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Prevea Health

Help! This mask is irritating my skin


Masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19 but they can cause irritation to the skin, especially in the summer months with rising heat and humidity levels.
Masks can trap oil, dirt and sweat on the skin which can cause acne, eczema and rosacea to flare up. And, if you have acne prone skin, you’re more likely to already have acne breakouts regardless of whether you wear a mask.

Tips to prevent irritation and promote healthy skin on your face:

Establish a morning and evening skin care routine! Amanda Baumgart, aesthetician at Prevea Rejuvenate, offers the following guidance for a skin care routine using products that are gentle on the skin, but also remove dirt and oils without disrupting the skin barrier.
  • Use a cleanser in the morning and evening. For acne prone skin, consider one that has salicylic acid in it to keep oil production in check and to prevent breakouts. You may not need to use a product with salicylic acid twice a day, so talk to your aesthetician to make sure your skin regimen is right for you.
  • Use a light facial scrub to remove excess buildup and sebum (the oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands). The scrub should only be done one or two times a week. 
  • Use a lightweight moisturizer in the morning and evening to hydrate your skin. For hydration, look for a product that has hyaluronic acid. We recommend PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum. It’s great because it moisturizes the skin and helps with heat, perspiration and friction from the mask rubbing the skin which can lead to irritated skin.  
  • As for makeup, skip it for now. Wearing makeup underneath your mask can cause congested skin (the build-up of dead skin cells) and breakouts. If you want a little bit of color, wear a tinted moisturizer with SPF, which is a good habit to get into anyway. Our favorite is Intellishade SPF which comes in Original, Matte, and TruePhysical. If you absolutely need to wear makeup, make sure you choose makeup that is non-comedogenic, which is just a fancy way of saying it doesn’t block pores.  
  • If you wear the same cloth mask, wash it everyday to remove the makeup, oil and any other particles on it. This may sound like common sense, but we thought it was important to point out.
If you have any more skin care routine questions or concerns, please contact Prevea Rejuvenate at (920) 431-1880. Our aesthetician, Amanda, will be happy to help! 

Tips to prevent and care for additional skin irritation:

  • If you develop a rash on particular places on your skin (such as the bridge of the nose, chin or behind the ears), try using a zinc oxide cream. Often used for diaper rashes, dermatologists recommend it to keep your skin from chafing.
  • Switching from a mask with ear loops to a mask with ties can give the skin behind your ears a break.
  • Handwashing and hand sanitizer can lead to rough and dry hands. Moisturize with a cream as needed. For severely dry hands, rub a thick ointment like petroleum jelly on your hands and cover each hand with a cotton sock overnight. Doing this helps lock in the moisture your skin is craving.

Wash and alternate cloth masks:

  • As mentioned above, wash your cloth mask after every use to keep it sanitary. Any residue from your skin and surroundings can build up on your mask if not cleaned regularly, leading to skin irritation and damage of the cloth fabric itself.
  • Click here for tips on how to properly clean your mask.
  • Purchase cloth masks made of a light material, such as cotton. Heavy materials can trap sweat and oil underneath the mask which can lead to breakouts.
  • Owning a few cloth masks ensures you have an alternate clean mask on hand.

If you continue to experience skin irritations, Prevea Health is here to help with experts in primary care, dermatology and aesthetics.

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