Asian woman wearing face mask and face shield

As harmless as it may seem, wearing a mask can wreak havoc on your skin. It traps sweat, oil, and bacteria on the skin surface, sometimes longer than the recommended four hours. It makes your skin a fertile breeding ground for acne, as well as other issues like rashes and itching. Having a face mask skin care routine can keep these skin problems from developing under your face covering. Here are some points to remember.

Cleanse and Moisturize

You must be particularly gentle to the skin because of . According to the AAD, wearing face coverings can make the skin more sensitive. The publication reports one-third of frontline health workers have developed adverse skin conditions from wearing a mask. These issues include acne, rosacea, dermatitis, rashes, and pressure sores. Even if you’re not a frontliner, you can still develop these problems.

Practicing face mask skin care with gentle products is essential to keeping your skin healthy. A mild, fragrance-free cleanser can help calm your skin while removing dirt and oil. After cleansing, apply a layer of moisturizer (gel moisturizer if it’s humid) to protect your skin from irritation. The AAD recommends using moisturizers with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or dimethicone.

Try using POND'S Aloe Vera Jelly Cleanser and POND'S Aloe Vera Jelly Moisturizer, which come in a unique gel formula that intensely hydrates the skin without stickiness or oil. Both contain aloe vera, which is well known for its antibacterial properties and nourishing qualities. Use right before wearing a mask to prevent breakouts while protecting the skin from irritation.

Skip the Makeup

Sometimes you just need to apply a tinge of tint, some lip stain, or maybe cream blush to feel good underneath the mask. However, even just the thinnest layer of makeup could end up clogging your pores. Makeup products can contain oils that can get trapped in your skin along with dirt and bacteria, which can lead to breakouts.

If you must wear makeup, play up your eyes with mascara and a winged liner, then frame them with well-groomed eyebrows. Carry a tube of lipstick with you to swipe on the go if you must take your mask off. Avoid applying thick foundation or powder — you’ll cover your face anyway! It’s more important to wear sunscreen for an added layer of protection. 

If you really must wear makeup (ex. For taking an ID photo), choose products that are non-comedogenic and . Do not reuse masks that have makeup stains on them.

Less Is More

If you wear a mask every day, it’s not advisable to use a lot of skincare products or experiment with new ones. When it comes to face mask skin care, . You want to avoid making your skin even more prone to irritation. AAD recommends skipping chemical peels, exfoliants, or retinoids for the first time if you are wearing a mask right after. Cut back on potentially irritating products, such as leave-on acne treatments, retinoids, and perfumes.

Sanitize Your Hands

Sanitizing your hands is an essential part of face mask skin care. It turns out we touch our faces even more frequently when we’re wearing masks and face shields. We need to adjust them quite often, especially around the nose, ears, and chin where friction occurs. We tend to scratch our faces more often, too. According to the National Institutes of Health, mask-induced itching is real. It’s a common symptom that signals the beginning of a skin problem. Touching the face mask to scratch your face compromises its integrity and effectiveness.

Wear the Right Mask

The AAD recommends wearing a well-fitting mask that is snug, comfortable, and made of at least two layers of natural, breathable fabric. A snug fit can help reduce skin problems because it doesn't rub against your skin too much. You’re also more likely to touch a mask that is too tight or too loose.

Change your mask every four hours, as advised by the Center for Disease Control. Oh, and don’t forget about your face shield! Wipe the shield with alcohol after every use, making sure to clean the frames as well — dirty frames can cause pimples on the bridge of your nose and behind your ears.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary routines. Fortunately, face mask skin care isn’t so complicated. If anything, it’s more about being a minimalist when it comes to products and makeup and being a stickler for face and hand hygiene.