Wearing a non-medical face mask has become a daily routine for us. If you’ve noticed any changes in your skin as a result, our consulting dermatologists, Dr. David Orentreich and Dr. Catherine Orentreich, are here to help answer some of our questions. “The majority of skin effects we see from wearing non-medical face masks are very minor and shouldn’t prevent you from wearing a mask, as that is extremely important,” says Dr. David Orentreich.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to have happy, glowing skin.
Q. How can wearing a non-medical mask affect your skin?
A. With prolonged use, masks can potentially be mechanically irritating, causing friction. Masks, as a face covering, occlude the skin. Think of the skin underneath the mask—it’s exposed to higher temperatures, sweat, and increased humidity from the nose and mouth. All of this can lead to a weakened skin barrier, dryness, and acne.
Q. What are the most common mask-related skin changes you’re seeing in your practice?
A. Skin dryness, acne, irritation, and redness.
Q. Do you have any recommendations on how to address these changes?
A. It’s always important to hydrate your skin and strengthen its moisture barrier. This will help keep skin healthy and resilient.
Try: If you have dry skin, use Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+. If you have oily skin, or live in a hot, humid climate and want a really light hydrator, use Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator. Both formulas hydrate your skin and help support its moisture barrier.
Q. What about “maskne”—mask-induced breakouts?
A. Treat the breakouts with salicylic acid to gently exfoliate your skin and clear up clogged pores.
Try: Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel is a powerful acne-fighting treatment. Spot apply to troubled areas twice a day.
Q. Now that masks are part of our daily lives, any other tips?
A. I recommend cleansing, exfoliating, and strengthening your skin with the right “mask friendly” regimen for your skin type. Start by deeply purifying your skin with a gentle cleanser twice a day, then follow with a gentle exfoliator to remove debris and dead skin cells. Strengthen your skin with barrier-building hydration. Also, don’t forget your sunscreen.
Try: Liquid Facial Soap, a mild cleanser, and Clarifying Lotion, a liquid exfoliator that’s gentle enough to use twice a day. Be sure to choose the right formula of each one for your skin type: dry, oily, or combination.