It would appear that masks are here to stay awhile, whether our skin likes it or not. We’ve touched on the best ways to avoid maskne, but now this maintenance has become unavoidable upkeep, so it’s time to dig deeper and come up with a plan of action.
Annie Tevelin, professional makeup artist turned founder of natural beauty line Skin Owl, knows a thing or three about skin maintenance, even for all-day, full PPE masks. “When it comes to protecting your skin from the unforgiving ‘maskne‘ resulting from habitual mask-wearing, it can be a tricky road to navigate,” Tevelin begins, though there is no excuse for not wearing one.
“Most surgical, or PPE, masks are three-ply, made using non-woven fabrics from plastics like polypropylene to filter and protect the user from contaminants and bacteria. If you’re wearing yours for much of the day, you might notice red bumps and breakouts popping up around the lips, chin, and nose as a result of warm, bacteria-laden breath circulating within the mask.” And sweat, because summer. So how do we stay on top of it? Consider Tevelin’s tricks.
Spot treat under the mask.
Fulfill your nightmares of walking around in public with pimple cream on your face. Just kidding. Take your more intensive treatments into the day by simply wearing it under your mask. “Since most people won’t see the skin under the mask, this is a great time to apply spot treatments, masks, tonics, and toners.”
Use a gentle cleanser followed by a non-drying toner.
Starting with the cleanest slate possible is ideal, and of course, be gentle, because our skin under there is under some unique stress. Harsh products don’t automatically mean more effective. Also, some may feel that toner products are superfluous, but they certainly are not.
“When I know I’m going to be wearing my mask for several hours, I use a balancing cleanser—nothing too drying or oil-absorbing. I follow up with a calming toner, which consists of cucumber hydrosol to soften and soothe and lemongrass essential oil, which acts as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. I’ve applied kaolin clay masks or more hydrating masks with botanical hyaluronic acid while at the market, which only motivates me to keep my mask on while there.”
Get in the habit of steaming.
Facial steams, especially herbal steams, are incredibly cleansing and nourishing, and not harsh or drying when done correctly (not too hot, and don’t put your face too close to the bowl). “Once home for the evening and my mask is off for the day, I use a replenishing facial steam to help purge and melt any excess dirt or bacteria. It also soothes my mind and nervous system, which is a win-win! Currently, I’m obsessed with marigold facial steam as it seconds as a decaf tea too! A great way to end the day.”
Tevelin also makes sure to hand wash her mask at the end of every day and let it dry on her coat rack. This is crucial! You wouldn’t put a sweaty tank top or undies on again the next day, would you? Our mouths are breeding grounds for bacteria, so cleanse the actual apparatus as if it’s your face since it is essentially becoming a part of your face for the day.
And, just to make sure there’s a little play and not all work, Tevelin suggests playing up your makeup strengths outside of the mask realm. It’s difficult to be motivated to get ready when half of our faces are covered, sure. But Tevelin shares that when she’s not wearing lipstick or concealer around her face, she’s having more fun with eyeshadow and liner. Spot treatments under the mask, winged liner on top? Now that’s multitasking.
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