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  • Writer's pictureCoralee Shaman

Unmasking healthy skin

In the pre-pandemic world, my clients and I talked about hydrating or pore-minimizing masks. These days we’re talking about N95, medical and cloth masks and how to treat the skin irritations caused by masks.

If you’re experiencing "maskne" (aka pimples) or flare-ups of existing conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis from wearing a mask, you’re not alone. Many of my clients have asked me what they can do to stop acne breakouts or contact dermatitis. I’ve put together a list of dos and don'ts based on my personal experience wearing masks and the recommendations of leading dermatologists.

  1. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle skin cleanser. Stick to gentle, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic skin cleansers such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser or Vivier Hexam gentle cleanser. Now is not the time for exfoliating or multi-ingredient cleansers—they may do more harm than good. Wash your face with clean fingers and avoid face cloths or buff puffs.

  2. Moisturize. After you have washed your face, apply moisturizer. Make sure your moisturizer is light, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Wait 15 minutes before masking up. If you’ve ever used moisture gloves or socks, you’ll know that cloth intensifies the effect of your moisturizer. Let your moisturizer absorb and then put on a clean mask. You can use a heavier moisturizer or targeted treatments for acne and other conditions before you go to bed.

  3. Go makeup-free. I can not stress this enough! Wearing a heavy foundation under a mask is a recipe for a breakout. Skip the makeup and invest in a non-irritating mineral sunscreen.

  4. Use a clean mask every day. It does not take long for microbes to collect, especially when the weather is hot and humid. Try a copper-infused cloth mask. The copper will eradicate microbes on its own; it will also help calm inflamed skin. Be sure to wash your cloth mask every time you use it.

I’ve outlined the basics, but I can make specific product recommendations for clients who are acne-prone or have conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea. If you describe the issues you’re having before you see me next, I’ll be able to do my research and make some recommendations during your appointment.

As always, I am here to help. Please call or email any time you have questions. Stay safe and don’t forget to wear sunscreen, breathe deeply and hydrate! Check back soon. In my next blog, I will discuss some of my favourite types of masks and how to wear them to minimize friction.


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