As life begins to return to normal, one new habit from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to stay with us well into the future— masks. While highly effective at preventing infection, many may have noticed that regular and extended mask-wearing can have some unintended consequences for skin like bruising, chafing, and even breakouts. Luckily, our team of skincare specialists at Dr. Guy Facial Plastic Surgery have curated a list of easy tips for keeping skin clear and comfortable below your mask.
Start with the Right Mask Fabric
According to the Centers for Disease Control, most non-essential persons can reduce their risk of infection by wearing cloth face coverings when out in public. However, not all cloth masks offer the same coverage or breathability.
We recommend choosing tightly woven cotton face masks over masks made from synthetic materials like polyester to protect your health and skin. The tight weaves not only block air droplets more effectively, but they also provide much-needed breathability, keeping skin dry and helping reduce irritation.
Focus on Fit
Mask fit is another essential factor to consider. Masks that are too small or that have straps that are too tight can rub against the skin, causing chafing and irritation. Make sure that your mask fits snugly yet comfortably. If you have to wear a mask for extended periods, ointment like Aquaphor or occlusive balms like shea butter can soothe the skin from irritation.
Keep it Clean
Even if you’re only wearing your mask for a quick run to the grocery store, they quickly become the perfect collector for sweat, oil, make-up, and other skin irritants. Washing your mask regularly in a fragrance-free, mild detergent can prevent gross build-up from irritating sensitive skin.
Practice Good Hygiene
Good skincare regimens are especially important as mask wearing becomes part of our day-to-day lives. To limit exposure to irritants, we recommend using a gentle facial cleanser before and after wearing your mask— this reduces the oils and debris transferred to your mask and reduces acne-inducing build-up. Another tip? Skip applying make-up to the skin beneath your mask. Not only is it likely to go unnoticed, but it can also clog pores— increasing the likelihood of an unwanted breakout.
The humid environment created by masks is the perfect breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. In the event you do discover some unsightly acne outbreaks, don’t panic-pop them or reach for the heavy-duty acne treatments. Instead, apply an ointment or cream containing salicylic acid. This trusted acne treatment is great for reducing inflammation while penetrating deep into clogged pores to destroy bacteria.
Get More Skincare Tips
While times may be different, our commitment to our patients’ health and wellbeing remains the same. From surgical consultation to tips for great skin at home, our double board-certified and fellowship-trained facial plastic surgeon is here to provide you with everything you need to put your best face forward. Learn more about Dr. Guy and his many surgical and non-surgical specialties by calling 832-956-1040 and scheduling a consultation today!