Since 2020 face masks have been an essential part of our daily routines. And we’re not talking about skincare, but protection.

Whether you are going to the grocery store, getting the mail, or are headed to the drive-thru, face masks are a must-have to protect yourself and others.

But, the problem with these masks isn’t just the discomfort. But many people are experiencing severe skin reactions due to the friction caused by masks and the fabrics they’re made of.

Medical masks are reusable but bad for the environment, plus they are often made with chemicals like formaldehyde. No one wants that near their skin.

Healthcare works, in particular, who need to wear masks for more than 12 hours of work are struggling with skin issues leading to rashes, redness, painful dryness, and itching. Dermatologists prescribe ointments to help, but it is only a temporary fix with continued mask use.

Medical professionals have to wear medical-grade masks, but unless wearing an N-95 while working with COVID patients, they can layer other masks beneath their required ones. And for the everyday folks, cloth masks are better for the environment and a lot more gentle on your skin. Just make sure you are washing them after each use.

It is easy to want to reuse a mask, but even one use can contaminate a mask with germs and sweat, and bacteria that can irritate your delicate skin.

Now, which masks are the most comfortable and the best for keeping your skin soft, smooth, and clear?

är Face Mask (Shop here)
This is one of the most highly rated masks on the market today. It has a self-cleaning function, three layers (the CDC recommends at least two), and is water repellant. These masks are reusable but come with reusable nano filters that should be replaced after about two weeks of use. These masks are lightweight, breathable, and come in various colors and designs.

Under Armor UA SPORTSMASK (Shop here)
This is the mask you have probably seen every famous athlete wearing while in interviews or on the sidelines. It isn’t cheap or flashy, but it gets the job done for anyone active. It has improved airflow from most masks, is breathable, and is cool to the touch. It won’t leave you feeling sweaty or gross underneath because it is shaped not to rub against your skin while still protecting you and others. This mask is water-resistant, antimicrobial, comfortable, plus has SPF 50+ sun protection.

MDacne Mask (Shop here)
Those suffering from maskne will want this mask. Even if you have clear skin or sensitivity to masks in another way, this mask is highly recommended by users and dermatologists. It was created specifically for protecting against COVID, features silver and copper, which are antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. This mask is neutral and lightweight with three breathable layers of cotton and rayon, plus it is biodegradable and eco-friendly. With nearly all five-star reviews, this mask is a keeper.

If you try these masks and still struggle with skin irritation, ensure you clean your face every time you wear your mask. Do not wear makeup or fragranced products beneath your mask. Build up a collection of masks so you can swap them out while washing the others in the rotation.

If your mask irritation might be in certain areas where it touches your face, like the bridge of the nose, chin, or around the mouth. In that case, you can apply diaper rash cream to those areas before putting on your mask to prevent irritation and reduce inflammation and friction. If you are feeling extra dry from using a medical-grade face mask, use a thick but gentle moisturizer or even petroleum jelly on those areas when sleeping to enhance moisture.