Career Advice, Physical Health, Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

My mask tan is too real right now. HBU?

Here’s how to prevent it.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Aug 20, 2020

During the summer months, weird tan lines are something we all are used to. We expect it when outdoors in a specific outfit or bathing suit. What we probably didn’t expect is that the one essential item of 2020 – the face mask – can also bring weird tan lines. 


I’ve been spending a lot of time outside, all safely of course – keeping my distance and maintaining mask mandates. I’ve been hiking, running, playing soccer and laying by the pool. Luckily I have different masks for each. My breathable athletic masks are perfect for all my fitness needs and my makeshift N95s fill all my other needs. 


Just when I finally mastered the art of not getting maskne, I now have another thing to worry about after spending time in the sun – a mask tan. After taking my mask off, I can see two different colors. One very beautiful bronzed glow and another erm… not so bronzed color. So what do we do with these awkward face tans when the CDC still stresses the importance of mask wearing. Glad you asked. 


The secret: avoid the tan lines

Easier said than done of course, but a lot of skin issues (including face mask tan lines) can be prevented with SPF. Aka, stop skipping sunscreen. It would be good to pick up a facial SPF that you put on before your mask and reapply throughout the day. Look for a high level of SPF (above 50), that’s also light, oil-free and fast absorbing – to prevent maskne. We recommend the below.


Elta MD UV Daily Broad- Spectrum SPF 40 ($29.50)

CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 ($19) 


If you’re active like me, you might want to buy a sports sunscreen as well. They are less likely to run down your face when you sweat. Majority of SPF only lasts for 2 hours so do not forget to reapply! 


The solution: to remedy face mask tan lines

First rule, do not lay out in the sun without a mask to tan the rest of your face. Giving your already tanned face more unprotected exposure to the sun is never a good idea. Instead, apply a tinted sunscreen to help even out your skin tone. Another easy solution, just let it run its course. After all, you’re not really supposed to be seeing people right now.


Photo via DeeTyndall