Caring for Your Skin While Wearing a Face Mask

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

with Dr Thivi Maruthappu, Consultant Dermatologist at the Skin Health Alliance and OLAY

Depending on your personal circumstances, wearing a protective face mask may have now become the new normal, whether this is at work, on transport or other public spots. In fact, there has been a huge surge in search traffic for advice on how to take care of skin beneath them with people experiencing breakouts, redness and peeling as a result. We have checked in with OLAY’s very own inhouse dermatologist for advice on how to take care of our skin, whilst wearing a protective face mask.

Although protective masks are extremely important, if you’re wearing them for several hours of the day, they can contribute to skin issues around the mouth and nose. Also, it’s not only wearing the mask that can be problematic – taking them on and off can also be stressful for the skin too. Dr Thivi Maruthappu has told us the two main issues are friction, which can cause redness and irritation and occlusion. Occlusion which causes a humid environment where moisture gathers under the mask, which might lead to clogged pores that can contribute to breakouts and acne.


We all know cleansing is critical for maintaining healthy skin, but do you know why this actually is? Cleansing your skin removes the daily build-up of dirt, oil, debris, and even bacteria and viruses from your pores, decreasing the chance of breakouts. It also boosts the skin's hydration and moisture levels, balancing your skin's PH levels. Cleansing can even help with ensuring you maintain a youthful glow under the mask, as pollution and environmental toxins accelerate the ageing process.

Dr Thivi Maruthappu recommends cleansing twice a day, once in the morning and evening. Cleansing in the evening allows your skin to repair from the day. Physiological changes occur overnight and dirt would prevent this from happening, as your skin needs oxygen and a clean face to do this. In the morning, it is crucial you cleanse your face as you need to remove the toxins, dead skin cells and excess oils which have collected on your face overnight. A clean surface is necessary to ensure your skincare products are optimised fully and you have a fresh base for your makeup.


Moisturising is also a crucial part of keeping your skin healthy and happy all the time, not just when you need to wear a mask. It helps maintain your skin's balance, as too much oil or dryness can lead to acne. Ensuring your skin is well moisturised also gives your skin a boost to repair itself and stay healthy, as the daily loss of skin cells can leave it vulnerable and sensitive.

Dermatologist Dr Thivi Maruthappu has recommended the best OLAY products for these issues. In the morning, it is recommended to use a non-comedogenic moisturiser such as OLAY Regenerist Whip Face Moisturiser SPF 30.

In the evening, it is recommended to use a rich moisturiser containing niacinamide (B3) such as OLAY Regenerist 3 Point Face Cream which penetrates ten layers deep into the skin’s surface and will strengthen skin’s natural barrier function to help protect your skin from the daily stressors.

Another tip is to constantly keep your face hydrated and refreshed whilst on the go and removing your mask, using a refreshing and soothing mist such as OLAY Mist Ultimate Hydration Aloe Leaf and Chamomile Calming Face Spray that will help to calm irritated skin and restore lost moisture. This will help keep your skin happy whilst out and about, for that quick hydration fix.


Whilst protecting yourself from the virus by wearing the mask, you also need to remember to protect your sensitive skin. Using an SPF can protect you from exposing your skin to harmful UV rays which can cause skin issues, disorders and even cancers. SPF protects your skin from sun damage from exposure and also minimises the penetration of the harmful rays.

I am sure we have all seen online, people's unwanted mask tan lines, which can be avoided by using SPFs every day, no matter if the sun is out or not.

Some of Dr Thivi's top tips:

1. cleanse and apply non comedogenic moisturiser such as OLAY SPF 30 Moisturiser, as it has a gorgeous lightweight feel and will give you UVA/UVB protection which is also important both beneath and around the mask. It will also help you avoid any sunburn and unwanted tan lines.

2. Try to apply Vaseline behind your ears, to protect your sensitive skin from damage, and to soothe and moisturise the affected area from heavy mask use.

3. The strings on the mask can be irritating for the skin behind the ears, so before bedtime, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the affected area to help soothe overnight.


We know that after three months in lockdown the thought of minimal and no makeup no longer sounds enticing, but masks create a humid environment on your face which leads to clogged pores and breakouts. To do your best to avoid this, we recommend minimising the use of heavy makeup under your masks, switching to more breathable and non-comedogenic alternatives.

However, the MOST important thing you can do to stay healthy, is to stay safe and use your mask when needed. But by following these dermatologically backed tips and testing these products, it will only help your skin feel better on the inside and glow from the outside.

OLAY is a worldwide leader in skin care and has been trusted by women for over 60 years. For more information, visit

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