Skincare tips & advice
While wearing a protective mask is critical to help stop the spread of Covid-19,1 their prolonged use can cause an increase in skin problems.2
Friction from an ill-fitting mask can impact the skin barrier—your outer-most layer of skin containing ceramides. Over time, that friction can damage the skin barrier, resulting in moisture loss, dryness, or cracking. Fortunately, choosing gentle skincare products with ceramides and taking a few precautionary steps can help moisturize the skin.
As we continue to wear masks in our daily lives, it's important to choose skincare products that will not further stress the skin throughout the pandemic and beyond. In general, look for products that:
How Face Masks Can Lead to Skin Concerns
When you wear a mask, oil and skin cells that collect inside the mask can lead to skin problems3. In addition, the friction involved with wearing a face mask and the emotional stress related to Covid-19 can trigger or exacerbate existing skin concerns, like face acne and sensitivity.4
Please note: Face masks play a vital role in reducing the spread of Covid-19. If you are experiencing mask-related concerns, please continue to follow CDC guidelines for mask use, wash your mask daily and follow our tips below for caring for your skin. As always, contact your dermatologist for additional assistance as needed.
How to Help Prevent or Minimize Mask-Related Skin Concerns
Wash your face before and after wearing a mask.
Cleansing your face with lukewarm water and a gentle, foaming face wash before putting on a mask in the morning can help remove the debris, oil and sweat accumulated overnight. Cleansing again in the evening removes what accumulated under your mask throughout the day.
If you wear makeup, consider starting your evening skincare regimen by using micellar water as a makeup remover; it's gentle, non-comedogenic and can effectively remove makeup without disrupting the skin's protective barrier. Afterward, or as a first step if you're not wearing makeup, use a cleansing face wash that is non-comedogenic, gentle on skin, and fragrance-free.
Moisturize properly in the morning and evening.
If you are worried about mask-related skin concerns, like dryness, apply a lightweight, oil-free, non-greasy and non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) facial moisturizer after cleansing. It, too, should include ingredients like ceramides, which are known to help restore the skin’s barrier and can help reduce moisture loss and dehydration, as well as hyaluronic acid to help retain skin’s natural moisture, and niacinamide to help calm skin. In addition, your daytime moisturizer should include a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, to protect your skin against UVA and UVB sun rays. And for evening, choose a moisturizer (and serum, if you use one) that won't clog your pores and can deliver soothing benefits, as well as moisture, while you sleep.
Spot treat dry skin as needed.
If you notice chafed or dry skin behind your ears, which may be caused by friction from the straps of your mask, or you noticed cracked, chafed or dry skin on other parts of your body, like your hands, feet, elbows or knees, address them with a skin protectant ointment containing petrolatum after you moisturize to help restore the skin’s protective barrier. Petrolatum helps protect chafed or cracked skin by creating a physical barrier. It is also non-comedogenic so it will not clog pores. In addition, make sure the ointment contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid, and that it is fragrance-free and lanolin-free to minimize the risk of fragrance or lanolin irritation.
By adopting the proper skin care regimen, choosing the right mask and washing it regularly, you should be able to help with face mask skin concerns like dryness. However, if you don’t notice an improvement in your skin, or your condition worsens, be sure to consult a dermatologist.