Even though restrictions are slowly lifting, masks are sticking around, so we spoke to Dr Kay Jegede about how we can look after them and our skin in the long run...
After taking your mask off, it’s best stored in a plastic bag until you are able to wash it (or bin it, if it's a disposable mask). Don't leave it lying around on surfaces or in your bag or pocket. If your mask has a disposable filter, you should remove and bin this before washing your mask.
Reusable face masks can be washed as part of your laundry and using your normal detergent. To wash a reusable face covering, ideally you should machine wash on a hot wash (about 60°C), but you can put it in the washing machine in a normal wash.
How many times should we wash reusable face masks?
It’s recommended to wash the mask after each use. But make sure to inspect the masks before each use. Throw it away if there are signs of wear, holes in the fabric or if it no longer fits around your face properly.
What is the best way to let masks dry?
Reusable masks must be completely dry before wearing them. You can let it air dry by hanging it by the straps in direct sunlight or laying it on a clean, dry surface. You can also put it in the tumble dryer on the highest heat setting to completely dry.
Where should we store our masks?
Keep clean face masks in a cool, dry place. You can store them in a separate drawer, a breathable container or bag. Keep them away from other objects you touch frequently, to avoid contaminating them with unwashed hands.
Any tips on keeping your face mask hygienic?
Try to avoid touching your face mask while you’ve got it on. Make sure you wash your hands before and after handling a used face mask. Change your mask if it gets dirty or wet.
Wearing masks can cause skin irritation and some breakouts. Can you tell us a bit about how to look after our skin whilst we wear masks...
How should we care for our skin after a day wearing a mask?
It’s important to cleanse your face daily to prevent blocked pores and breakouts. The routine of cleansing in the morning and evening is more than enough but focus on using products that are gentle and nourish the skin. Be sure to wait five minutes after application before putting on your mask, in order to allow the products to absorb properly into the skin.
Best products for looking after our skin when wearing masks?
Look for a gentle cleanser, hydrating toner, light moisturiser, and sunscreen in the morning and at night swapping the sunscreen for lightweight serums that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ceramides that have skin-soothing benefits after a long day of mask wearing.
Should we be using anti-bacterial products on our face?
No need to use any additional antibacterial products, if you stick with above recommendations. Your skin is a very good barrier against germs on its own.
Lightweight products as above, try and reduce makeup especially full coverage makeup if possible. Don’t forget your lips- dry skin and chapped lips are common face mask skin problems. You can prevent chapped lips by applying soothing lip balm or petroleum jelly to keep them moisturised.
Dr Kay, is a family GP, skincare enthusiast and cosmetic doctor based in London. She have a YouTube channel: Dr Kay Explains where she talks about all things health & wellness, skincare and cosmetic procedures. See more @drkayexplains on Instagram & Twitter!