How 6 Skincare Experts Changed Their Routines For COVID-19 Masks

Spoiler alert: hyaluronic acid — the humectant known for its water-drawing and moisturizing capabilities — makes many a guest appearance.
Expert Opinion
Written by Beth Shapouri
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A hand holding a stack of face masksVera Davidova/Unsplash

COVID-19 has changed life for all of us in many ways — including how we approach our skincare regimen. So, we wanted to see how the experts in the field have tweaked their routines in the age of mask-wearing, when face covering-induced breakouts (or ‘maskne,’ as the world has begun to call it) and irritation have joined the list of everyday skin annoyances.

Read on to get a peek into how plastic surgeons, aestheticians, dermatologists, and product formulators are cleansing, soothing, moisturizing, protecting, and otherwise helping their complexions cope during the pandemic. Spoiler alert: hyaluronic acid (HA), the humectant known for its water-drawing and moisturizing capabilities, makes many a guest appearance.

1. The Expert: Morgan Rabach, MD, board certified dermatologist in NYC

How she’s changed her skincare routine: To head off breakouts, Dr. Rabach has not only started spot-treating with benzoyl peroxide, but she has also “added more exfoliating to help reduce dead skin build-up,” she says. Her strategy is to wash with SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser twice a week.

After some trial and error, she’s also recently adjusted her hydrating routine. “I only moisturize at night because applying it twice a day was making my face feel too oily under my mask,” she shares. She’s also gotten even more vigilant with sunscreen application. “No one wants a mask tan!” she insists. She opts for the Isdin Mineral Brush, a physical-blocking tinted mineral powder, that doubles as a light concealer.

2. The Expert: Charlene Valledor, product formulator and president of SOS Beauty

How she’s changed her skincare routine: She’s begun loading up her handbag. Along with micellar water wipes to clean her face before putting on a new mask, Valledor says she carries a bottle of alcohol in her purse to spray the inside of her mask “just to kill any bacteria around the areas that are in direct contact with my chin, cheeks, and mouth.” A potential side effect of the sanitization, however, has been dry patches in those same areas. As a result, she is laying off makeup for now. Last but not least, she’s added a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid — the ingredient touted for its ability to plump and effectively moisturize — to her routine to treat those trouble spots.

3. The Expert: Michelle Henry, MD, NYC-based dermatologist & clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College

How she’s changed her skincare routine: She’s gone fragrance-free and non-comedogenic with all her products so as not to give her skin more to deal with while she’s wearing a mask all day. HA has also made an appearance in her regimen, with her relying on moisturizers that contain both hyaluronic acid and ceramides to strengthen and fortify her skin’s own protective barrier. Another addition? “Occasionally, I will use an ointment like Aquaphor to prevent any skin breakdown on my nose or other areas due to friction and pressure,” she shares.

4. The Expert: Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist & founder of BeautyStat Cosmetics

How he’s changed his skincare routine: “[I’ve been] avoiding heavier moisturizers that can clog pores and now opting for lighter-weight ones that work to hydrate without being too heavy,” Robinson explains. That means turning away from richer formulas in favor of the oh-so-popular hyaluronic acid, as well as glycerin by way of his own BeautyStat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream (it also boasts ceramides and ancient mushroom extract).

Since the cosmetic chemist’s daytime routine is all about preventing irritation and breakouts, nighttime is when he concentrates on treatment. To take full advantage of the skin’s natural repair cycle, he’s been slathering on a vitamin C serum “to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, as well as even out skin tone” before bed.

5. The Expert: Natalie Aguilar, LA-based celebrity facialist & dermatological nurse

How she’s changed her skincare routine: “One, I’m no longer wearing makeup,” says the skin guru. “And two, I am no longer using active serums, such as alpha-hydroxy acids and vitamin C to avoid irritation due to the friction, humidity, and the heat of the mask.” She also wipes her face every four hours before changing out her mask. Other than that, she says, “I have kept my routine relatively the same simply because I don’t want my skin to freak out.” But she does have one more secret to keeping her face calm in the coronavirus chaos: “I love pulling my serums out of the refrigerator and applying them cold — it helps relieve inflammation.”

6. The Expert: Jonathan Kaplan, MD, board certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco

How he’s changed his skincare routine: “I’ve been paying attention to my morning skincare,” says Dr. Kaplan, who explains that means giving a little more time and attention to his cleanser in the shower (he uses one from Obagi, but he says any gentle cleanser will do). And while he hasn’t changed his moisturizer, he says he’s using more of it to create a barrier on his skin throughout the day. “I’m a surgeon, so I’m used to a medical mask all day,” he notes. “It’s these cloth masks we all wear around I find irritating!”

He’s also added the most unusual step we heard from the experts we chatted with. When he takes off his masks after work, he rubs his hands with a sanitizer, and then, he says, “I run residual around the edge of the nostrils just to kill the bacteria there, then I wash my hands again.” This gives him a little more peace of mind that he’s catching anything that could work its way into his lungs. But, before you consider this move, beware: “It can be very drying,” he warns.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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BETH SHAPOURIis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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