The Reason You Shouldn't Wear Makeup Under Your Face Mask

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our daily fashion in the form of face masks, which are now being recommended for those going out in public. If you typically wear makeup and are also now wearing a face mask, you might have encountered some issues applying typical products.

While it might seem like the worst idea to put on a full face of makeup, there are some pretty good reasons not to beyond the fact that no one will see what you're wearing underneath your mask anyway.

For starters, masks aren't the greatest thing for your skin. As Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Refinery 29, wearing a face mask "creates a moist, hot environment for your skin" thanks to your breath getting trapped under the material. This, in turn, can create "a build up of sweat and oil on the skin," potentially causing "inflammation, rashes, and even acne breakouts."

Clean your face before putting on a face mask

Zeichner recommended thoroughly washing your face before and after wearing a mask — preferably with foaming cleanser — in order to protect your skin. While you can still apply moisturizer, and it's recommended to do so, skipping the makeup if you're planning on putting a mask over it is for the best.

"Any potentially irritating or pore-clogging ingredients should be avoided under the mask-covered skin," Dr. Hadley King told the outlet. "I would recommend minimizing makeup — particularly foundations and concealer with heavy formulations — because the increased humidity under the mask could affect your skin's sebum production and potentially lead to an increase in clogged pores and breakouts."

Wearing makeup under a face mask may damage the mask

Wearing makeup under a mask may not just damage your skin, it could damage the mask itself. This is especially true of surgical masks and N95 masks, which Dr. Cassandra M. Pierre told Allure can easily become soiled by makeup, and "lead to decreased air filtration."

Dr. Anne Liu told the outlet that, due to a shortage of personal protective equipment, many facilities are sterilizing N95 masks, but masks contaminated by makeup cannot be sterilized and reused. While cloth masks can also become dirtied by makeup, they have the advantage of being easier to clean. Repeated washing, however, can lead to a decrease in a cloth mask's effectiveness, so skipping the makeup could potentially help your mask last longer.

Fortunately, there's nothing preventing you from sporting a more minimalist makeup look and applying makeup above your face mask. "Do up the eyes and do the mascara and eyebrows, but don't have makeup around your mouth," recommended Liu.