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Maskne? Try These Skincare Tips for Essential Workers

By Manna Zel, she/they

It’s no secret that prolonged mask-wearing can sometimes get in the way of your skin goals, and chances are you’ve faced a breakout or two—or at least heard the term “maskne”—since protective face coverings were introduced into our wardrobes. As Jacob Tomás del Rosario, Senior Regional Sales + Education Executive at Youth To The People, explains, managing mask acne comes down to a few different tips—treat your skin where you need it and wash your masks.

“One of the things that I think is important to know about general mask-wearing—especially prolonged mask-wearing—is that you’re going to be exposing your skin to two different environments,” explains Jacob Tomás del Rosario, Senior Regional Sales + Education Executive at Youth To The People. And when you wear a mask long-term, you’ll probably begin to see one of two typical skin conditions that del Rosario knows just how to treat.

STRIP YOUR ROUTINE DOWN TO THE BASICS

Congestion and occlusion around the skin where the mask is being worn—especially if you have combo/oily skin—will likely manifest in visible signs of acne, breakouts, and irritation. 

“This can act like a liquid bandage, trapping in moisture,” del Rosario says. “When you wear a mask and breathe into it, creating a natural humidity of sorts, anything on the skin causing this occlusion—like a buildup of oil, sweat, and possibly dirt—will lead to breakouts.” If congestion and occlusion is your concern, even just in certain areas, keep your skincare and makeup as lightweight as possible and always start your routine with clean skin. In other words, think about simplifying your routine, minimizing the amount of emollient or heavier products that you’re using. 

“Strip your routine down to the basics—cleanser, a lightweight moisturizer, and SPF. You don’t want to wear a mask on top of skin that’s not freshly cleansed, because then that will further encapsulate any bacteria that’s existing on the skin,” says del Rosario. When you’re prepping your skin for a long day of mask-wearing—or looking to treat your skin afterward—del Rosario recommends cleansing your skin to reduce the feeling of buildup or itchiness on the skin. This is why he loves Youth To The People’s Superfood Cleanser—it won’t leave your skin feeling depleted after multiple washes, so you can use it as needed throughout the day, or even just specifically where your skin needs a cleanse.

After a fresh cleanse, del Rosario recommends following up with Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream and a really lightweight SPF. But if you’re looking for an extra dose of vitamin C, clean caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and squalane, use the 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum after cleansing.

“Because of the hyaluronic acid and squalane, the Energy Serum is lightweight in nature,” says del Rosario. It’s non-congestive, and doesn’t create that stickiness or additional layer of feeling on the skin that some serums can create.”

KEEP DRY + IRRITATED SKIN HYDRATED

If you’re facing irritation from the mask rubbing against your face, that’s when del Rosario says it’s time to look for occlusive products like YTTP’s Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask or Superberry Dream Oil. But if you’re experiencing both—a rubbing irritation around the jawline and occlusion, heaviness, and congestion around the cheeks—try layering products as needed.

“Warm up a little bit of oil in your hands and press it into the areas that are experiencing redness, irritation, or the dry flakiness that can come from the repetitive motion of pulling the mask on and off or chronic movement from speaking while wearing a mask,” del Rosario explains. “Pay attention to the signals your skin is giving you and use the correct products to address your specific concerns.”

Alternatively, del Rosario recommends a blend of the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream and Dream Oil, to give the occlusion in those areas where you want to create that barrier to protect against any irritation.

MAKE SURE YOUR MASK IS BREATHABLE + CLEAN

If you’re using a reusable mask, don’t forget to wash it regularly! 

“Someone once said, ‘Treat your mask like your underwear,’ which is funny, but true—it’s a sensitive area!” says del Rosario. “You’re breathing on your mask, obviously, so you’re creating this environment that needs to be treated appropriately. To really minimize the experiences that we can sometimes get from general mask-wearing in everyday life, make sure you’re hand-washing your mask as often as possible—after every use, if you can.”