Caring for Your Skin While Wearing a Face Mask

with Dr Thivi Maruthappu, Consultant Dermatologist at the Skin Health Alliance and OLAY

Depending on your personal circumstances, wearing a protective face mask may have become the new normal. Wearing a facial covering for a significant amount of time can sometimes lead to the skin under the face mask suffering from rashes, spots, and acne. Discover how to help keep skin in good condition and looking its best with Dr Thivi’s advice and top tips.

Potential impact from prolonged periods of wearing a face mask

Although protective masks are extremely important, if you’re wearing them for several hours of the day, they can contribute to skin issues around the mouth and nose. Also, it’s not only wearing the mask that can be problematic – taking them on and off can also be stressful for the skin too.

The main issues are:

1.       Friction – which can cause redness and irritation

2.       Occlusion – which causes a humid environment where moisture gathers under the mask, which might lead to clogged pores that can contribute to breakouts and acne

Steps to maintaining skincare routine to keep your skin healthy during the new normal

It’s important to cleanse well morning and night to avoid irritation and breakouts, and this becomes especially important for anyone wearing a form of face covering for a prolonged amount of time. If your skin is feeling extra sensitive, be sure to stick with a gentle formula.

·       AM – cleanse and apply non-comedogenic moisturiser such as OLAY Regenerist Whip Face Moisturiser SPF 30. It has a gorgeous lightweight feel and will give you UVA/UVB protection which is also important both beneath and around the mask. It will also help you avoid any sunburn and unwanted tan lines.

·       PM – cleanse and apply rich moisturiser containing niacinamide (B3) such as OLAY Regenerist 3 Point Face Cream which penetrates ten layers deep into the skin’s surface and will strengthen skin’s natural barrier function to help protect your skin from the daily stressors

Dr Thivi’s other top tips:

Where possible, take your mask off when you do not need to wear it, such as while driving your own car or in the privacy of your own home.

In between wearing, spritz your face with a refreshing and soothing mist such as OLAY Mist Ultimate Hydration Aloe Leaf and Chamomile Calming Face Spray that will help to calm irritated skin and restore lost moisture by instantly increasing hydration by 60%. The Rose and Chamomile extract can also be psychologically soothing for the senses if you need help to de-stress.

I also advise avoiding makeup as much as possible whilst wearing the mask as in the humid environment under the mask, this can cause clogging of pores which may lead to blackheads and breakouts.

The strings on the mask can be irritating for the skin behind the ears, so before bedtime, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the affected area to help soothe overnight.

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