In light of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, many of us have been donning surgical masks or even N95 masks as precautionary measures against the spread of viruses.
However, did you know that by wearing a mask for long hours, especially in Singapore’s hot and humid climate, you could be damaging your skin instead?
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to choose beauty over your health or vice versa: you just have to take better care of your skin and pay more attention to your beauty routine! These tips and tricks shared by experts will help you to keep your skin just as healthy:
Avoid using oily beauty products
We know dewy skin is still a thing, and many of us use moisturising skincare products and oil-based cushion foundations in order to keep our skin glowing all day.
When you wear tight surgical masks for long periods of time, the oil from your cosmetic products or excess sebum from your pores gets on the inside of your mask and stays in contact with your skin for as long as you are donning the mask.
Now just imagine that your skin is already finding it hard to breathe within the confines of your mask, and all that oil is just staying on your skin for hours – a sure recipe for clogged pores and acne breakouts!
Use mattifying beauty products to keep your skin less oily
On the same note, experts recommend those with combination or oilier skin types to use products that can whisk away oil from the face and mattify the skin for long hours.
Pressed powders and matte foundations will be your best pick – try the Laura Mercier Translucent Pressed Setting Powder and Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation for long-staying makeup that keeps sebum production under control.
It’s not just about your makeup though: your skincare products should also mattify your skin and not add extra grease or oil. Skip the greasy moisturisers and pick lightweight ones such as La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat, an oil-free & non-comedogenic moisturiser developed for oily skin.
Wear less, or even no makeup
We know you still want to look gorgeous even while protecting yourself, but the truth is that thick makeup and lack of good ventilation simply do not go well together.
Dermatologists recommend that you skip makeup completely, or do lighter makeup so that it’s easier for your skin to breathe.
If you feel that your makeup may be a bit thick and your skin feels uncomfortable after some time, find a suitable time to take off your mask for a short while and let your skin breathe.
Once you reach home, immediately remove all traces of makeup and cleanse your skin well so that there’s a lower chance of getting your pores clogged.
Remember to exfoliate
Exfoliation may not be a regular habit of yours, but if you are wearing surgical masks regularly, this step is a must-do if you want to prevent acne breakouts.
Chemical exfoliators, in particular, are perfect for penetrating deep into your pores to clear out dead skin and oil which may have accumulated there throughout the time that you wear your surgical masks.
Those with oily and acne-prone skin types, or who notice that their skin looks oilier these days from donning the tight masks for long durations, may want to consider using exfoliators with strong duty BHAs, including the all-time favourite Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil.
You are recommended to exfoliate two to three times a week, depending on your skin type and mask-wearing habits.
Always double cleanse, especially if you are wearing makeup
You might be able to get away with just one round of cleansing on normal days, but this doesn’t work if your skin is barely able to breathe in a hot, enclosed space for hours.
For the uninitiated, double cleansing involves using a cleansing oil, cleansing balm, or micellar water to wash off make-up, SPF and sebum on the surface of your skin first, before following up with a deeper water-based cleanse using facial foam or cream.
By cleansing your face twice, you make sure that you are thoroughly removing sweat, bacteria, and old skin cells all the way from deep inside the pores, but of course without drying out your skin.
Do sheet masks more regularly
It may sound pretty ironic that we are encouraging you to move from one mask to another, but wearing surgical masks can be very damaging for your skin, and there’s no better way to help your skin restore its balance than with a sheet that is soaked in skin-loving nutrients.
Sheet masks are especially effective because they work as a physical barrier that seals your skin with a mixture of ingredients that work wonders for your skin, be it soothing, hydrating, or blemish-banishing.
If you’ve been doing just one sheet mask per month, it’s time for you to step it up to at least once per week. Those who need an extra boost may consider doing more frequently – see our article here for daily sheet mask recommendations.
Be prepared to deal with acne breakouts & other skin issues on your cheeks and jaw
While we advocate that prevention is better than cure, tight surgical masks worn over a long period of time can create such a bad environment for your skin that acne breakouts are inevitable.
In addition, other skin problems that may arise include rashes on sensitive skin, rosacea flareups, and even peeling skin.
You’d want to have solutions for these problems on hand before they even occur, so remember to stock up on your usual acne and sensitive skin cures!
You may check out our recommendations for the following skin types:
- For sensitive skin: Toners for sensitive skin, moisturisers for sensitive skin
- Acne-prone skin: Getting rid of pimples overnight, acne facials, acne treatment products, acne patches
Featured image credits: Ikidane Nippon