Tips to Beat Skin Woes From Prolonged Wearing of Face Masks

The wearing of face masks is important to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, wearing a mask for long periods of time, especially in a humid climate, brings with it a rash of side effects to your skin.

Since there is no option to go without these face masks at the moment, here are some ways to keep your skin woes at bay and manage the breakouts!

i. Choose appropriate masks

Did you know the material of your face mask also affects your skin? Choose masks made of cotton or other soft, breathable materials as this will be in contact with your skin for 6-8 hours while you are out and about or working.

If you are using a reusable mask, make sure to wash and sanitise it before using it again to avoid putting all the dirt, sweat, and makeup/ product from your last wear back onto your clean skin.

ii. Wash your face

This sounds like common sense, but people often forget this.

Washing your face before and after wearing a mask will reduce the dirt accumulated on your skin and reduce the likelihood of breakouts. While we’re still on this topic, remember to wash your hands after getting home as well!

iii. Take breaks

Wearing a facial mask for hours is uncomfortable for both you and your skin. Limit your trips outside as much as possible and keep these trips short to avoid long periods of mask-wearing.

This should not come at the expense of your personal health and safety if you have to work, but if you can, lower your mask in a safe location to top up on your skin’s moisture levels with a hydrating face mist or moisturiser every few hours to limit the dryness and discomfort.

iv. Moisturise and hydrate

Moisturise AND hydrate to avoid your skin from drying out.

Make sure you add additional steps in your skincare routine (if you are typically a one-step kind of gal) to get all that additional moisture locked in!

Layer serums, essences, and face mists to up the moisture content in your skin and top off with a lightweight moisturiser to act as a barrier and prevent water from escaping your skin.

Dehydrated skin (not the same as dry skin!) is more prone to breakouts as the barrier function of the skin is affected.

v. Exfoliate

Frequent wearing of face masks leads to a build-up of dead skin cells around the jawline, which then leads to an increase of dirt and bacteria.

To reduce clogged pores, remember to exfoliate more often. Opting for gentle chemical exfoliants is a good way to do this safely without irritating or damaging sensitive skin.

vi. Avoid astringents

Astringents, toners, and exfoliators are often confused. Simply put, astringents are substances that constricts body tissues and were included in many toners years ago for their ‘drying’ effect to combat oily skin. We now know that astringents do not help oily/ acne-prone skin and in fact worsen the condition of acne-prone skin!

It may be tempting to reach for products that will dry out your skin in attempt to reduce your pimples, but these often do more harm than good as your skin’s barrier function is affected. Use acne patches for a gentler way to suck up all that gunk, and use spot treatments sparingly on small areas. These treatments must always be accompanied with a moisturiser.

vii. Reduce/ avoid makeup

One good benefit to wearing masks— you don’t have to apply makeup! Or if you can’t go without it, you can simply focus on eye makeup and let your skin breathe in the meantime.

Skipping makeup will help reduce all the ill effects caused by having to wear a face mask in the first place. Foundation and lipstick can stain the inside of your mask and facilitate the spread of dirt and bacteria. Let your skin breathe and heal!

viii. Don't skip the SPF

Even if half your face is covered by a mask, you shouldn’t skip SPF entirely. UV rays can still reach you indoors, so don’t skip sunscreen!

Going makeup-free doesn’t mean you can literally be ‘bare-faced’. Even your personal devices emit light that can damage skin, so make sure you continue to moisturise and use SPF.

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