HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Due to COVID-19, face masks have become a staple to reach for before leaving home. Although masks are important for protection, they also may be causing skin irritation or even acne, and as a result, it is important to adjust both your skin and mask cleaning routines to avoid the dreaded ‘maskne.’ Elizabeth Mullans, M.D., a Board-Certified Dermatologist, offers advice on how to properly clean a cloth face mask to stay healthy and avoid skin irritation and acne breakouts caused by harsh chemicals and residue.
“Masks are here to stay, so it’s important that our skincare routines are modified to help minimize acne flare ups and skin irritation caused by mask usage,” says Dr. Mullans.
The following tips may help:
- Choose a cotton fabric. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public settings. 100% Cotton is advisable as it absorbs moisture and is far less irritating to the skin than other materials.
- Clean your mask every day. Wash your mask daily to avoid the buildup of bacteria. Since a mask rests on your face, harsh chemicals and alcohols can indicate a skin reaction waiting to happen. I recommend using a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free detergent, like Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin, Free & Clear Detergent. When laundering your mask, make sure to use the warmest recommended water setting and dry on the highest heat setting. Try adding a splash of white vinegar to the load for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
- Wash your face twice a day. Use a gentle cleanser twice a day like Cetaphil or CeraVe, both before and after wearing a mask. Acne prone individuals might benefit from cleansers that contain salicylic acid. You can spot treat pimples with a salicylic acid, sulfur, zinc, or 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel.
- Use a light moisturizer. Stay well moisturized to protect your skin’s barrier. Look for a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and/or ceramides. Consider treating yourself to a hydrating mask if your skin tends to be dry.
- Avoid makeup. Try to keep makeup to the bare minimum to allow your skin to breathe and reduce clogged pores. Switch to makeup and moisturizers that are non-comedogenic.
“Remember that your skin is your body’s largest organ and the products you use matter. If you feel that you have done all that you can to avoid skin irritation, and the problem persists, consult with your dermatologist,” adds Dr. Mullans.