As protective face masks become a norm in our lives, we need to learn how to protect our skin from the damage they can cause.
Problems that can arise or become exacerbated by wearing protective masks include: irritation caused by blocked hair follicles, moisture from breath and saliva, the material of the mask, pressure and friction on the nose and ears, rosacea and eczema. N95 masks, which are more structured, can cause bruising and temporary redness as well because of their tight fit, and friction.
Make sure the skin is cleansed, toned, and moisturized properly before applying your mask. Use gentle, hydrating products, and avoid anything too active. Skip makeup if possible.
If you are wearing an N95 or other structured mask, apply a thin barrier of balm to your nose, around your ears, and any other irritated part of the face. This acts as an added layer of protection against the friction and pressure that these masks put on the face.
As soon as you are able, remove your mask and rinse your face with lukewarm water and a washcloth. This helps rid the skin of any residue and pollutants.
Your evening routine should consist of a gentle cleanser, and a pH balancing toner, followed by a hydrating sheet mask and moisturizer. As a final anti-inflammatory step, glide an ice cube made of chamomile tea over your face (you can also glide an ice cube over your hydrating sheet mask.)
If you have any bruising or temporary redness, apply topical Arnica and a capillary strengthening serum, or an anti-redness mask. Massage can also help with redness, as it brings oxygen to the tissue.
Below are some of my recommendations for each step: