Unmasking beauty: How face coverings impact your skin

Jenna Landry

As soon as the Centers for Disease Control began recommending face coverings while in public, we’ve all come to realize that a face mask is a staple in our everyday wardrobe. With the onset of school and the stress of navigating it during COVID-19, these face masks can have a significant impact on our skin.

Carly Spaulding, a graduate student studying social work, said that she’s seen changes in her skin since the pandemic began.


“I definitely notice more acne breakouts where my mask covers my face, especially chin area and nose,” Spaulding said.

Master cosmetologist Alex Nash explained why face masks can be harmful to skin health.

“Face masks … mostly cause skin to dry out, as fabric absorbs the moisture from your skin, and any material against your face causes some friction,” Nash said. “You may simultaneously have excess moisture depending on your breathing and the environment you’re in. Pimples and rashes are all increased factors to combat.”

There are a few simple things Nash recommends to help alleviate problems. The first is to stay hydrated throughout the day, even if it feels difficult. Another tip is to keep up with your skin care routine, including moisturizing and washing your face in the morning and evening.

Lipstick in public may not be trending anytime soon, but when it comes to our face, our lips are often the last we think of and can become chapped if we ignore them. Face masks rub against our lips all day long as we breath and speak through them.

“Goop with a basic hydrating lip balm,” Nash said. “No need to smear any color or glitter around under that mask. Try something made from shea or cocoa butters with skin-friendly ingredients so they transfer from lip to cheek.”

Face masks … mostly cause skin to dry out, as fabric absorbs the moisture from your skin, and any material against your face causes some friction.”-Alex Nash, master cosmetologist

A few products Nash recommends are Hangover 3-in-1 replenishing primer and setting spray, Lip Rescue ultra-hydrating shea butter lip balm, Bio tint multi-action moisturizer with SPF 30 and Ultra Repair Cream intense hydration

Spaulding uses Angels on Bare Skin by Lush, a witch hazel toner, Origins mega-mushroom lotion and an SPF 55.

A few other tips from Nash are to use 100% cotton face masks so they’re breathable for the skin but are also absorbent. Wear a new mask every day and wash or dispose of them daily. When it comes to makeup, consider wearing less or none, use less under a mask and instead of a powder, try a setting spray. Apply a moisturizer, then a tinted moisturizer, give your face a good mist and dry your face before adorning the mask.

Lastly, Nash suggests to just breathe, don’t stress and take care of yourself.


Jenna Landry can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @yesjennalandry.