Why silk face masks are better for your skin | Sali Hughes

Silk protects in two layers or more and is comfortable, cool and breathable

A recent Zoom call with top Manhattan dermatologist Dr Dendy Engelman won me a family argument. The posh, black silk face covering I’d switched to wearing, much to the amusement of my loved ones who dismissed my claims of greater comfort as “just Mum being fancy”, is, she says, the best thing for our skin. Engelman (consultant dermatologist for Elizabeth Arden) coined the term “maskne” after seeing a surge in private patients – particularly those who wore PPE at work – with breakouts, friction sores, congested pores and irritation during the Covid-19 crisis.

Her first recommendation (before nightly use of a beta hydroxy acid: I swear by Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (from £10 for 30m), swept over after cleansing) is to switch to a silk face covering wherever possible. It causes the least friction of any fabric, which helps to prevent those minor skin wounds on the cheeks and nose that heal over, clogging pores and causing spots in the process (Engelman calls this “acne mechanica”).

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