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Face Mask For Sensitive Skin: Tips To Prevent Skin Irritations

📅 September 3, 2021

After wearing a face mask every day for several months, more than a third of frontline health care employees experienced unpleasant skin responses. Acne, face irritation, and rash have been the most common ailments.

However, wearing face masks is essential in fighting against the coronavirus. So, what can we do?

Read on to learn more about face masks, how they affect sensitive skin and what you can do to soothe it.

How do face masks affect sensitive skin?

Medical, N95 and cloth face masks can all cause skin irritations, such as acne, rashes, and itchiness. In fact, the term ‘maskne’ was made popular during the pandemic to describe acne caused by the wearing of face masks.

Want to learn more about maskne? Read our article on: “Maskne: Preventing acne from face masks”

These irritations are caused by friction of the mask’s fabric on the face that destroys the skin’s outer protective layer, leading to increased oil gland blockage and acne. Additionally, the moist condition fostered by the masks makes it perfect for bacteria to grow.

There’s also the continual adjusting of the face mask, which is especially difficult when you’re initially getting used to it. This increases your chances of getting mask acne.

People with sensitive skin are more prone to getting it as their skin reacts to toxic substances easier than those without that underlying issue.

Best face mask for sensitive skin

Photo by gryffyn m on Unsplash

Here’s a list of masks that are more suitable for you to use:

Reusable face mask

Reusable face masks are made from soft, natural fabrics, hence, they are less likely to irritate the skin.

Fabric masks are ideal for acne-prone and sensitive skin since the cloth is more absorbent, absorbing perspiration and moisture, which results in fewer outbreaks.

For instance, PROXMASK’s face masks are carefully designed with antiviral fabrics, which not only increase breathability but is not harsh on sensitive skin.

Hypoallergenic face mask

It’s not only about sensitive acne-prone skin; some of us might also be allergic to particular materials in other ways. If you have eczema flare-ups, skin rashes, or other allergic reactions when using a face mask, a hypoallergenic face mask might be the answer for you.

Silk face mask

Silk is a soft, skin-friendly alternative to nearly every other fabric available. It’s well-known for its silky smooth texture, and nothing comes close to it in terms of softness.

Additionally, silk flows over the skin instead of scratching and snagging it. It’s so light and smooth that you won’t even know it’s there. This makes it a sensible alternative for anyone with sensitive skin or who is experiencing maskne.

When you choose a silk mask, you will benefit from the fabric’s cool and breathable characteristics. It’s very soft, making it more comfortable to wear and allowing you to breathe freely without trapping the heated moisture from your breath within.

Tips to prevent skin allergies when wearing face masks

Photo by Lumin on Unsplash

Most of the time prevention is better than cure. You can take the extra step in preventing skin allergies by following these simple steps: 

• Change masks every day

If you’re using disposable face masks, change them after each use. When face masks are not cleaned and are reused, bacteria might be prevalent on them. Wearing a contaminated mask repeatedly will make your face more prone to acne or allergic reactions.

• Skincare 

You should properly wash your face before and after using a mask, just as you would your hands. To get rid of the oil, use a cleanser.

Look for a face cleanser that contains salicylic acid if you have oily skin. This will assist to remove excess oil and dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, preventing flare-ups and blocked pores.

Also, moisturise, regardless of your skin type. The easiest approach to reduce friction between the skin and the mask is to apply moisturiser to your face throughout the day. The moisturiser also creates a barrier between bacteria and your skin surface. 

• Limit makeup usage

It will be best to keep makeup to a minimum, especially foundations and concealers with thick formulas.

This is due to the increased humidity under the mask. It might impact your skin’s sebum production and perhaps contribute to an increase in blocked pores and breakouts

• Care for your masks

If you’re using a reusable face mask, keeping it clean is very important. Make sure to wash your mask on a regular basis with hot water and soap, and then air dry it. In fact, it is recommended that you wash it daily. Washed masks should be kept properly to avoid contamination.

Read our article on “washable face masks” to know more.

Strong, fragranced detergents and softeners should be avoided since the chemicals might irritate the skin. Keep two to three reusable masks on hand and rotate them so that you always have a clean, fresh one.

• Ensure a good fit

When you wear your face mask, make sure it fits snugly and comfortably around your mouth and nose. This will prevent the mask from constantly slipping from your face. The less friction and less touching there is, the possibility of you not getting mask acne will be greater.

Concluding remarks

There are many things you can do to care for your sensitive skin, from wearing the right face mask to washing it regularly. Just follow these steps and you’re one step closer to having better skin health. Also remember, after you’ve put on your mask, don’t touch it again. This not only irritates the skin but also spreads viruses.


Yii Change Bong

Medical Officer, Proxmask

Dr Yii Change Bong is an occupational health doctor with demonstrated experience working with the Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Having worked as a Medical Officer in Hospital Umum Sarawak and Sarawak General Hospital, Kuching for more than 5 years, he holds a strong presence in the fields of occupational health services, medical surveillance, and also in providing medical education.

In 2020 Dr Bong was the COVID-19 taskforce PPE liaison as the person in charge of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers in the hospital during the early stages of the pandemic.


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