Mask Skin Care Tips from The Spa at Shangri-La
Clients Ask: Can Face Masks Cause Acne?
By: Marie Adamo and Shana Hartley
Masks: We love the protection they offer, but we don’t love what they’re doing to our skin. It’s likely you are asking the burning question, “Can face masks cause acne?” The unfortunate answer is: “Yes.” Face masks have become a normal part of daily life and, as spa professionals, we have solutions (and relief!) from mask-induced acne and irritation for you. To help, we enlisted some of our favorite skin care experts (our Eminence Organics International Trainers) to share their best advice on how to clear skin — even under a mask.
Masking: The Environment And Your Skin
To start, we need to chat about your masking and mask care habits. While this is a new area of self care for all of us, it’s important to get it right in order to curb the development of acne and breakouts caused by face masks.
As a Certified B Corporation, our company is proud of our commitment to the environment. For this reason, we always recommend using reusable face masks. (In fact, you may have already noticed your local Eminence Organics representatives and estheticians sporting their reusable Eminence Organics masks!) However, reusable masks do require extra care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage “regular” washing of reusable masks, and infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalja specifies: “It’s best to wash them after each use, [as] the mask itself can become contaminated.”
“Why Do Face Masks Make Me Break Out?”
While wearing face masks is a habit that’s essential for our safety, Eminence Organics International Trainer Jude Herrera reminds us that keeping them clean is essential for our skin and helps prevent breakouts: “Masks that are reused can harbor oils and bacteria. They also trap heat and moisture against the skin, allowing bacteria to thrive, which can cause acne and irritation.” He recommends using color- and fragrance-free detergents for lower risk of irritation. Pro tip: Don’t want to do laundry every day? Neither do we! We recommend stocking up on a few different masks and throwing them all in with your weekly load.
If you must use disposable masks, International Trainer Katie Rattray says specific materials should be avoided because they can cause problem skin. Specifically, she warns us to “watch out for latex, which can increase the likelihood of contact dermatitis.” Similarly, our makeup can also cause irritation and acne under our face masks. International Trainer Hector Rafael says to avoid using poor quality cosmetics, which are often comedogenic (in other words, pore-clogging).
And finally, step outside for a mask break when you can! “Taking breaks allows for a clean flow of oxygen,” says Hector, and these breaks give any bacteria-friendly moisture a chance to dry out.
Prevent Breakouts From Mask-Wearing
Once you have your mask care habits down, it’s time to adjust your skin care routine. After all, it’s always better to prevent breakouts than to wait until you need treatment.
Katie says the two most effective ways to keep mask-induced breakouts at bay are to 1) create a barrier between the skin and mask and 2) stay hydrated. “Masks seem to suck up and draw out any moisture from the skin,” says Katie. She recommends upping your skin game with facial oils during the day: “Not only will this seal in moisture, but it creates a physical barrier from the mask.” The Facial Recovery Oil is the perfect option for clients who are breakout-prone already, whereas dryer skin types will love the Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm. She also recommends that hydration continues at night with richer creams for overnight use.
For International Trainer Brian Goodwin, prevention starts with the first step in any skin care routine. Brian says: “If you are using a cleanser with exfoliating beads or harsh foaming agents, switch to a gentler cleanser that won’t compromise their skin, increasing the chance of irritation.” Try the Calm Skin Chamomile Cleanser for sensitive skin and to keep the skin’s protective moisture barrier intact. For problem skin, the Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser purifies and reduces oil with salicylic acid, while yogurt moisturizes and cools.
Still, many of you are heading back to work and school, which can mean 8+ hours of mask wear. That’s a lot of time to trap oil, heat and potential bacteria on the skin. For those that require more than the typical morning and evening cleanse, try Brian’s solution — DIY on-the-go cleansing pads!
How it works: Apply the Rice Milk 3-in-1 Cleansing Water or the Clear Skin Willow Bark Exfoliating Peel to a clean cotton round. Seal it in a small bag or air-tight container and take it with you. “Use it in the middle of the day to remove residue and cleanse where the mask has been in contact with,” he instructs. “Rather than scrubbing, gently glide the pad over the skin with minimal pressure.”
Treat Mask-Induced Breakouts
Of course, no matter how well we cleanse and prepare, stubborn skin conditions can still surface. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to treat breakouts and irritation caused by face masks.
To zero in on problem areas, Brian recommends using the Clear Skin Targeted Treatment as a “Tide to go-like” spot treatment. The concentrated formula will flush out pores and improve the appearance of skin that looks irritated by mask wear. The Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer also works quickly on problem skin – plus, the cucumber in it leaves a cooling sensation that’s especially welcome after a long day of mask wear.
And while it may seem counter-intuitive, a little extra heat can also help. A spicy masque like the Eight Greens Phyto Masque – Hot creates a warming sensation on the skin, helping improve the appearance of breakouts. You can also book a series of spicy treatments — such as our Blueberry Detox Firming Peel — for a regular dose of heat and a professional exfoliation. Just remember, for those with sensitive skin, we will start with a test patch to see how they respond to the sensation.
Lastly, you’ll want to get set up with a nourishing night treatment. As trans-epidermal water loss peaks while we sleep, it’s more important than ever to hydrate. Our top picks? “The Facial Recovery Oil is a great nighttime treatment for balancing sensitive or problem skin,” says Jude. For dry skin, Katie recommends the ultra-rich Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm for its protective Natural Repair Complex. And finally, the Acne Advanced Clarifying Hydrator is a powerhouse at treating acne without drying out the skin. Jude recommends mixing this award winner with your nightly serums.
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While the cause of mask-induced acne and irritation may be new, the skin conditions are not. We have the full range of products to help you avoid the unfortunate effects masks have on the skin.
To enhance your mask skin care routine even further, try our selection of clear skin essentials, or have a complimentary consultation with one of our licensed professionals, give us a call at 918-257-7734 today.