As most of the world is required to cloth face masks when not in their homes, many have gone to great lengths to procure the new safety requirement. Whether disposable non-medical masks, or ones sewn by high fashion and affordable style brands alike, cloth face mask sales are booming — and people are rushing to purchase the new health requirement. One intended consequence of our new commitment to wearing face masks? Acne or as people have recently dubbed it, maskne. With a cloth covering over your face for most hours of the day in many cases, the irritation, condensation, and dirt is bound to get the better of your skin. But don't fret: there are tips for how to avoid acne while wearing a mask.
New York-based Dermatologist and founder of MMSkincare Dr. Ellen Marmur explains that nearly every cloth face mask has acne-producing potential, though there are ways to try to circumvent it. “Some of the more heavy duty masks are abrasive on the skin causing irritation from the rough texture," she says. "Softer masks can hold bacteria and can cause dryness. Reusable masks can have residue from laundry detergent that can also cause breakouts.”
Not only that, but breathing recycled air can irritate your skin. “Rebreathing the oral bacteria on to the skin can cause colonization of acne and atypical bacteria on the skin. Also, sweat and sebum will be increased due to long hours wearing masks.”
Ahead, find 4 things that you can do to keep your face clean and clear, even when you have to wear a face mask.
1. Shop for a cloth face mask
While disposable masks seem a solid option, remember that they're not designed for repeat use. Once worn, you shouldn’t keep them around to wear again for weeks — or months — on end. Instead, reach for another. If you’re looking for a more eco-conscious way to keep your face clean, however, opt for a washable, reusable, cloth face mask.
The good news is, some of your favorite ready-to-wear brands have quickly risen to the occasion, finding ways to create affordable cloth face masks to keep you safe during this pandemic.
2. Wash your face—and your mask!
It’s inevitable that dirt, oil, and grime will get stuck beneath your masks, regardless of how clean it is. Start by making sure your skin is clean and well-moisturized before you put your mask on, Marmur advises. And at night, "wash your masks with gentle soap and water every night." Also, be sure to step up your nightly facial routine. "Wash your face with a gentle cleanser before and after using a mask as bacteria and moisture can build while you’re wearing the mask and leads to acne,” says Marmur.
If you're looking for products, she suggests “Skinfix Barrier + Foaming Cleanser, along with a gentle serum that reduces oils and fights acne, the MMBalance Serum." It's pregnancy safe, cruelty and chemical-free, and "includes scientifically proven ingredients such as Canadian Willow Herb, Pre- and probiotics and Niacinamide.”
3. Take care of your skin even when you are mask-free
“Good skin starts with good skin,” Marmur reminds. “Take care of your skin while not wearing a mask with great products and sun protection.” Now's the perfect time to add a couple steps to your skincare ritual. "You can also use a spot treatment to calm any breakouts and use a face mask twice weekly," says Marmur.
Ahead, find reusable cloth face masks that you can wash daily in the hopes of keeping your face as acne-free as possible, even when you’re covering your face all day long.
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