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Are Your Mask Loops Irritating Your Ears? The One Tip You're Probably Overlooking

Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Are your mask loops irritating your ears? The one tip you're probably overlooking 11/10/20
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Quick review: The ever-bemoaned maskne has two, equally frustrating components. First, there's the influx of breakouts and pimples (sometimes cropping up in the strangest of places) from sweat and breath droplets pooling in your mask. Then there's the inflammation you may experience from friction: When you secure a fabric covering to your face, any rubbing or chafing can irritate the skin. 

You know this, you've learned this, and perhaps you've got a patchwork of blemishes to prove it. But what about the soft skin behind your ears? It's an oft-forgotten area within the maskne debacle, but the skin around your ears is your skin all the same.

If your mask loops are giving you grief, here's how you can calm the irritation, STAT. 

What to do if your mask loops are irritating your ears. 

The skin behind your ears is quite sensitive—that's why many experts suggest patch-testing new products in that area, as any irritation will likely show up in that delicate spot (it's also discreet enough to hide, just in case you do face a reaction to a certain ingredient. But anyway!). 

In terms of what to do, let's revert to the maskne conversation, shall we? Just as you'd tend to the skin around your mouth and nose, the same counsel goes for the skin behind your ears: According to board-certified dermatologist Purshiva Patel, M.D., founder of Visha Skincare, applying an occlusive behind the ears (like a cream or oil) can keep the loops from rubbing that sensitive skin raw. So while you're smearing on a hydrating moisturizer before securing your mask, massage a little product behind the ears as well, for good measure.

While having some sort of barrier can be helpful, unfortunately (just like with maskne) some irritation is inevitable. Especially if you're wearing the mask for quite some time, your ears are bound to become sore at some point. The key here, Patel notes, is to tend to your ears after the fact—just as you would for mask-induced irritation on your face. She recommends dabbing a moisturizing cream behind the ears—or anywhere you face friction, for that matter—at night to soothe the area. Look for hydrating, anti-inflammatory creams that help repair the skin barrier (this option includes aloe, jojoba oil, and glycerin), or spot-treat the area with straight aloe or a soothing colloidal oat mixture.

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The takeaway. 

Irritation from your mask loops—it happens! Approach the issue just as you would the friction on your nose and mouth; all it takes is some diligent post-mask love. 

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