How to avoid acne when wearing face masks

If you are wearing a face mask, you will need to take a little better care of your skin.   Wearing a mask every day can be bad for skin.   Anyone with acne-prone skin or who has regular acne breakouts will be suffering right now. 

Why are masks causing problems?

Due to the pressing on the face and rubbing of the mask against your skin; some people will have skin irritation, clogged pores, acne and rashes.  Then of course those of us who wear make-up will find their pores are a little more clogged just from the pressure of the masks. 

What is the best cleanser for most mask wearers?

I would recommend cleansing your face before you put on a mask and after you take it off to remove oil, sweat, bacteria and dead skin cells.   Cleansers will salicylic acid that will help to remove the oils and dead skin cells will help prevent clogged pores and acne. 

Is stress due to COVID-19 causing skin issues?

Stress can cause inflammation of the skin and can worsen skin conditions like acne, rosacea and dermatitis.  If you are prone to having these skin conditions, you will need to take extra care of your skin. 

Can I wear make-up whilst wearing a mask?

Please try not to wear make-up underneath a mask which will be pressing that make-up deep into the pores, clogging them.   If you want to wear some make-up then stick to eyebrow pencils/powder and a little mascara.   Or better still think about home tinting your eyebrows and eyelashes for more definition.  Check out Youtube channels for instructions.

NHS Doctors and Nurses

We have seen some shocking pictures of doctors and nurses showing their bruised and irritated faces as a result of wearing a face mask for long hours during this Coronavirus pandemic.  These face masks when properly worn are fitted, which creates a pressurised seal so no air is coming in and this increases the temperature and humidity around the nose and mouth area.  The constant pressure, the heat and sweat, all break down the structure of the skin, causing irritation, swelling, spots, trauma lines and discolouration.

Oily or acne-prone skin

Use a cleanser with salicylic acid to keep the oil and dead skin cells from clogging pores.  Wash using a face flannel, once in the morning, again when you arrive home and again before you go to bed.   Use only a water-based light moisturiser. If you get breakouts, do not put moisturiser on the active spots. 

Dry, Sensitive Skin

You could suffer with itchy, scaly rashes similar to eczema, due to the absorption and exposure to unfamiliar chemicals and microbes in the masks.  When you get home, remove your mask as soon as you can, cleanse your skin with a ph-balanced calming cleanser containing Rosehip seed oil and apply a cooling, soothing moisturiser.  

Inflamed Skin

If you already suffer from rosacea, eczema, psoriasis or any chronic inflammatory skin condition – you will be experiencing more flare-ups.  So if your skin becomes swollen from the pressure and tightness of the mask, cleanse as soon as you get home and apply a cold compress.  Make a cold compress by placing a washcloth in icy cold water then wring it out and lay it on your skin for 20 minutes.   Repeat this step several times in the evening.  

Bruised Skin?

Bruising of the face is expected after wearing a mask for long hours.  As soon as you arrive home, double cleanse your face and apply arnica cream.  Arnica helps reduce bruising and helps prevent it too.

How to protect your skin

  1.  Wear a clean mask whenever possible.  If a clean mask is not possible, spray the inside of the mask with alcohol after every use and let it dry before putting it back on.  Also, let your mask dry in the sun as UV light is a natural disinfectant. 
  2. Apply moisturiser before putting the mask on to create an extra barrier between your skin and the mask.
  3. Take off your face mask as soon as you get home and then take the time to double cleanse your skin – this will start to pay off quite quickly resulting in less stressed skin.

Always know that the benefits of wearing a mask far outweigh the risks!