How to Look After Your Skin While Wearing a Face Mask

2 min read
New York-based illustrator and designer, Jenny Walton, made a mask from a Prada dust bag

Suffering from ‘maskne’? You’re not alone. Here’s how to protect your skin from the side effects linked to wearing a mask 


In our new normal, the face mask has become spring’s most coveted accessory with all UAE residents required to wear one when leaving the home. While the face mask is intended to keep you safe, it can cause some less than desirable side effects when it comes to your skin; from breakouts to irritation. 

“Any fabric that rubs against your skin may lead to friction and irritation,” says Dubai skincare expert, Rebecca Treston. “Also, oil, sweat, dirt, and makeup can build up under the fabric, which can lead to rashes or even acne breakouts, especially in areas where the mask directly comes in contact with your skin.”

“In addition, there’s the fact that you’re trapping your own breath and creating a warm, moist environment, making skin more susceptible to spots and irritation.” With that in mind, here are the measures Rebecca Treston recommends to take before and after wearing a face mask. 

It’s important to consider the fabric of your mask. Avoid synthetic materials where possible and choose something soft and natural like cotton. 

Give your makeup some time off: if you can, it’s a good idea to let your skin breathe when wearing a mask out and about. Makeup can rub against the fabric of the mask and can cause further occlusion of oil glands and pores, potentially making breakouts worse. Ditch your foundation and instead focus on a cool eye shadow if you still want to play with makeup.

Shelf any strong cleansers or exfoliators, for now. Harsh facial cleansers can disrupt the outer skin layer, leading to dryness and inflammation. This makes it more likely that you’ll develop irritation from a mask that’s on your face. If you’re experiencing breakouts already, add salicylic acid to your routine.

Using a cleanser that contains salicylic acid is great as the acid cleans deep inside your pores to reduce excessive oils and sebum. It’s still important to cleanse your face, especially when you remove the mask as this will kill off any acne-causing bacteria.

Keep an extra-close eye on your skin since it might need special care after using a mask. If you’re breaking out, focus on spot treatments and acne cleansers, and if you’re developing a rash or dryness, look for healing, soothing products. If you’re prone to irritation, Pavitt recommends using a thick barrier cream before wearing your mask to prevent rubbing and focus on calming balms and oils instead of powerful actives.


face mask skin care

Purity One-Step Facial Cleanser, PHILOSOPHY | Face Masks, PROENZA SCHOULER | Barrier Repair, DERMALOGICA

Read Next: How to Give Your Hair Some TLC At-Home

  • Images: Supplied, Instagram