Now that wearing a face mask has become our new normal, many of us are experience breakouts. There is even a term for it: mask-ne aka mask acne. Obviously one way to prevent mask acne is to wash your face and wash your face mask. But how often? What products do you use? To answer those questions, I turned to my dermatologist. Dr. Jessica Wu, M.D. is the most incredible dermatologist in Los Angeles and the author of Feed Your Face. Here are are all of her tips on how to clean face masks and avoid mask-acne:
How often should I be washing my cloth face mask?
Ideally, I recommend taking off your cloth mask and putting it in the wash as soon as you get home. This is easier if you have several in rotation.
The second best option is to hang it outside, preferably where it gets some sun, for three days. One study showed that the Covid 19 virus only lives for two days on cloth, so three days should be fine.
How can I avoid mask-acne?
Maskne comes from friction and occlusion that irritates pores and causes congestion. To reduce friction, I suggest using an oil-free primer wherever the mask rubs on your face: typically the nose, top of the cheeks, and chin.
I’m currently using Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. It’s also a good idea to decongest clogged pores with an AHA/BHA treatment once or twice a week. Try The Ordinary AHA 30%/BHA 2% Peeling Solution or Glossier Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector.
It’s best to avoid physical scrubs if your skin is already chafed from your mask. Also, be sure to keep your mask clean to prevent overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria (and other bacteria).
What’s the best way to clean my cloth face mask?
Virus particles are destroyed by detergent and water, and they’re sensitive to heat, so wash your cloth mask in hot water.
If you’re worried about shrinkage or damaging the fabric, you could also use a UVC sterilizer, which I have in my office for my N95 masks that I cannot wash.
Thank you to Dr. Wu for helping us all stay safe and acne free!
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