Should You Be Wearing Lip Balm Under Your Face Mask?

Two years later, the world is slowly but surely attempting to heal and move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. Living with the virus as it continues to come and go in waves has meant some drastic life changes.

While some may be more lax than others, face masks remain an integral part of our lives. Wearing a mask is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself and others from contracting the virus, so there's really no telling when the practice will entirely cease to exist, per The New York Times.

At this point, who hasn't gotten used to them? Grabbing your mask as you step outside has become as routine as reaching for your phone and keys. You would think that, considering masks have been a part of our lives for a couple years now, we would've gotten the hang of how to avoid their cons. Think again.

For any makeup wearers, paper and fabric face masks have proven detrimental, despite attempts to figure out how to adapt and prevent smudging and wear, per Glamour UK. Long gone are the days of keeping your makeup intact all day. So long, red lipsticks, too.

But the worst part may be the negative impact a face mask can have on your skin — especially your lips.

Your lips need hydration under your face mask

Despite their importance, there are plenty of cons to wearing a face mask, including pesky ear pain, itchiness, and general discomfort. 

But the negative impact it has on the area under it makes matters even worse. Maskne has plagued us all, but breakouts aren't the only thing caused by a face mask, per Healthline. Dry lips are one of the most annoying side effects. 

Naturally, keeping an area covered for prolonged periods of time is going to have an impact. While it works to produce sweat and clog your pores around your mouth, wearing a mask does the opposite to your lips by completely drying them out, per Glamour UK. This can worsen when you skip out on applying anything to your lips to avoid creating a mess underneath your face mask.

While it may seem messy, applying a lip balm under your mask is imperative. Not only are your naked lips left to dry out, but the constant rubbing of the face mask against them is a recipe for chapped lips, per Mind Body Green

You need to coat your lips in as much hydration as you can before covering them up. Think of it like applying foot cream before sealing it in with a sock: This method works the same way to trap in hydration. But it's vital to use the correct products.

You can opt for intense hydration or a lightweight tint

Cosmetic doctor Dr. Tijion Esho revealed to Glamour UK that he's seen a "20 percent increase of patients seeking treatment for excessive dryness of lips at [his] clinics and the underlining reason in the majority of cases has been due to mask use."

Your mask is undeniably bothering your lips, but it doesn't have to. "How we take care of our lips can help prevent worsening and the development of certain complications such as fungal infections," says Dr. Esho. And the first step is finding the perfect lip balm to wear under your mask.

When selecting your lip balm of choice, the options are endless. It's important to choose something that's going to form a thick layer on your lips to keep the hydration locked in. PopSugar recommends Glossier Balm Dotcom, which comes in 10 different scents (including cookie butter!) and has a thick, salve-like texture that's perfect for deep hydration.

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, why not opt for a tinted lip balm? It can keep your lips moisturized while lending a pretty hue for whenever the mask comes off. Get The Gloss suggests the Origins Blooming Sheer Lip Balm. It's lightweight, applies smoothly, and provides a subtle pop of color. 

One thing to avoid: mint

The skincare market is filled with great lip balm options. Chances are, you already have a few dozen lying around. You probably have your favorites: one for daytime, one for an intense overnight mask, one for a bit of color — the options are endless. 

Among the countless choices, mint-scented lip balms are popular because they're refreshing and can offer a subtle plumping effect. Many people like that mint is a natural ingredient, too. However, while lip balms under face masks are necessary, you may want to skip your minty one. 

Women's Health shared that minty lip balms under a face mask are a recipe for disaster. Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Jasmine Mohadjer explains, "Any highly fragrant material on your face or lips can cause irritation of the eyes including reflex tearing." 

Dermatologist Dr. Papri Sarkar explains that, when you're wearing a mask, the powerful odors of a minty lip balm have "less of an ability to dissipate into the surrounding air." She adds: "So they're traveling under the mask and towards the eyes at a higher rate than they would if the lip balm was applied without a mask on."

So, it's safer to avoid intense fragrances under your mask in general, especially minty ones. Stick to something subtle, like the Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15, per PopSugar.

No matter what, make sure to keep that mask on and those lips sealed — with a thick layer of lip balm.