With school starting, kids and adults alike are including masks on their back-to-school shopping lists. While masks are perfectly safe for folks over 2 years of age, even for all-day wear, proper cleaning and care is essential to prevent annoying skin irritation. These helpful tips will help keep you protected and looking your best.
- Start with a clean face. Your face should be clean and dry before putting on your mask. If your skin is not particularly oily, just splash it with water, but if you need to wash, try a gentle cleanser like Alastin Gentle Cleanser, Elta MD Foaming Facial Cleanser, or either of the CeraVe cleansers.
- Consider a toner. Dermed Clarifying Toner or Soothing Toner can be helpful in preventing acne or soothing irritated skin. Start off slowly when adding any new skincare product and increase frequency to twice daily as your skin can tolerate it.
- Don’t neglect your skin care routine. My first layer every day is a vitamin C serum like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF. These protect skin against UV and pollution-induced damage and help with fine lines and brown spots. A lightweight moisturizer can help reduce chafing and maintain the skin barrier. I have changed from a tinted sunscreen to Thacker Dermatology’s Simply Sheer because it does not get all over my mask.
- Skip the face makeup (seriously.) One great thing about a mask is that it covers most of your face. Since I wear a mask all day every weekday and any time I am in public, I have not worn face makeup or lipstick since February. Makeup soils your mask and can degrade it more quickly, making it work less effectively. It also makes you more likely to get breakouts.
- Treat your mask like underwear. Wash it daily (or get a fresh one.) Do not adjust it in public. Do not share it. Handle it by the straps. A lot of moisture can build up in the mask, so it is critical to keep it clean. You get the idea.
- Wash your face after getting home. A makeup removal wipe is a great first step, but it is not a substitute for soap and water or a gentle skin cleanser. If you are acne-prone, use a 5% benzoyl peroxide or a salicylic acid wash in the shower and leave it on for a minute before rinsing it off.
- Combine topical retinoids with moisturizer and start slowly. Anyone who knows me knows my love of topical retinoids. They help with fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, and acne. You can start with adapalene 0.1%, which is now available over the counter. A pea-sized amount can be mixed with moisturizer and applied every third night to the entire face, neck, and V of the chest. If there is no redness, peeling, or irritation, you can increase the frequency to every other night for a week or two then finally increase to a goal of every night. We have prescription strength ones available if needed. I also mix it up and use SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew a couple of nights a week. Just skip your retinoid those nights to prevent irritation.
- Consider a weekly soothing Bio-Cellulose mask. Just 15 minutes a week can reduce redness and irritation and can calm inflamed skin. They are heavenly.
- If you are still having problems, see your local dermatologist. There are many causes for rashes and many treatments for acne. We are experts in diseases of the skin, hair, and nails, and we are here to help you. Call Thacker Dermatology at (229) 469-4383 and schedule your appointment today.
Written by: Betsy Backe, MD