More about Dr Natalie Rout _ Bespoke Smile


Dr Natalie Rout

GP, and facial aesthetics practitioner at Bespoke Smile

Face masks are effective in helping to prevent the spread of airborne diseases such as Covid-19. Government advice is to wear a face mask or covering in most indoor spaces including public transport, where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face masks can leave our skin irritated, itchy and inflamed because our breath gets trapped behind them creating a warm, moist environment. People have been calling this “maskne.” This build-up of sweat and moisture upsets the natural balance of our skin which can lead to inflammation, rashes and possibly spot or acne breakouts.

Women on the train looking at her phone with a mask on

Having a good skincare regime can help to prevent problems from arising. Dr Natalie Rout at Bespoke Smile, Marlow, is our medical doctor carrying out facial aesthetics and skin treatments has these top tips to deal with, and to avoid, skin issues when wearing your face mask.

1. My lips are dry and chapped

Dry skin and chapped lips are common skin problems for those of us regularly wearing face masks. Make sure you protect your lips with a good moisturising lip balm and always apply after washing your face, before you put on your mask and at bedtime.

2. I’ve got breakouts around my mouth and nose

One of the reasons you may suffer from increased acne and spots around the nose and mouth may be because your mask needs a wash. Increased humidity causes you to sweat under your mask, trapping moisture that blocks your pores with excess sebum and oil.

It is important that you wash your face well using an oil-free face wash and/or cleanser. This removes any excess oil and dead cells from the surface of the skin, preventing any build-up and subsequent breakouts. Popping a clean mask on a clean face each day or regularly changing it into a different one, helps to keep your skin fresh and reduces irritation. You could also use micellar water to cleanse your face between masks.

Women with phone by her mouth Bespoke Smile

3. My skin seems to be irritated by certain fabric face masks

Some fabrics are kinder to the skin than others. Synthetic fabrics (nylon, polyester and rayon) may be an issue for some people, while cotton and linen fabrics are fairly gentle on the skin. Masks with a smooth texture inside will help to cut down on any chafing that irritates the lower part of your face. It is important to use a fragrance-free or hypoallergenic detergent and softener when washing your mask, as heavily scented ones can cause itching.

4. I have to wear my mask for a long period of time and it gets uncomfortable

A common complaint from wearing a face mask is the itchiness and irritation caused by the lack of air circulating through the mask. Because the mask sits tight over the nose and lower face it can cause the skin to become itchy, dry and flaky in places.

Use a gentle, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturiser suitable for your skin type to sooth the dry areas overnight. This will nourish the skin and calm down any irritation. You can also try a barrier cream which creates a protective layer between the skin and the moisture being produced by the mask. This helps to prevent the mask from rubbing directly onto the skin.

Women putting on facial cream - Bespoke Smile

Other tips to consider when using face masks:

Wear the right mask. Use a soft, natural and breathable fabric like cotton and check it fits securely and comfortably, particularly after you have washed it. It should fit snuggly over your nose, mouth and under your chin with no gaps. You are more likely to adjust a poor fitting mask risking the transfer of germs to your mask and face.

Take a break. Take your mask off if it is safe to do so, when you do not need to wear it. This allows your skin to breathe and cool down.

Don’t forget your ears. Try face masks with different loops to see which fits best and most comfortably, especially if you are having to wear one for long periods of time.

Women putting on makeup - Bespoke Smile

Avoid makeup. If you can avoid wearing makeup under you mask, then try to do so. Makeup can clog up your pores leading to unwanted breakouts. If you do need to wear it choose an oil-free makeup.

Washing. Always follow the washing instructions for your mask. Wash in hot water unless it says otherwise.

Dental facial aesthetics treatments cover several different, non-surgical procedures, which are all designed to leave you looking fresher-faced. Book a free consultation now with Dr Natalie Rout and her team and find out how you can frame your beautiful smile with a face that looks as young as you feel.