We now find ourselves in a new era where the word “face mask” has a double meaning, and in this new world wearing protective face masks has now become common practice. Unfortunately, many of us are finding that this is causing a range of different issues for our skin. Wearing a mask constantly causes a microclimate of heat and humidity for the skin. (Like the muggiest, stickiest of summer days x 20!) This unfavorable microclimate causes depletion in the skin’s natural oils and moisture which causes dehydration, dryness and sensitivity. Not only this but friction on the face can cause the skin to become irritated and inflamed and for the pores to clog. So, all in all not the most ideal situation for the skin to thrive in, but there are definitely some measures we can take to support and nurture the skin back into balance.
Here are a few tips from our in house holistic facialist Lauren for caring for your skin and supporting and nourishing it during these mask-wearing times.
Double cleansing your skin morning and night
Cleansing the skin morning and night is key and doing it twice ensures that all of the build up and impurities from the day can be removed effectively. Using an oil cleanser followed by a cream cleanser is ideal. The oil cleanser sinks into the pores and allows the products and impurities to melt away and the second cleanse works its way into any remaining areas. This method also leaves a fresh clean skin ready to deeply absorb the ingredients applied afterwards. I recommend using the Tata Harper Nourishing oil cleanser followed by Tata Harper Superkind Softening Cleanser or the MV 9 Oil Cleanser followed by MV Gentle Cream Cleanser
Keep it simple – less is more
When it comes to wearing skincare products underneath your mask, simplicity is key. Avoid wearing makeup underneath where the mask will sit. A layer of foundation will only cause a build up of unnecessary product that will block the skin from breathing and cause the pores to block. The same goes with sunscreen, if you are staying inside or wearing your mask most of the day, I recommend avoiding wearing sunscreen in the area where the mask covers. Sunscreen will once again cause another layer of product that will make it difficult for the skin to breath and also cause the pores to become clogged. You can then of course choose to apply sunscreen if and when necessary
Reparative and supportive skincare products
The type of product you need will of course depend on your skin type. If your skin is prone to oil build up and acne then lighter products are key, although you still need to keep the skin nourished and hydrated. If you are prone to dry and dehydrated skin, using products with deeply nourishing oils will be beneficial. But, regardless of your skin type, we are looking at treating a sensitized area of skin in this situation. Which means that the skin’s natural barrier is being compromised by external irritants and it is best to use ingredients that are going to repair and fortify the skin’s natural protective barrier while feeding and nourishing it.
My top recommendation would be the Tata Harper Superkind range which is specifically designed to fortify the skin barrier and revitalize reactive skin. Each formula in the collection contains a beautiful collection of ingredients to calm, strengthen and nourish the skin. The Superkind Bio Barrier Serum and Superkind Fortifying moisturiser are ideal lightweight formulas for wearing underneath a mask.
Avoid over exfoliating
Although it can feel like the best thing to do when the skin is raised and pores are blocked is to give it a good old scrub, but this can be counterproductive, and cause the skin to become even more irritated and reactive, throwing off the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Avoid using any intense physical scrubs during this time. Ideally a cleanser with a gentle fruit acid in it or a gentle AHA exfoliant once a week will be more than sufficient and allows the skin to maintain it’s own natural protective barrier. I recommend Tata Harper Softening cleanser or MV Gentle Cream cleanser both contain gentle exfoliating ingredients.
Combat the mask with a mask
In the evening and when you are not wearing your protective mask is the ideal time to feed the skin up on intensely nourishing and restorative ingredients that will soothe and restore moisture levels. Use all those beautifully thick and nourishing products that you can’t wear during the daytime. Applying a facial mask each night or every second night is ideal, especially if you are wearing a protective mask for long periods of time durng the day. My recommendation would be to alternate between Tata Harper Radiance mask and the MV Signature mineral mask. Both of these masks have beautifully balancing, calming, nourishing and reparative effects on the skin.
Sleeping with a silk pillowcase
The friction from wearing a mask on your skin all day can cause irritation and sensitivity. Giving the skin a wee holiday from this friction by sleeping on a beautifully soft silk pillowcase is very cooling and soothing which creates the optimal condition for the skin to repair itself. We recommend the Penny and Bennett beauty pillows which are made here in NZ from mulberry silk.
A drop of essential oil on your mask
Another one of my favorite mask-wearing tips is to put 1 drop of essential oil on the outside of your mask to assist with breathing. This trick can make wearing a mask a little more bearable. Uplifting and respiratory supporting essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, orange and lemon are ideal. My favourite is De Mamiel Altitude oil, this wonderful inhalation essence helps us to keep a clear head, opens up the airways and boosting the immune system.
If you have further questions: