If you were one of those who anticipated a quick two-week quarantine last March to end the spread of COVID-19, you are likely more than dismayed at the prospect of another summer under the strict precautions required of coronavirus. In 2020, almost no one was able to travel, to spend time on the beach or by the pool, to gather with friends and family and to participate in other quintessential summertime activities. Unfortunately, it seems that 2021 is likely to be similar, although not quite as restrictive to those who have been fully vaccinated. And mask-acne is something that many want to avoid if at all possible.
Even those who have been vaccinated still must mask up per local laws/necessary restrictions. Therefore, no one is truly safe from dreaded mask-acne.
Regardless of your vaccination status or your summertime plans, you will almost certainly be asked to wear a mask over this year’s summer months. Since summer temperatures tend to be high, mask-wearing could result in a more significant amount of acne — but that is no reason not to be safe and mask up. Here are a few tips for preventing mask-ne this time around, which could improve your summer outlook significantly:
Keep Your Face Clean and Well-hydrated
Regardless of your skin type, experts say you should wash your face at least once a day, ideally in the evening to remove any oil, makeup and dirt that has accumulated throughout the day. In COVID times, it might be wise to increase your daily washings to two: the regular one at night and a pre-mask wash, which will ensure there isn’t anything on the skin underneath your mask to cause irritation or clogged pores.
In the morning pre-mask, you should only need some warm water and a soft washcloth to gently wipe your face clean. Then, you should apply a number of hydrators to your clean skin, which will protect your skin against the effects of wearing a mask. A hydrating serum, like hyaluronic acid, and a quality moisturizer work well together, but you can select your products based on your unique complexion.
Want some refreshing DIY face masks to try? Check them out here on LifeAsMama.com
Don’t Wear Makeup Under Your Mask To Prevent Mask-Acne
On days when you are going to be wearing a mask for more than a few minutes at a time, you shouldn’t apply any type of makeup product to the areas covered by your mask. No one will see the makeup you apply there; the existing conditions under your mask will likely degrade makeup rapidly; and the compounds present in makeup, particularly the oils, are all but certain to cause breakouts.
The heat and humidity trapped under your mask causes your pores to open and your skin to sweat. What’s more, the mask itself rubs against your skin, causing irritation. All of this alone is enough to generate acne, so it should be clear that you just don’t need any makeup under your mask.
Give Your Skin a Break Every Few Hours
If you are in a line of work that requires wearing a mask for hours on end, you should take advantage of your break periods to remove the mask and allow your skin to breathe. At the very least, you should find about 15 minutes every four hours to remove your mask and expose your skin to clean air in an area where your risk of transmitting or contracting COVID is low, like an outdoor space or your car.
Wear the Right Mask for Your Face
The CDC and the WHO have all sorts of recommendations for masks to ensure that those wearing them (and those around mask-wearers) are appropriately protected from COVID’s spread. Included in these recommendations, but often overlooked, are helpful tips for choosing a mask that fits appropriately and reduces irritation and frustration. Some of these tips include choosing a mask that:
- fits snugly but comfortably. Your mask shouldn’t cling to your skin or fit so tight that it causes marks.
- has at least two layers of fabric. Bandanas and gaiters are not effective at trapping water droplets.
- is soft and breathable. Though some prefer harder materials like silicone or see-through plastic, soft, breathable materials like cotton work, too.
Most importantly, perhaps, is that you choose a mask that you feel confident in. You can find a range of girls face masks in fun colors and prints to coordinate with your outfits and keep you safe.
Wash Your Masks Regularly To Keep Mask-Acne At Bay
Just as dirty clothes can cause body breakouts, dirty masks can transfer dirt, grime and old face oils to your skin to result in acne. It is a good idea to wash your masks as often as you would wash your clothing. Most cloth masks can safely travel through the washer and dryer, but you can also handwash your masks with soap and hot water.
If your maskne is painful or particularly aggressive, you might talk to a dermatologist about treatment options. However, if you only suffer from a spot here or there, you should consider it a mark of bravery for keeping yourself and others safe during this trying time.