Poor Air Quality: How Do We Protect Our Skin?

Poor Air Quality: How Do We Protect Our Skin?

Singapore, Malaysia, and other neighboring Southeast Asian countries recently suffered from poor air qualities caused by the increasing forest fires in Indonesia. Because of the haze, people had to go back to wearing masks when going outside, just like what was practiced during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic.

While masks protect us from viruses and inhaling harmful air particles, it can also have some impact on our skin. This includes developing rash due to irritation from friction, acne, excessive dryness, soreness behind ears, rosacea or reddened skin and for men, discomfort on their beard or stubble.

In this article, we will share easy tips on how to prevent skin problems when wearing masks.

Preventing Skin Problems Caused by Face Masks

Since masks are important protection against viruses and haze, we cannot simply ditch it the moment our skin starts acting up. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to prevent “maskne” and other skin issues!

1.  Wash Your Cloth Face Masks


Some people are opting to use reusable masks instead of disposable ones to be more eco-friendly. This helps in reducing waste, but don’t forget to regularly wash them too! Aside from the particles you breathe out, the oil your skin secretes also collects on the mask. Once they build up, it can cause irritation in the area covered by the mask.

Be it washing by hand or using a washing machine, make sure to follow your cloth masks’ washing instructions and use a gentle laundry detergent.

If you are using a disposable mask, changing it daily is recommended.

2.  Skip Make-Up on Affected Areas

If you have developed acne or other skin irritations due to wearing mask, it is good to skip the application of make-up in these areas in the meantime as using cosmetics before your skin heals can worsen the problem.

If it cannot be avoided, look for non-comedogenic products (those that won’t clog your pores) like mineral-based make-up. Having a skincare routine that works for your skin type will also help!

3. Avoid Touching Your Face

Studies show that our hands have an average of 3,200 germs, some of which can be harmful and cause infection. Frequently touching your face can also transfer oils that can block pores and cause acne. Although tempting, it is best not to pick on your acne as it can make it worse in the long-term.

Wash your hands regularly and sanitize the items that you regularly touch such as your mobile phone, keys, laptop, and table.

4. Choose The Right Mask

Many experiences chafing due to the friction between the mask and skin since the mask is too tight. Find the right mask for you by ensuring that it has a comfortable fit, as you are more likely to touch and adjust masks that don’t fit well and can transfer germs.

If it is a cloth mask, it should have at least two layers of fabric and is breathable. Choose masks made with cotton so it is soft on the skin. Masks made using nylon, polyester and rayon can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.

5. Use The Right Skincare Products

Having a strong skin barrier can help you lessen the chance of developing issues when wearing masks. A strong skin barrier means that you don’t usually experience tightness, itchiness, or irritations. The skin also retains water efficiently, so it’s hydrated, smooth and elastic. But how do you achieve it?

Aside from wearing sunscreen, having a healthy diet, and regularly drinking water, using the right skincare products is also a must!

Uriage’s Bariederm Cica Daily Serum is made up of 97% natural ingredients and has three main benefits: Repairs, Protects and Balances. Its Uriage Thermal Water and Prebiotic formula preserves the skin barrier and keeps the microbiome balanced for healthy skin.

The serum also contains Dipeptide to prevent signs of aging, Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate skin, and Centella Asiatica or “Cica” to boost skin healing.

After the serum, you can apply the Bariederm Cica Daily Gel Cream which also works as an excellent make-up primer. This product helps replump and regenerate the skin to smoothen fine lines and protect the skin to limit bacteria build up!


In conclusion, the emergence of mask-induced acne, often referred to as "maskne," has presented a unique challenge in our daily lives. As we navigate a world where mask-wearing has become a routine necessity, it is essential to prioritize our skin's health and well-being.

By adopting a few simple yet effective preventive measures, we can significantly reduce the risk of maskne.

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