Face mask friction, begone.

By Taylyn Washington-Harmon
June 12, 2020
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As someone with dry, sensitive skin, I’ve tried nearly every kind of face mask during the pandemic at this point: paper, cotton, bandana, neoprene, you name it. And the one thing that never gets better? Face mask skin irritation, especially of the behind-the-ears variety.

If you're thinking ~same same~, there's a pretty straightforward explanation: “Constant rubbing and friction from everyday mask use can compromise our skin’s barrier, resulting in dryness, bruises, and scrapes from various mask textiles,” Adeline Kikam, DO, chief resident dermatologist at Corpus Christi Medical Center in Texas, previously told Health.  

Since this irritation is enough to make some people forego masks altogether, I had to find a solution. Well, the best way to prevent irritation is to reduce that friction in the first place, so I was overjoyed when I was sent the Body Glide Face Glide ($10 for 2; amazon.com), the brand's newest innovation, to test as health and wellness editor. I could finally run errands safely wearing my mask without the constant itchy feeling over my nose bridge and behind my ears!

The water- and sweat-resistant balm forms a dry, invisible layer to protect your skin against the friction, rubbing, and chafing that comes with frequent mask wearing. What I love about Face Glide is that it rolls on clear, like a tiny deodorant stick, and the portable design makes on-the-go application a breeze. A few dabs across my face and behind my ears and I was set. Once I took off my mask, a quick swipe with a makeup wipe or a damp towel was all I needed to remove the residue.

Also nice: It is packed with vitamins A, B, E, and F to restore, protect, and replenish moisture to the skin (great for those suffering from dry or cracked spots), without feeling oily or greasy. And it won't clog pores, which is a huge perk for those who are prone to acne or sensitivities.

To buy: Body Glide Face Glide ($10 for 2; amazon.com)

But it doesn't just get my stamp of approval—skin experts like it, too. “I am a fan of the product—Face Glide and the Body Glide—and think it’s great for basic mask wearing, but in situations where people are generally healthy and trying to socially distance,” Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, tells Health. However, she would caution against those in high-risk situations dealing with COVID-19 patients using anything between their mask and their skin. “People who are working with COVID-19 patients should not use anything that might compromise the barrier and integrity of their face mask; there needs to be a tight, firm seal against their skin, with nothing in-between,” adds Dr. Nazarian.  

For everyday mask wearers like myself trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Nazarian approves Body Glide's Face Glide as a great form of relief to prevent friction and uncomfortable rubbing from masks of all materials. Totally fragrance- and allergen-free, those with sensitive skin like myself don’t have to worry about the ingredients causing further skin issues. One reviewer on Body Glide's website even claimed that it reduces glasses fogging, which is a common complaint of many bespectacled mask wearers like myself.

As long as I live in a high-infection state like New York, Face Glide has officially become my mask’s new best friend. I’m contemplating gifting a tube to everyone I know!

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