Face masks have become a new reality for all of us, no matter where you live. For many, face masks = skin irritation. This is especially true among the healthcare community, many of whom wear masks for 12-18 hours in a row during stressful frontline shifts.
Most facial skin just is not accustomed to wearing masks all day and irritation or acne is our skin's way of "rebelling" against the incessant mask presence. Masks stop moisture from releasing so any moisture from our breath is just trapped on skin in a hot, sweaty "microclimate" with fabric rubbing against it. Sweat and skin oils build up, clogging pores. People will oily skin are more susceptible to maskne and irritation, though it can affect anyone.
While masks are an essential aspect of our "new normal" to be safe, acne and skin irritation does not have to be. It may not be possible to eliminate all irritation, especially if you have to wear a mask all day, but we can help bring it to a minimum at least. Here are a few tips to help keep your skin in check.
1. Wash reusable masks after each use, or as often as possible. We know it may not be realistic to wash every day, but aim for as much as possible. Use fragrance-free detergent and avoid fabric softener, which can irritate skin.
2. Wash, tone and moisturize your face right before putting on your mask. Clean skin is better prepared for mask wearing. Ideally, skip the makeup, especially under your mask as makeup + masks can clog pores. If you don't currently use a facial oil in your routine, now could be a great time to start. They soak in quickly and provide surface hydration and protection. Our 'Ōlena Beauty Oil even addresses inflammation and irritation head-on. A facial oil will prevent some of the irritation from rubbing and skin chafing.
3. Wash, tone and moisturize your face right after removing your mask for the day. Finishing with a facial oil helps repair and hydrate skin.
4. Treat your skin to a night cream or more intensive moisturizer when not wearing your mask. Our Māhealani Moonlit Glow Balm has been a savior for many first responders for this reason alone.
5. Once or twice a week, host a spa day for yourself, with a face mask (wow, this is confusing), featuring 'Āina Invigorating Mask. This mask detoxifies and clarifies skin by cleansing clogged pores and boosting circulation.
6. Clarify with an antioxidant mist. Sandalwood hydrosol is known to be antibacterial and anti-inflammatory so it makes a great product to incorporate into your routine. Our Līhau Facial Mist is known to keep acne at bay and even help clear up skin due to its properties. If you have a situation where you can mist periodically throughout the day, that could make a big difference. But many healthcare providers simply can't. So adding this to your routine before and/or after shifts can help.
Feel free to reach out with any specific questions!
Stay Healthy ~