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How to reduce skin irritation from wearing a face mask

Here at BeautyDel, we take the safety of our clients very seriously. We have implemented the utmost safety precautions in our service offerings during the pandemic, some of which include the use of high-quality PPE like face shields, gloves, disinfectants, and of course face masks.

We are well aware of the important role that face masks play in preventing the spread of Covid-19, however, a drawback of face masks is that they can lead to increased skin-related issues. The confined space created by the face mask on the lower half of the face, coupled with one’s breath, greatly increases the amount of moisture in this area. This excess moisture often leads to skin irritation like dryness, redness, and breakouts.

If you have found yourself struggling with this, we have gathered 6 effective tips recommended by dermatologists to prevent skin problems caused by face masks. You are not alone in this, and we will come out of the pandemic together with healthy and glowing skin!

1. Apply moisturizer before and after wearing a mask.

One of the most common skin problems that results from wearing a face mask is dry skin. Applying moisturizer reduces dryness, while also serving as a protective layer.

To get the most benefit from your moisturizer, we recommend using one with the following ingredients:

  • Ceramides

  • Hyaluronic acid

  • Dimethicone (helps reduce irritated skin)

2. Try taking a 15-minute mask break for every 4 hours of wearing time.

Healthcare workers have reported that this technique has greatly improved their skin irritation.

Note: only take off your mask in safe conditions and after washing your hands.

Safe environments to remove your mask:

  • Outdoors, where you can stay at least six feet away from people.

  • Inside your car when you're alone.

  • In the comfort of your home.

3. Find the right mask for your face.

To avoid skin irritation, look for face masks that meet the following criteria:

  • At least two layers of fabric or a filter.

  • Snug but comfortable fit. If it’s too tight it can cause irritation and inadequate coverage. If it’s too loose it may leave spaces for air to get in/out, and you are more likely to adjust it, potentially transferring germs to the face.

  • Soft, natural, and breathable fabric on the inside layer that rests against your skin. Cotton is BeautyDel’s top choice. Avoid synthetic materials, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon, on the layer that rests against your skin. These are more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts.

BeautyDel Pick: SEWT is a Toronto-based femme clothier, offering a wide variety of tailored women’s clothing and accessories, including masks. All of the SEWT masks are either lined with cotton or silk, while the exteriors vary in types of materials. These masks are an excellent choice for any woman looking for a fashionable yet practical choice for their skin.

4. Avoid makeup when wearing a mask.

With the increased moisture that comes with wearing a mask, the makeup is more likely to clog your pores and cause breakouts. If makeup is absolutely necessary, look for products labelled "non-comedogenic" or "won't clog pores."

5. Avoid trying new skincare products that can irritate your skin.

Wearing a mask for even a short amount of time can make your skin more sensitive. To reduce skin problems related to wearing a mask, avoid trying new products that may make the irritation worse. For example, a chemical peel, exfoliant, or retinoid are all products that may cause increased irritation if your skin is not used to them.

6. Wash your cloth masks.

When you breathe out into your mask, the bacteria from your mouth gets trapped. This is why many health care organizations recommend that you wash cloth masks frequently. By washing your face mask, you will remove the oils and skin cells that get collected throughout the day.

When washing your mask, make sure to:

  • Wash in hot water unless the instructions advise otherwise.

  • Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.

  • Dry on the highest heat setting for at least 20 minutes, unless the instructions advise otherwise.

We know how annoying skin irritation due to face masks can be, and if you are someone who is dealing with mask-related issues, these are a few of our suggestions to try out. There are many different skin types, so there unfortunately isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, however, these are a few places to start. Also, if you are a frontline worker and wearing a mask all day every day, BeautyDel thanks you for your dedication and effort.

Sending our love.


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