To be clear, I really love my face masks. Since April, I’ve been collecting all kinds of different coverage — mostly sourced from local shops and brands but I did spring for a Larry David mask that is, admittedly, my favorite. However, there is one thing that threatens to create a toxic relationship between me and my face masks: the breakouts they’ve been causing. When you come for my skincare routine, you come for me.
To help keep the peace between my face and the vital accessory — which will now be even more important thanks to Dallas County commissioners’ new order — I spoke with Mesha Williams of Luxxy Brow & Skin Studio in Uptown, an esthetician who has been sharing face mask skincare tips to Instagram since early last month.
Have a lot of clients reached out to you about face mask related breakouts or rosacea?
I’ve certainly had an increase of clients over the past couple of months that have expressed concerns about experiencing breakouts and rosacea flare-ups more than usual, particularly around the cheek and mouth area. Between us talking with our masks on, temperatures rising outside, and constant friction against our skin, masks can quickly become the perfect breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria and irritations.
What are some easy mask wearing tips for those wanting to protect their skin?
It’s essential to make sure your mask isn’t on too tight to avoid unnecessary friction. If you use cloth masks, make sure to wash them frequently or rotate them out with another mask every few days, or less depending on how soiled they may be. When it comes to disposable masks, of course, it’s best not to reuse them unless you absolutely have to. When it comes to removing or pulling down your mask, make sure to avoid touching your face, as your hands are not always the cleanest. Washing your face right after sweaty activity or long periods of mask-wearing will help keep your skin blemish-free.
What material of mask is the least irritating to the skin? What material is the most?
I’ve tried many different masks over the last few months, and I’ve found that silk and neoprene masks are some of the softest, most breathable fabrics that allow for airflow, whisking away from sweat from the face, quick to dry, and overall less irritating to the skin. In my opinion, cotton masks are the most irritating, have limited airflow, increase chances of sweating, cause the most friction, and increase the chances of incurring flare-ups or breakouts.
If you have to put a face mask on over a breakout, are there any tips to doing so that won’t cause further damage?
If you have to cover a breakout, make sure your skin is well hydrated — not dry or flaky — as you don’t want to exacerbate an area that is already compromised. Covering your breakout with an acne spot treatment or patches will help to heal it while also providing some protection.
Do you think people’s skin will adapt to face mask wearing over time as they become a part of our everyday routine?
It’s hard to say just yet whether or not people’s skin will adapt, as this pandemic is unlike anything we have never experienced before. Texas summers can be brutal and can exacerbate the problem, but I’m confident that if people are mindful of their mask-hygiene etiquette, they can cut down on the chances of repeat breakouts and flare-ups before they happen.