your mask to your outfit or hobby. Also, avoid dangling or overlarge earrings since they can get tangled in your mask or hair.”
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