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It’s safe to say that our lives have changed a lot in 2020. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen most people around the world endure lockdown measures, a new way of living and working from home. The way we interact with others has changed and day to day life has a very different lens – and face masks (no, not the skin care kind) are being worn on the regular, with medical experts stressing their importance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But with that can come negative effects for your skin, with some people experiencing problems such as breakouts – or ‘maskne’ - rashes and itchiness from wearing a mask. We spoke to our Education Manager Charlotte Lyon to get her top tips for looking after your skin while wearing a face mask.

Why does wearing a face mask affect your skin?

Firstly: why the new skin problems? Surely, we’ve all been through enough? According to dermatologist Dr. Adeline Kikam, friction from the mask rubbing can cause irritant contact dermatitis, and a build up of moisture from the air inside the mask can cause breakouts – not to mention the dirt and makeup that can get trapped underneath.

How to prevent skin problems when wearing a face mask

The good news is, you can minimise those skin problems and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy while wearing a protective face mask. Here are our seven top tips:

1. Avoid wearing makeup

Wearing makeup underneath your face mask is a bit like sleeping with your makeup on – it can clog the pores and cause those unwanted blemishes. Embrace natural and avoid wearing makeup where you can, opting instead for a hydrating skin care routine. If makeup is necessary, stick to the eye area only.

2. Use a gentle cleanser

Cleansing is always important to get rid of any dirt, impurities and unblocked pores – which is more likely while wearing a mask. Cleanse your skin morning and night using a gentle cleanser that’s suitable for sensitive skin, such as our Replenishing Cleansing Lotion.

3. Stay hydrated

Charlotte tells us hydrated skin is important for preventing skin problems while wearing a mask. “Ensure to increase hydration levels of the skin using Activating Water Essence,” she says. “Our Hydrating Mists can be carried and used throughout the day, when able, to also help with dehydration.”

4. Use a richer moisturiser

“Dry skin is a common problem in winter and can be made worse by wearing a face mask,” says Charlotte. If you feel as though you’re not receiving enough nourishment from your regular moisturiser, switch to a richer formula, or add a couple of drops of face oil to your regular cream or lotion. For very dry skin, Moisture Replenishing Day Cream is a great option to provide a superior barrier to the skin.

5. Reduce redness with soothing skin care products

Sensitivity and redness can be a common side effect of wearing a mask, due to the mask rubbing on the skin. Try introducing soothing and calming products into your skin care ritual, such as those in our Calendula Redness Rescue range. Calendula Cream can be used topically for affected areas to help protect and comfort.

6. Protect your lips

As well as your skin, your lips can become dry and chapped when wearing a face mask regularly. Treat and protect the lip area by applying Lip Care Balm or Rose Love Balm throughout the day (using clean fingers!)

7. Choose a face mask with natural fabrics

Not all face masks are created equally. “Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester and rayon,” says Charlotte. “These are more likely to irritate skin and cause breakouts.” Instead, choose a face mask that’s made from a natural and breathable fabric, such as cotton, and wash it with a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent.

With a nourishing and hydrating skin care ritual, you should be able to minimise the problems that come with wearing a face mask. Keep your hands protected too, with a moisturising hand sanitiser and read our top tips for caring for your hands.