A new type of mask has entered conversations in the skincare world. No longer does a face mask just mean a skincare treatment or at-home self-care ritual. In this era of covid-19, face masks have become a part of daily life when venturing outside our homes.
With this norm unlikely to change anytime soon, it’s important to talk about ways to protect and care for skin while frequently wearing face coverings. Whether it is wearing PPE for 12 or more hours as a frontline worker, or just venturing out for a few hours for errands, daily skincare is now more important than ever.
Fabric from face coverings can cause friction against the skin, leading to severe irritation and even infection when the skin breaks. Additionally, sweat build-up on the skin can cause rashes and clogged pores.
A few simple steps can help mitigate the irritation caused by face coverings:
- Wash your face morning and night (p.s. you should already be doing this!) using lukewarm water and pat dry with a microfiber cloth. Patting is a less abrasive way to dry already sensitive skin, while a microfiber cloth is a gentle choice of fabric.
- Use a gentle cleanser. Ingredients that are particularly helpful for skin under stress include aloe and vitamin E.
- When your face is dry, apply two layers of a hydrating moisturizer to your skin creating a semi-thick layer to seep in. Apply moisturizer at least 30 minutes before putting the mask on to ensure skin is dry and the mask doesn’t slip.
- For an additional at-home treatment, soak a microfiber cloth in a cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of white vinegar. Wring out cloth and place on skin for up to 15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day. This is best done immediately after layering skin with moisturizer.
- Avoid makeup altogether when wearing a face covering, makeup with sweat and prolonged pressure on skin can cause severe rashes and irritation.
Aside from skincare, for those who don’t need PPE, washing reusable masks in a gentle detergent and avoiding strong scents can also help ease irritation.
As we continue in this new era, self-care is certainly important, and a great reason to practice consistent skincare, however, it is also vital to protecting the largest organ in our body - our skin.