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Face Masks & Skin Care: How to Help Your Skin in a Pandemic

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Instead of our normal focus on pampering, rejuvenating face masks, let’s talk about the protective cloth coverings we’ve all become familiar with during the pandemic and how we can prevent skin issues from arising.

Though mask mandates are mostly lifting, mask-caused skin issues are likely to linger as long as cloth masks are worn on public transit, airplanes, and in busy areas. To combat the skin issues so many of us have been experiencing, we’ve drawn together some tips for you to share with your customers and cater your product lines to achieve happy skin.

These tips apply to anyone with sensitive skin or who is wearing a face covering of any sort. Much of this information is adapted from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).


Preventing Skin Issues While Wearing Face Masks

The Mask

1. Use a breathable fabric with a snug fit

The first step in preventing the usual mask-induced skin problems is choosing the right mask. Things to look for in a mask include:

  • Natural fabrics like cotton or linen on the layer that touches your skin (not synthetics like rayon etc.)
  • If available, KN95 or surgical-style masks work well
  • A comfortable fit that sits snugly without being too tight. It should follow the bridge of your nose and make contact under your chin.


2. Wash Your Cloth Masks to Help Prevent Skin Issues

If you use a cloth mask it’s important to wash it regularly. Masks are catching the liquid you exhale all day, and oils and dead skin from your face, while also filtering out pollutants from the environment. Ideally you would wash your cloth masks after every full day of use. Be sure to remove any filter inside if it needs special washing instructions.


3. Stick to Products that You Already Use & Avoid Sensitizing Ingredients

When it comes to what skin care products you use around and under your face mask, stick to gentle products your skin is used to. Now is not the time to try out a variety of new products since you run a greater risk of creating irritation.

Additionally, avoid products that are more likely to sensitize your skin. Think alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like Glycolic Acid, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like Salicylic Acid, things like retinol, or depending on your level of sensitivity you might avoid DMAE and Vitamin C-rich formulations.


Skin Care Routines for Mask Use in the Pandemic

1. Cleanse & Moisturize Under Your Mask

Like all good skin care routines, pandemic skin care should start with cleansing your face. To give your skin the best chance of staying happy and healthy with a face mask on, choose fragrance-free products and after you cleanse and rinse your face, gently pat it dry with a towel.

Moisturizing skin, particularly under your mask, is an important second step. There’s often a hesitation to apply a moisturizer when you’re exhaling into the mask, so choosing the right type of moisturizer is important.

  • And don’t forget to moisturize your lips! They can easily dry out so consider a balm to keep them happy, protected, and soft.


2. Wear Less Makeup

There has been a notable shift in makeup use during the pandemic, with a shift on eyes and brows and away from lip color. This is a trend you should follow with under-mask skin! Avoid heavy foundations and concealers to let skin breathe as much as possible during the day.


3. If possible, take a brief mask break

Depending on where you are, try and go somewhere safe (like outside) to take your mask off for a few minutes in routine intervals. Obviously this is not currently a possibility in enclosed busy places like planes.


We hope this has been useful! Do you have any favorite products or secret hacks to keep your skin soft and happy under a face mask? Let us know in the comments below!

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