5 Common Skin Concerns Caused by Face Masks and How to Prevent Them!

The pandemic has brought on its set of global challenges, but while face-covering in public places requires some form of adjustment, it has also started to take a toll on people's skin. Two-thirds of Australians support the use of face masks in all public places. It is now mandatory to wear face masks in indoor settings for greater Sydney.  

While some people treat this face-covering as a fashion statement, it has become necessary rather than a luxury. Despite covering only a small patch of skin, obscuring it for long periods, and restricting the moist air we exhale repeatedly affects our natural skin in more ways than one. 

Dry Skin

A woman applying moisturiser on her cheek

Nearly four in five people in Australia say they have changed their regular routine to include wearing a mask. Some face covers absorb the natural moisture on your skin, making it dry and dehydrated. 

In this case, using a natural moisturiser after washing your face can help you achieve healthy, glowing skin, as it contains ceramides that restore the disrupted skin barrier inherent in dry skin. Alcohol-containing moisturising face creams don't suit dry skin. They're known to enflame this skin type and cause further problems. You can also use Vitamin C serums for skin-brightening purposes.


A woman examining a pimple on her face

If you're obligated to wearing a face mask while spending prolonged hours in a public place, you're probably experiencing breakouts on your face. Combine that with oily skin, and the matter just got worse. This is because a face mask traps acne-causing sebum and bacteria on the skin, producing blackheads, inflammatory acne, and whiteheads. 

It's no wonder that the Australian skincare products market is expected to reach USD 219.28 million by 2024. Over-the-counter benzoyl, peroxide-containing acne washes, or salicylic acid-containing acne washes can help treat acne flares or prevent them. 

You can also look for topicals with active ingredients like niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) to prevent breakouts. Using natural beauty products that are light weight is a necessity because they’ll keep your pores unclogged and prevent more acne.

Sensitive skin can show an allergic reaction to a face covering. Some face masks might cause more irritation than others, due to the materials they're made with. For this problem, you can change the type of face mask you're currently using.

Tender Spots

A woman with sensitive skin in a top bun and long sweater

Wearing a face mask is recommended by Australian health experts where community transmission of the coronavirus is high and physical distancing isn't possible. However, the constant mask rubbing on your nose and ears can make these areas tender. 

To reduce repeated friction, you can use over-the-counter barrier creams like petroleum jelly to relieve pain in sensitive spots. Alter the type of facial covering you use to bandanas, or you can attach plastic handles that reduce the weight of elastic loops on your ears. 

Facial Flushing

A woman wearing a face mask and a brown coat

Redness and pus-filled bumps or rosacea commonly affect people with fair skin, blue eyes, and Celtic or European origin. But wearing face masks for long durations can cause heat and sweat on the facial area, including the cheeks and chin.

If you're suffering from this skin condition, a facial covering can make things worse by increasing your skin's temperature and sweating. Consulting a dermatologist can help you treat rosacea, but you can temporarily cool the skin by taking the mask off whenever they can. Avoid alcohol-containing products or other fragrances that can contribute to skin irritation.

Prevention for All Skin Types 

People living in hot, humid climates or those with oily skin should use a gel moisturiser to prevent breakouts. A lotion is suitable for normal skin, while creams are best for dry skin types. 

Cosmetic Use 


Wearing a face mask can also cause your lips to become dry, so apply petroleum jelly to your lips before putting on your facial covering, after washing your face, or before heading to bed. 

Unless there's an absolute need, skipping on your makeup routine when you've got your mask on is the smart thing to do. But if you must apply facial cosmetics, use non-comedogenic products that keep your pores unclogged. 

Skincare Products

You should also avoid using abrasive products to reduce skin problems since that can aggravate skin irritation. By shifting to a snug but comfortable face mask made of breathable fabrics like cotton, you can maintain soft, supple skin with relative ease. 

Changing your regular skincare routine to adapt to the new normal is the best thing for all skin types. Add a fragrance-free cleanser to your daily skincare regimen to remove oil, dirt, and other skin irritants. Make sure you use a gentle fragrance-free moisturising facial cream after cleansing. 

Any zinc-containing balms like petroleum jelly should be applied, especially behind the ears, since they bear a lot of pressure from your face mask's straps. You should also avoid putting makeup on the areas covered by your face mask since they can cause skin flares from the mask's pressure. 

About the Author

Efani Co. is an Australian-based skincare company that focuses on reliable natural skincare products. Using expert-developed solutions and potent natural ingredients, Efani Co. commits to offer skincare with care and compassion, addressing varying skin issues. The products are backed with research or validated with actual results from real Australian women.

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