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26th Apr 2020

Been wearing a face mask? Here’s how to prevent your skin from acting up

Anna Rourke

Wearing a face mask while outside the house is a great way of doing your part to stop the spread of Covid-19, but how will it affect your skin?

If you’ve managed to get your hands on a mask or you’re an essential worker and have to wear one for long periods of time, the skin on the lower half of your face might be acting up right now.

This is down to friction and the fact that fresh air can’t get at your face.

“Oil, sweat, dirt, and makeup can build up under the fabric,” dermatologist Joshua Zeichner told Glamour.

“This can lead to rashes or even acne breakouts, especially in areas where the mask directly comes in contact with your skin.”

A break-out isn’t the end of the world when masks are so important for keeping us all safe but there are still steps we can take to keep skin clear.

One thing to be mindful of is the material the mask is made from.

Softer fabrics will absorb moisture inside the area of the mask which could lead to dryness. If you’re prone to dry skin, be sure to clean your face when you get home and apply a moisturiser.  Natural fabrics like cotton will also be gentler against your skin than synthetic ones.

As ever, drinking plenty of water is key for keeping your skin hydrated.


To avoid getting spots, make sure your face (or at least the part that will be covered) is clean and well-moisturised before putting your mask on. It may be no harm to go for an extra-rich moisturiser, according to aesthetician Lauren Pontillo.

If you’re already experiencing acne, try salicylic acid to get deep into pores and clear them out.

“Look for ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter or jojoba oil to create an extra barrier between your skin and the mask,” she told Today this week.

If you have to wear your mask for hours at a time, you may be experiencing bruising and even swelling. Cool puffy areas with a facecloth soaked in cold water and apply Arnica cream to any bruises.

Lastly, re-evaluate your skincare routine. Ditch harsh cleansers or exfoliators for the moment to avoid irritation and be gentle when cleaning your face.