Should I Wear Sunscreen Under a Mask?

A dermatologist says sunscreen is a must -- mask or not. And offers tips on how to avoid 'maskne' this summer.

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CLEVELAND – Some of us may decide to wear a mask outdoors this summer. A mask will protect the skin it covers from the sun, but it still leaves a good portion of your face exposed.

So, what’s the best approach to sunscreen when wearing a mask?

“It’s kind of like your swimsuit line, it’s easy to miss the edges if you’re not careful, so put your sunscreen on first. If you want to focus on the areas outside of the mask, okay. But, go in farther than you think and definitely put it on,” said Melissa Piliang, MD, dermatologist for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Piliang said it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen to your entire face first, and then put on your mask. This way your whole face is protected and you can avoid mask tan lines.

However, she warns anything you put on your skin and then cover with a mask can lead to mask-related acne, or ‘maskne.’ If you’re worried about that, Dr. Piliang advises seeking out sun products to prevent acne.

“Look for a sunscreen that is oil-free, look for one that’s non-comedogenic. That means it won’t clog your pores. Gel sunscreens are very nice if you’re acne prone. And there are also formulations made for acne prone skin,” she explained.

Dr. Piliang said you should also protect the delicate skin around your eyes by wearing sunglasses and your lips with sunscreen infused lip balm.

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