How To Protect Your Skin While Wearing A Face Mask

Published on June 16, 2020

Wearing a face mask is one of the most important things we can all do to protect ourselves and each other during this COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, wearing a face mask can wreak havoc on the skin underneath. Especially for those of us who are essential workers and have to wear them for long periods of time.

Face masks can cause breakouts, chafing, and extremely dry skin. They are generally irritating and can exacerbate eczema, rosacea, and any other skin conditions you might have. Even for perfectly normal skin under normal circumstances, face masks can cause problems. The good news is there are a whole bunch of ways you can minimize the unpleasant side effects that wearing a face mask has on your skin.


The key to healthy skin is hydration. The best thing you can do to keep your skin happy and healthy under that face mask is to keep it hydrated. This will prevent irritation, peeling, cakey looking makeup, and all sorts of other skin woes.

One of the most effective ways to boost your skin’s hydration with Paula’s Choice SKIN RECOVERY Hydrating Treatment Facial Mask ($24.00). I use this almost every single day and I talk about it all the time. Granted, I have super dry skin, so maybe not everyone should be using it as often as I do. This mask repairs all the damage done by long hours in a face mask. It smooths, hydrates, and leaves skin soft and glowing. If there was only one product I could recommend to solve all the problems created by harsh face masks, this one is it.

Let’s not forget about the lips. It’s not just the skin on your face that’s covered by the mask. Your lips are also stuck under there too. To prevent damage to your lips, put on some of the Kiehl’s Buttermask Intense Repair Lip Treatment ($29.84) before donning your mask. At the end of the day, your lips will still be nice and soft and moisturized instead of chapped and cracking.


After a long day of rubbing your skin up against a rough face mask, the last thing your skin needs is a harsh cleanser. But your skin will feel kind of gross after taking the mask off, so you are still going to want to gently cleanse to get your face feeling nice and fresh.

The best way to do this is with the Aquanil Cleanser ($18.60). It’s super gentle, but still leaves the skin feeling completely clean. It removes every trace of makeup, and it will not irritate even the most sensitive of skin.

You might need a little extra cleansing power to keep your face feeling clean after having a face mask on all day. A different kind of face mask, the Cetaphil Pro Dermacontrol Purifying Clay Mask ($15.99) is perfect for getting that squeaky clean feeling. It’s gentle enough to use for all skin types, but it will eliminate every little bit of dirt and grime that may have built up under your mask throughout the day.


The best way to take care of your skin under a face mask is to probably not wear any makeup under it at all. But, for some of us, it feels more comfortable to wear a little makeup when we’re out and about. If you, like me, want to keep wearing makeup even though you have to wear a mask, make sure you’re careful about what makeup you’re using. Keep it light, and keep it hydrating. I had to change my entire makeup routine to accommodate the whole face mask thing. I honestly like it so much better than the routine I was using before.

My new holy grail makeup product is the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream ($27.89). It has SPF 30, and it feels like you’re just wearing a light moisturizer. The tint is pretty light, but it’s perfect for balancing out the skin and keeping it glowing and moisturized under the mask. I love this stuff, and I plan to keep using it even when face masks are no longer necessary.

Other Tips

Beware of the material your mask is made out of. Not all masks are created equal. If you find that you’ve tried everything and your mask is still seriously bothering your skin, try a different kind of mask. I bought a homemade cloth mask made out of stiff fabric. I found that it irritated my skin far more than disposable or cotton masks. Everyone is different. I have a feeling the masks aren’t going anywhere, so try out a few kinds and see what works for you!

We hope you enjoy these products! But keep in mind, Grit Daily might take small cut of the profit on the items recommended here—but that doesn’t mean we don’t believe in them. We only recommend products that we would buy or use ourselves, so don’t be wary of our suggestions.

Olivia Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers events, entertainment, fashion, and technology. She also serves as a Voices contributor at PopSugar.

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