By now, face coverings have become the must-have accessory of 2020. They’re recommended by the CDC to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and with plenty of sleek options to choose from, they’re increasingly marrying form and function. That being said, face coverings can have the unfortunate side effect of causing breakouts and irritation. But with a few minor tweaks to your routine, you’ll be putting your best face forward again in no time.
Keep things gentle
When your skin is feeling congested, it’s best to steer clear of harsh exfoliating scrubs and thick creams. A gentle cleanser paired with a hydrating toner can work wonders, especially when used in combination with a skin-soothing serum or a gel moisturizer. Ingredients focused on repair, like hyaluronic acid, aloe and niacinamide, are especially helpful. Wait for everything to fully absorb into the skin before donning your mask.
If you’re struggling with dreaded “maskne,” you’re not alone. Face coverings allow sweat and debris to build upon the skin, which can cause breakouts. If you’re experiencing redness or swelling, ice cubes or frozen peas wrapped in a paper towel can help alleviate any symptoms. If a breakout has already made an appearance, products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help to calm it down.
Wash your mask
Your face covering is a prime spot for collecting dirt, oil and debris—and if you use a reusable cloth mask, you’ll want to wash it regularly (preferably after every wear). Some hot water and fragrance-free detergent should do the trick (fragrance is a common irritant and can worsen any irritation). While you’re at it, opt for masks made from soft, natural fibers like cotton, linen, hemp or silk, all of which are breathable and will ease friction.
Go light on the makeup
For those of you who can’t envision leaving home without a full face of makeup, it’s best to ease up on the coverage before putting on a face covering. Heavy foundations can clog your pores, which leads to even more breakouts. A lightweight tinted moisturizer is the safer bet, and only apply it to exposed areas. A hydrating lip balm will keep your mouth moisturized without any sticky residue. If you still want to have a bit of fun, your eyes are your playground. Bold-colored eyeliners and glittery shadows can make for a dramatic effect, a perfect mood booster for when you can show off your smile.