With the government rules in the UK requiring people to wear face coverings in public places in order to fight the spread of COVID-19, those with sensitive skin, if you’re wondering how to fight what’s under the mask, then keep on reading.

The medical term for “maskne” is acne mechanica, a skin condition brought on by wearing facial personal protective equipment. Masks impose heat and friction on the skin and when combined with a moist environment from breathing, talking or sweating, this is a recipe for breakouts. Pores get clogged and can become pimples or acne cysts. On top of that, the prolonged wear, heat and sweat can cause the skin to become dry and itchy.

We’ve put together a 6-step guide to keep your skin in a good place:

  1. Wash your face first – Use an oil and fragrance-free cleanser and rinse with warm water. Your face should always be clean before you put on your mask to prevent dirt and oil from being trapped on the skin surface, which cause breakouts.
  2. Apply moisturiser – Acting as a barrier between your face and your mask to reduce friction alongside keeping your skin hydrated. Apply onto a cleansed face before and after wearing a mask. Look for moisturisers that contain hyaluronic acid to provide extra protection avoiding fragrances.
  3. Ditch the makeup – Wearing skin makeup under a mask causes clogged pores and breakouts, makeup residue will be left inside your mask.
  4. Wash your mask – If wearing a cotton mask wash after each use as its surface contains dirt and oil and can become a breeding ground for bacteria from your nose and mouth.
  5. Choose a fragrance-free laundry soap – Fragrances can irritate your skin — skip the fabric softener, too.
  6. Stay away from harsh products – Medicated skin care products that contain benzoyl peroxide, retinols and salicylic acid will be more irritating to the skin under a mask — be careful about how much and what you use.

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