With the CDC’s recommendation that every individual wear a cloth mask in public to curb the spread of COVID-19, I have found myself breaking out in places I normally would only break out in during my period. Now, I’m not normally one to freak out over a few clogged pores and pimples, but with the absence of a life outdoors, I haven’t even been wearing my usual makeup! This sent me into a downward spiral (yes, dramatic), as I freaked out that my skin had permanently changed for the worse.
Not to worry. After a bit of obsessive research, I have confirmed that I am not going through a second puberty and experiencing the mercilessness of hormonal acne. Clogged pores, irritated skin, and breakouts are all a normal response to the humid, moist environment of a protective face mask. Here are a few steps and tips I have incorporated into my normal beauty routine to combat my quarantine skincare woes.
- Use 100% cotton for your cloth face mask. As all surgical and N95 respirator masks are being reserved for medical professionals, the general public has been advised to wear a cloth face mask. I recommend using 100% cotton as it will not irritate your skin even with prolonged exposure. Cotton is also breathable, which will also allow your skin to breathe underneath. The Sage the Label ‘Everyday Mask’ is made with 2 layers of cotton that makes it super soft, washable and reusable!
- Make sure your mask is properly fitted! As the constriction of face masks can cause irritation to your skin, you want to make sure the straps of your face mask are snug enough so there is not room between your face and the mask but loose enough so they don’t constrict your blood flow.
Skip the full coverage foundation. Since the majority of our faces are covered when we venture out into the public, there is no need for super, high coverage foundation all over the face. Instead, I recommend using a light foundation or concealer, and only apply it on the areas that are visible and need highlighting. I have insane dark circles, no matter how much sleep I get, so I always apply just the tiniest bit of a skin tint underneath my eyes and the center of my forehead for a highlight. I skip foundation and concealer everywhere else, since I want to reduce the amount of buildup underneath my mask.
- Wash everything! And I mean everything! Wash your hands before touching your face for skincare, and make sure you cleanse extra well after wearing a face mask. Also, try to have more than one mask so you can have a rotation going when you need to wash your mask. Currently, there is no official recommendation for how often you should wash your mask, but I suggest washing your mask after every use!
Cater to your specific skin needs. If you suffer from oily skin, carry some oil blotting sheets with you so you can avoid making skin to skin contact with your face. Wearing a mask will make your oily areas worse. If you suffer from dry and sensitive skin like me, I would suggest carrying around a facial mist with essence for an extra spritz of moisture.
Give your skin some TLC. It’s a stressful time! Your skin definitely feels it too, so treat it with some love and take extra care of it during this time. As a sufferer of facial bloating, I use a Jade roller to depuff my face and drain my lymph nodes. This helps to circulate your blood and promote elasticity! Also, if you wake up to find one of those evil cystic pimples on your face, I highly, highly recommend medicated pimple stickers. Slap one of these on those bastards, and you’ll find that sticker does the work for you. Also, who wouldn’t want a cute flower sticker on their face?
These weekly to biweekly trips I reluctantly take to the grocery store are wreaking havoc on my skin. I can’t entirely complain, though, because it’s all in the name of safety and the public health. So, in the name of health and getting through this crazy sh*tshow together, let’s be good to ourselves and take care of our skin. Afterall, we’ve got nothing but time.