Skin Care Solutions To Help Irritation From Protective Face Masks

May 25, 2020

This post is brought to you by Bioelements Esthetics Experts Panel, composed of skin care professionals, educators + authorities with decades of experience in the industry.

Germs, humidity, friction, stress: these common issues can cause your skin to react in new and uncomfortable ways. The truth is that carbon dioxide from re-breathing your inhalations, along with other toxic micro-substances from the environment, become trapped within facial protective coverings – which can quickly cause contact dermatitis, breakouts, redness, irritation, dehydration and congestion, leaving you feeling frustrated.

Bioeelements Esthetics Experts Panel members share their best tips on how to protect and soothe your skin during a time of protective face coverings – and the best products you can count on to help irritated, sensitive skin.


keep it simple

“Simplify your routine to take reparative and protective measures every day, both after taking your mask off and before putting it on,” says Teresa Stenzel, licensed esthetician and member of our Esthetics Experts Panel. “Swap out any harsh products for gentler, more calming alternatives that still get the job done.”

While you’re streamlining your skin care, it’s also best to re-evaluate your usual routines and how they may be factoring in to any irritations and discomfort. “I would recommend women to take a break from wearing makeup, and men should ease up on shaving every day,” shares Dawn Gantt, licensed esthetician and member of our Esthetics Experts Panel. Men are encouraged to skip a day or two in between shaving and change out blades frequently. “The blades carry bacteria and also add surface irritation to already-irritated skin from the mask,” adds Gantt. These products will provide clean, healthy and comfortable complexion for all skin types.

(Products: Urban Undo Cleanser, Soothing Reset Mist, Stress Solution, Oxygenation)

Urban Undo Cleanser

rebuild your base

A strong skin barrier and acid mantle is key for truly healthy, comfortable skin. “Strengthen your skin barrier to be as strong as possible against external stressors, like frequent rubbing and trapped bacteria,” says Barbara Arnoux, licensed esthetician and member of our Esthetics Experts Panel. “Ingredients like probiotics and smoothing ceramides aid in restoring your skin’s natural shield, which helps alleviate signs of stressed skin like redness or inflammation.” Here are some formulas that aid in strengthening your skin barrier and balancing your microflora.

(Products: Barrier Fix Daily Hydrator, Sensitive Eye Smoother, Radiance Rescue)


maximize moisture

Our bodies have a Natural Moisturizing Factor that maintains, protects and enhances healthy skin function. Without proper daily hydration, the skin becomes more vulnerable to environmental stressors. “Hydrate to help with the loss of moisture, as it can cause sensitivity issues,” adds Debbie Jones, licensed esthetician and member of our Esthetics Experts Panel. “Lower the water temperature during your routine, and use the right serums and treatment masks for additional nourishment to help reactive, dehydrated skin.”

Another way to amp up the hydration is to use your toner liberally. “Instead of just lightly misting your skin, really saturate it with your toner to make sure your dehydrated skin gets the replenishment it needs,” adds Stenzel. Layer these moisture-locking products for a serious change in your skin’s comfort levels.

(Products: Power Peptide, Recovery Serum, Collagen Rehab)


treat “maskne”

Humidity from re-breathing inhalations is one of the main culprits of “maskne” – aka breakouts caused by wearing a protective face covering for long periods of time. These blemishes can also result from a lack of moisture in the skin, as the humidity you’re experiencing is not benefiting the skin in any way. If your skin is not properly hydrated, it will produce even more excess oil to overcompensate. “This is why it’s important to target breakouts mindfully,” says Gantt. “Incorporating a calming oil cleanser and investing in a spot treatment are simple and effective changes to minimize irritation without introducing other problems or worsening the existing issues.”

Every thoughtful effort counts – and it can be the difference between improvement and causing even more acne. “Make sure to cleanse your skin with a proper cleanser, not makeup remover wipes,” adds Arnoux. “These wipes are not only harsh and wasteful, but they do not remove dirt and makeup well or allow your skin care products to truly penetrate the epidermis.” Gentle and thorough products are ideal options for stressed, aggravated skin.

(Products: Sensitive Skin Cleansing Oil, Skin Editor)


reduce exfoliation

If your skin is extra irritated, it’s best to cut back on your exfoliator frequency to once or twice a week so your skin has a chance to truly rest and recuperate. “Opt for a gentle chemical exfoliant over an aggressive physical scrub when you do choose to exfoliate away dead skin cells,” says Gantt. Quick Refiner is a hydrating yet effective lightweight gel formula to consider.


don’t skip SPF

“Sun damage is intermittent,” shares Stenzel. “It’s very important to wear a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen during the day, whether you are only outside for a few minutes and some of your face is covered – or even when you’re indoors, as sunlight still floods through your windows.” Simply put: SPF every day is a non-negotiable for healthy, protected skin. RayDefense and SPF 50 FaceScreen are great options for advanced protection from the sun.


keep taking care

Above all else, our expert estheticians encourage you to keep taking care of yourself, skin care and otherwise, even when things feel overwhelming. “In addition to what it will do for your physical well being, it’s also essential for your emotional well being, especially because depression and anxiety can make the skin worse due to what stress does to the body,” emphasizes Stenzel. “You will feel better by making time for yourself, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time each day.”