The COVID-19 rates are skyrocketing in the United States again, and hey--you’re not someone to avoid safety precautions.
You disinfect every surface you touch, you’ve drenched your hands in sanitizer, and of course: you wear your mask.
Wearing a mask has proved crucial in fighting the virus. While it doesn’t necessarily always protect you from the virus, it prevents carriers of COVID-19 from spreading it to other people.
We can’t stand behind the #wearamask slogan enough.
But man, can it wreck havoc on your skin.
That’s right. We’re talking about the dreaded, newly coined phenomenon... Maskne. If you’re not familiar, “maskne” is when wearing a mask causes some angry acne, particularly around your mouth.
We want to protect ourselves and other people… But we’d also like to keep our face flawless, thank you very much.
So the question is: how do we both stay safe and protect our already-delicate skin? Let’s find out...
Some of you may have already been doing this… Well... for months since the pandemic started.
“Why put makeup on if no one’s going to see me?” you might’ve (gleefully) shrugged as you put your cosmetics away in your closet… And hey - it saves you from having to restock your makeup for at least another few months.
For you makeup-addicts out there, still putting it on because you don’t care whether anybody else sees it, it’s only for you anyway… Sorry, but we suggest putting off your hobby a little while.
Your skin will thank you.
We sympathize with a strong pull to powder up our chin or smack some lip gloss on; but the fact remains that putting on a mask with makeup on can do some real damage.
The nasty combination of makeup, perspiration, and friction under that mask can severely irritate the skin. In fact, the mask can even push makeup further into the pores—which isn't doing your skin any good, and having sweaty foundation melting like the Wicked Witch of the West doesn't feel good either.
If you absolutely insist on wearing makeup—that it’s a routine you need for normalcy’s sake—try putting on a waterproof foundation and a little mascara so it stays. But also remember to…
Wash. Your. Mask!
If you’re wearing makeup and see smudges of your foundation on the inside when you take your mask off… Wash your mask.
If you put your mask on after several days of regular use and notice a rather ripe odor left behind by days’ worth of sweat… Wash your mask.
If you don’t wear makeup and seem to be immune to perspiring under a piece of cloth during a hot summer’s day… Lucky you. But still wash your mask.
Besides containing bacteria we want to avoid for up to 12 hours, the particles within your mask can also cause some inflammation in your skin. Essentially, moisture particles from your breath will get stuck beneath the mask, and with that is some of your own bacteria… Bacteria that, without masks, we’re able to breathe out pretty quickly. Those same microbes will continue to live in the cloth and fester until… Well... your mask is an unsanitary mess.
We have written before about the importance of cleaning your cosmetic brushes due to the horrifying amount of bacteria growing on the bristles—just think of this as a similar situation.
Therefore, we stress the importance of cleaning your mask between each outing. Consider having a few masks so you can rotate them out and not have to do laundry every day. Wash with warm, soapy water and—just to be extra safe, since dryers can’t kill all germs—leave it out in the direct sunlight to dry.
The Cloth of Your Mask Matters
You’ve probably seen a multitude of masks in different materials—but 100% cotton is the best way to go.
Even if the material itself is tightly woven, 100% cotton allows for breathability—both for your lungs and your skin. It allows the air to flow into the mask while blocking most virus droplets trying to get through, leaving your face at least some room to breathe through the humid cloth.
If you’re making your own mask, feel free to explore other materials and remember to do your research on what will actually keep yourself and others safe from germs!
And if you're not DIY savvy, check out our fave reusable masks from Marley's Monsters. Bonus: you're supporting a small mom owned biz, and they ship plastic-free!
Wash Your Face
We know. It feels a little silly saying it.
But it really is crucial to wash your face before putting on your mask and after taking it off!
Even though you have your mask on, your face is still ready and prepared to take on the world—or, specifically, the environmental damage associated with the world like UV rays and pollutants. It builds up more sebum to protect the skin, but that will mix with the dirt, bacteria, and sweat to clog the pores.
So… What does the combination of that excess sebum and the extra grime your mask can contain lead to?
That’s why it’s necessary to wash your face with a mild face wash to wipe away that extra grime. It can be tempting to purchase a hardcore face wash that promises to “strip pores clean” and eliminate acne; but the truth is you need for some of the sebum oil to remain. Besides: most of the ingredients in those “power facial cleansers” have a whole lot of ingredients you don’t need.
It’s all about balance, so go for a mild cleanser that promises to clean away the muck without stripping your skin of necessary oils - like our line of 100% natural cleansers, or contact us if you need help picking the right one.
We Get It... Wearing a Mask Isn’t Fun
Look, we’re not going to sit here and claim wearing a mask is awesome.
As we’ve discussed, it can lead to so much skin inflammation that we’ve developed the new word “maskne” for it. It gets warm, and sticky, and sometimes smelly—but it’s critical to keeping everyone safe during these times.
Yes, your mask can get sweat-smelly. But that’s fixable.
Getting the virus, or potentially passing it on to someone high risk… That’s something that can be avoided with the proper measures.
And that includes wearing your mask.
You don’t have to sacrifice healthy, glowing skin--so don’t sacrifice jeopardizing your community.
Let’s stay safe--and flawless!--together.