Mandatory or not, wearing a face mask in public is helping save lives (maybe even your own) by reducing the spread of the coronavirus. The more consistently we wear them, the sooner we won’t have to wear them at all—in theory, anyway.
But even once masks are no longer required, many of us may still find ourselves wanting to wear them. Why? Because in addition to keeping us safe from disease, they can also hide our maskne—those unsightly breakouts caused by wearing masks in the first place!
For now, anyway, don’t lose your masks. But you can lose that maskne. Here’s how.
1. Wash your masks.
This should go without saying, but it’s so easy to pop your mask into your purse or take it off in the car and then forget about it until the next time you need it. Reusing unwashed masks is better than wearing no mask at all, but it’s best to have several masks you can rotate through and clean regularly. A clean mask is going to reduce the bacteria, reducing your risk of breakouts. Be sure to use a fragrance-free, natural detergent, too. Synthetic detergents can be rough on the skin as well, and you don’t want to be inhaling those chemicals either.
2. Stick with cotton masks.
Unless you’re an essential worker required to use a specific kind of mask, you may want to avoid heavier fabrics (like nylon) and stick with a breathable cotton. If you can find organic cotton, even better. Lighter masks, especially in the summertime, won’t trap as much heat, which reduces the risk of maskne and skin irritation. Cotton is also easier to clean.
Pro-tip: Kinder Beauty's Add-On Shop is offering this 100% cotton mask that you can purchase, touting the beautiful words, "SPREAD KINDNESS, NOT A VIRUS."
3. Ditch the makeup—at least on the bottom part of your face.
No one can see much besides your eyes, anyway. So leave the foundation off (not ideal during summer, anyway), and focus on playing up your eye game, if you choose. Foundation and concealers can sometimes plug up your pores. That doesn’t work well in the humid environment your mask is creating. Not to mention, it’s also a waste of money to use all that makeup if your face is going to be covered with a mask!
4. Don’t go crazy with your skincare routine.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? If your skincare routine was already working, chances are it’s the mask, not your daily cleanser or moisturizer, that’s causing the breakouts. If your skincare routine was due for an overhaul, anyway, try a natural (and cruelty-free) cleanser for acne-prone skin, like Willing Beauty Do-Over Cleanser (featured in the March 2020 Kinder Beauty Box). It may help reduce breakouts and speed up healing if they’re already happening.
5. Use the other kind of face mask.
There are lots of store-bought face masks to help reduce breakouts. But you can also whip up a quick and easy DIY face mask for acne prone skin with ground up oats, apple cider vinegar, and a few (just a few!) drops of lavender and tea tree essential oils. Mix the ground up oats with enough vinegar to create a thick but smooth paste. Add in the oils and mix well. You can use this all over your face or spot treat trouble areas. Pro-tip: If you don't want to make your own, we recommend the Sonage: Saffron Energizing Vitamin Mask, featured in Kinder Beauty's July 2020 Jasmine Collection.
6. Wear sunscreen.
Yep, even under your mask. The last thing you want is weird mask tan (or burn) lines on your face, especially if your skin is already aggravated. And since masks can fog up sunglasses, you may be going without them more often than usual. Skip the burn, and stay safe.
7. Stay home.
While many businesses have reopened and many people are returning to “normal,” keep in mind we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. We’re all safer at home, and that’s good news for maskne sufferers, too. Order in, take a staycation, and only go out when necessary. The less often you need to wear your mask, the safer you are and the healthier your skin will be, too.
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Jill Ettinger is an LA-based writer and editor focused on vegan and cruelty-free living.