It is safe to say that we are all struggling with the proverbial “new normal”, a phrase we can say has exhausted itself in such a short time.  It is because it doesn’t seem to come with many perks [outside of keeping us safe and healthy from COVID-19].  One of the ways life has changed for us all is by way of mask wearing everywhere you go.  Whether you are at the grocery store or picking up food to go, it is often a requirement by public works or the businesses you are entering that you wear a mask.  

Wearing a mask helps protect you from getting sick but it is not the best for your skin.  Typically, wearing anything over your face for a long period of time will cause irritation but certain fabrics that are less breathable make it worse.  In addition, the humidity from your breath over time creates excess oil and sebum production. The natural dirt and oil that is on your skin (and makeup if you are wearing that as well) mixes together and creates a lovely concoction building bacteria which typically results in a breakout.  First of all, cotton material is your best bet.  Personally, at first, I was more concerned about supporting local businesses and looking fashionable so I bought one that was made from recycled jean- stiff and not the most breathable material you can imagine… 

When you know you are going to wear a mask for an extended period of time make sure you cleanse your skin thoroughly beforehand.  Use a toner, then apply a serum that will lift dirt, debris, and oil to avoid clogging pores aka Serum 11 :).  Avoid wearing any makeup if you can because it is just an additional layer of coverage that makes it even harder for your skin to breath [causing more sebum production].  If you do experience a flare up, try using a pore clearing mask a few times a week- recommendations are GlamGlow Mud Mask or Arcona Magic Black Ice.  If you are required to wear a mask for several hours and are unable to wash your face in between the duration of time, bring face wipes.  This applies to, for example, if you are on a long flight or working all day as an Uber driver or a hair stylist. Make no mistake, this should not be a substitute for washing your face.  Using a wipe on your face after a long day is the equivalent to taking a dirty dish and wiping it down with a napkin instead of using soap and water.  Once you are able to thoroughly cleanse, ice your face and reapply a serum that will nourish and combat inflammation as well as breakouts, again Serum 11 :).  This can be applied morning and night but please be sure to apply sunscreen.

The circumstances are not ideal but all we can do is keep ourselves safe and as healthy as possible.  Taking time for personal care is a great way for you to treat yourself with love and compassion during tough times- don’t let it become trivial, it is vital. You are your best self when you are rested, revitalized, and confident.

Written by Allyson Welch

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