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  • Writer's pictureDermatology Partners of the North Shore

Mask Hygiene and Skincare

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

As we navigate the current coronavirus pandemic, many states, including Illinois, are requiring individuals to wear face coverings or masks in public settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In this blog post, our medical staff provides guidance on using and cleaning masks and shares tips on caring for your skin when regularly wearing one.

From Our General Dermatology Center

Dr. Nikki N. Kim, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist who has practiced in the North Shore since 2014. She is on the medical staff of NorthShore University HealthSystem, is a diplomat of the American Board of Dermatology, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a member of the Chicago Dermatologic Society.

Makeup and Cleansing Skin

  • To begin, Dr. Kim recommends skipping makeup if you are regularly wearing a mask throughout the day. But this does not mean skipping sunscreen. Sunscreen should be a key element of any skincare routine, whether or not you are wearing a mask. Dr. Kim recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.

  • Do keep your normal skincare routine intact and don’t skip washing your face, even if you are going makeup-free. “It’s particularly important to wash your face at the end of the day,” she says.

  • For normal to dry skin, Dr. Kim recommends a gentle foaming cleanser at least once per day. For oil-prone skin, it may be helpful to wash once a day with a cleanser containing salicylic acid, which will help break down oily build up.

  • After washing your face, follow up with a non-comedogenic moisturizer. “Don’t be afraid to moisturize your skin before bedtime,” says Dr. Kim. Dried out skin can actually cause breakouts as well.

Mask Hygiene

  • When wearing a mask for long periods of time, try to take a break every 1 to 2 hours in a private space to allow your skin to breathe and dry any collected moisture on the mask.

  • If you are wearing a cloth mask, it should be washed at least every other day with a fragrance-free, gentle detergent, which will help prevent oily buildup on the inside of your mask.

  • Don’t use heavily scented soaps or detergents to wash your mask. These can irritate skin.

  • Before putting on or touching your mask, you should wash your hands or clean them with sanitizer and then clean them again before removing your mask.

  • Ensure your mask has a snug fit so you are not touching or adjusting it constantly.

Things To Look Out For

Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if you’ve noticed any of the following:

  • Irritation around the mouth and nose persisting for more than two weeks

  • Painful breakouts

From Our Center For Aesthetics

Jocelin Sisto is a Certified Physician Assistant who joined DPNS in 2020. She is an Adjunct Instructor at Rush University’s PA program and an Adjunct Faculty Member at Midwestern University’s PA Program. Jocelin uses a comprehensive approach to helping patients reach their aesthetic goals. Her focus is optimizing skin, health, and beauty utilizing the many tools available at DPNS.

Read Jocelin’s tips below on managing maskne (mask + acne) and treatment options for breakouts and skin irritation.

Skin Irritation & Acne

If you are regularly wearing a mask, you may see an increase in breakouts or skin irritation. Below are some treatment options to minimize these issues. If the irritation or acne persist, schedule a consultation with a dermatologist, who can help determine the best treatment or medication for you.

Treatments For Acne

The Center for Aesthetics offers different procedures and treatments that are targeted for acne, including:


Hydrafacial is a hydradermabrasion procedure used to cleanse, exfoliate, and then infuse skin with intensive serums to get an instantly gratifying glow. HydraFacial treatment has 3 steps and takes 30 minutes.

  • Cleanse + Peel: Uncovers a new layer of skin with gentle exfoliation.

  • Extract + Hydrate: Removes debris from pores with painless suction. Nourishes with intense moisturizers.

  • Fuse + Protect: Saturates the skin's surface with antioxidants and peptides to maximize your glow.

Chemical Peel

A chemical peel is an exfoliation process in which a chemical solution is applied to induce shedding of the top layers of the skin. This process stimulates collagen and increases cellular turnover to reveal smoother, younger-looking skin. Chemical peels can be used to treat acne, fine wrinkles, uneven skin tone and dryness.

Topical Treatments

  • SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser - Gently scrubs away dead skin, improving the appearance of skin tone and texture.

  • SkinMedica AHA/BHA Cream - Exfoliates and improves the appearance of skin tone and texture revealing brighter skin

  • SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator - Supports the skin's natural ability to retain moisture resulting in radiant, rejuvenated tone and texture.

  • All three products are appropriate for all skin types.

Stay In The Know

To learn more about skin care, dermatology, and aesthetic procedures, follow us on social media!

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