Masks have become a daily part of our lives. They’re something we put on, adjust, take off, clean, rinse, and repeat. All of this potential for irritation can really start to wreak havoc on the skin. There are a few things to consider when choosing a mask and in fine-tuning an effective and gentle skincare regimen. Today I’m going to talk about the type of mask we should be wearing, the skincare issues we might start to notice due to frequent mask-wearing, and the solutions to ensure we have healthy, moisturized skin!
A lesson in mask making
First, let’s discuss the masks themselves. I don’t know many people who would voluntarily wear a mask for fun, I remember even as a child I didn’t like wearing masks at Halloween. They were uncomfortable, they moved around a lot, and they were hot and sweaty as you breathed. Sound familiar?
While we may not be wearing a full and scary Halloween mask during these evolving COVID-19 restrictions, there are definitely similarities. Let’s have a little lesson in textiles (I finally get to use my degree!) to see what’s really going on with these masks:
When you see “non-woven” fabric as a description, it means that the fabric is made by blowing together short fibers, primarily man-made, and binding them together by adding a polymer in liquid or powder form, then heating everything while simultaneously “punching” the web of fibers with serrated needles so that it creates an intermingled solid piece. This is very effective to make industrial fabrics for many uses, but not to wear on your body daily.
Most surgical style masks are a triple layer of non woven fabric: two non-woven layers sandwich a layer of melt-blown polypropylene that filters microbes. The entire mask is primarily made of synthetic fibers that are held together with some form of binding polymer. They are very effective for germ protection, but are meant to be single-use and are very abrasive to the skin.
Unless you are truly immunocompromised, a fabric mask (preferably 100% cotton) should be your daily go-to mask.
Solving mask-related skincare issues
If you’re saying to yourself, “I have a soft, natural fiber mask, why do I still have skin issues?” There are three main causes: friction, irritation, and obstruction. Let’s discuss the irritation first, the other two we will address with skincare. As a mask is used, it will retain the dirt and oils from your face. It’s very important to frequently clean your mask to prevent bacteria and yeast growth.
It’s equally important to use a very gentle and fragrance-free detergent, and double rinse to ensure that all detergent is removed from the fiber. So often as I am giving consultations to Kindred family members with dermatitis, my first question is to ask what detergent they’re using. Most laundry detergents are too strong and add color and fragrance to enhance your laundry experience. But these chemicals wreak havoc on your skin, especially the thin facial tissues. Personally, I use a gentle, organic cleanser for all my laundry, and I wash my mask out every night and hang it up to dry.
Now to address friction and the bumps, rashes, and dry patches from obstruction. Here’s my suggestion for daily mask-wearing skincare: Clean your skin regularly. The less dirt on your face, the less chance you will have for this dirt to be pressed into the pores by the continual friction of the mask rubbing against the skin. My go-to cleansers are oil-based and very gentle.
What a perfect time to start oil cleansing if you’re not already a convert! Oil cleansing is incredibly effective at removing oil, dirt, and makeup from your pores without over stripping the vulnerable top layers. Even though I normally only cleanse at night, I’ve started cleansing twice a day since wearing masks. Using our Complete Cleanse provides a perfect solution with its high levels of linoleic acid that target dermatitis, and tea tree oil to aid in skin health.
Wear a mask, but not that kind of mask!
Dermatitis is also caused by the warm, moist environment from our breath inside the mask. This can aggravate the clogged pores and even create folliculitis, when the hair follicles become infected with yeast or bacteria. Ironically, I am going to suggest you use a mask, no not that fabric one, a fun clay mask!
Our Clay Mask is gentle, yet so effective. The bentonite clay helps pull impurities out of the pores while the kaolin soothes overworked skin. The fruit acids and botanicals delicately exfoliate tough, keratinized skin allowing subsequent moisturizers to be optimally effective. The goal with constant cleansing and clay masking is to remove the dirt, yeast, bacteria, and impurities before they can be pressed into the skin with the mask.
Skin that is moisturized is protected, so after we cleanse we need to nourish before putting our mask back on. Our Intense Moisture is the perfect solution. It’s a natural antifungal and antibacterial barrier between our skin and the fabric of the mask. You will find the best results when used daily on dry skin. One of the primary ingredients, tamanu, has been used for millennia for wound healing, burns, acne, and scarring, making Intense Moisture the perfect shield for our skin!
What not to do when wearing a mask
Let’s talk about the things you should not be wearing on your skin with a mask. Heavy makeup, such as unnecessary foundation will only irritate and clog pores. Instead, focus more on playing up your eyes with a punch of color! In addition, harsh treatments like Retinols, benzoyl peroxide, and even some vitamin C products could aggravate skin when combined with the friction of the mask. I suggest using a gentle, moisturizing serum instead. Our oil-based Serum Magique has a host of powerhouse oils that soothe and plump the skin.
Skincare doesn’t have to suffer due to wearing masks. Let’s protect our health and our skin by combining cotton masks and oil-based skincare!
To sum up, here are my 6 face mask/skincare tips:
1. Wear a 100% cotton mask
2. Wash your mask often with very gentle soap
3. Cleanse your face regularly with oils to remove dirt and irritants
4. Use Clay Masks weekly to remove impurities
5. Moisturize often to create a barrier
6. Minimize using products that will clog pores or irritate the skin
Thank you for being part of our family!