Mascne: Not the Only Problem with Masks

Recently before going out for dinner on a frigid Saturday night, Jennifer, my lovely 27-year-old co-worker, complained about the laugh lines that seemed to come out of nowhere. Me, being supportive, ignored her because she is 27 and nowhere near needing to worry about laugh lines. She pressed the matter and made me take a closer look. I was astonished to see faint lines around her mouth and flaky dryness. Thinking it was a fluke, I had her moisturize and we went on with the evening.

Later in the week, after having the mask on for about an hour, I was driving home and felt the skin around my mouth and nose to be very dry. This is not possible. I am oily and I moisturize like I live in the Sahara. When I took a closer look, I saw the same flakiness and faint lines that had plagued Jennifer the weekend before. After my own freakout, I began to wonder what the heck was going on. That’s when it dawned on me! Masks are not only absorbing moisture from our skin; they are also trapping condensation from our breath. When we take our masks off, the moisture evaporates from our now damp skin taking any extra moisture with it and leaving our skin desperate for rehydration. This leads to flakiness, irritation, and premature aging. As if “mascne” wasn’t bad enough.

To combat this moisture evaporation loss, we recommend a heavy balm, occlusive ointment, or products with zinc oxide.

  • The SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm is a hydrating occlusive ointment for traumatized or severely dry skin.

  • Maya Chia’s The Super Blend Pressed Serum Concentrate (my personal favorite) is a clean, multi-correctional moisture concentrate balm that revitalizes, clarifies, and protects against free-radical damage. So many benefits in one.

  • Zelens Z Recovery Intensive Repair Balm is a collagen-boosting powerhouse that restores the hydrolipidic (protective film that covers the entire surface of the skin) layer and strengthens the skin’s natural protective barrier.


  • The Cannabliss Hemp Salve is the skin savior Jennifer was slathering on after I explained this phenomenon to her. This hemp-infused skin savior soothes irritation caused by sensitive, dry, or chapped skin. Another clean beauty product in our lineup.


  • Soleil Toujours’s Extreme UV SPF 45 is 5.14% Zinc Oxide which acts as a barrier to prevent moisture loss (and moisture absorption, so make sure you moisturize heavily before applying this).

To get the full benefit of these products, apply them as your last step before wearing your face mask and don’t forget to wash your masks regularly.


  • The latest from Abby

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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