Face masks and skincare. This isn't the beauty blog we expected to be writing in 2020 but with mask-mandates becoming part of our daily reality, it's the trending topic we all need to know about. While many of us have begun to adjust to wearing a medical or cloth face mask on the regular, your skin may be having a harder time with this new normal.
Irritation, rashes and breakouts are all common skin reactions that can develop after a long day of wearing protective gear for the face. A combination of heat and excess moisture, can create humid conditions as well as trap bacteria, dirt, oil and other debris close to the skin. When this happens, existing skin conditions can be exacerbated and new ones can develop. Luckily, there are a number of ways to prevent these problems with proper care and support for the skin.
OUR TOP TIPS FOR POST-MASK SKINCARE
1.) Gentle cleansing and exfoliation
The most important thing you can do after wearing a mask is cleanse the skin thoroughly. Ideally, right after removing your mask. We want to cleanse away all of the things that accumulate underneath a mask and stick to the skin. If your skin is looking and/or feeling rough, you may be tempted to get aggressive with double cleansing or harsh scrubbing. However in this case, that may be counterproductive. One good cleanse with your favorite gentle daily cleanser will do just fine.
The same goes for exfoliation. Exfoliating on top of skin that is already irritated can lead to more irritation. So, if your skin is feeling raw or you are seeing inflamed acne lesions, skip the scrub altogether and use a toner instead. Toner will help soothe the skin, rebalance pH levels and remove any lingering debris without further stripping the skin.
2.) Opt for cool tools & calming ingredients
Treating reactive skin is all about soothing inflammation. If your skin is red, itchy or overheated after wearing a mask, we want to focus on removing some of of these factors to bring the skin back into balance. A cold roller tool or jade roller that's been submerged in cold water can be used to instantly calm the skin. If you don't have a tool, you can try using just an ice cube and gently rubbing it over the skin to achieve a similar effect.
You can also look for ingredients in your products that aid in fighting inflammation. Some of our favorites are: chamomile, lavender, squalane oil, niacinamide, green tea, turmeric, calendula, witch hazel, licorice root and aloe.
3.) Support your skin's barrier repair
In spots where your mask rubs against the face, the skin can become chapped, sensitive or even raw. When this happens, the skin's natural protective barrier becomes compromised and this can really throw things out of whack. In order to prevent this from happening, we recommend paying extra attention to moisturizing your skin before and after wearing a mask.
A trick many medical professionals swear by is applying a bit of an emollient product, like Aquaphor or a heavy balm, to the bridge of the nose and other spots where the mask sits tight to the skin. It's also a good idea to hydrate the skin morning and night with a non-comedogenic moisturizer and maybe even a hyaluronic acid serum, to really boost the skin's natural defenses.
4.) Simplify and skip your makeup
While you are fine to wear makeup on the parts of your face that aren't covered, we recommend skipping the part of your face that will be under a mask. Foundations and other heavy makeup can clog the pores and become trapped along with all of the other dirt, oil and debris. This then creates a perfect storm for breakouts to occur.
With everything the skin has to contend with right now, simple skincare is best. Too many layers of product or products that are too active can add additional stress to the skin and should be avoided. Read on for our easy three-step Glowtocol that you can use nightly to support and repair your skin after a long day of masking and multi-tasking.
THE AFTER-MASK GLOWTOCOL
What You'll Need:*
Gentle Daily Cleanser
Leave-On Mask or Moisturizing Balm
STEP ONE: CLEANSE - Gently cleanse the skin for about two minutes, massaging the face and neck as you cleanse. We love a gentle daily cleanser or even oil-cleansing for this step to avoid over-stripping the skin. Rinse with cool to lukewarm water.
STEP TWO: TONE - Using a cotton round to apply, get the round wet with a generous amount of toner and gently wipe the face clean with it. A balancing toner is recommended if you are experiencing breakout activity. That said, a hydrating toner will work just as well and will help further support your skin's barrier.
STEP THREE: MASK/MOISTURIZE - Something we are loving these days for treating stressed skin are leave-on hydrating masks. These super-nourishing, reparative masks require little effort. You need only apply at night in place of your moisturizer and then let the mask sit and work its magic while you rest. If you don't have a leave-on mask, a nice hydrating cream or balm will also do the trick. Apply your favorite moisturizer generously and allow it to absorb overnight.
OUR POST-MASK PRODUCT PICKS
* Glowtocol protocols are designed to be universal for all skin types and concerns. You need only select products appropriate for your skin type in order to customize and follow along. Need help curating your perfect Glowtocol? Check out the Skincare 101 page to learn more, or go here to learn how to schedule an online consultation.