According to Mullans, 100% cotton is the way to go. Whether you have dry, sensitive, oily, or acne-prone skin, cotton is key for a couple reasons. First up: “Cotton absorbs the sweat, saliva, and oils better than other materials,” she explains. So for those oily and acne-prone individuals (whose maskne may stem from trapped oils, sweat, and bacteria), cotton is able to wick away the moisture, so all that humidity won’t hover above your skin for some time (a gross visual, but it’s true).
Second, cotton is also a softer material, Mullans says, which means it’s less likely to irritate the skin from friction. As we know, maskne is much more than a cluster of clogged pores. Rather, there are two types of maskne that can occur when wearing face masks: both breakouts and contact friction. Cotton is able to manage both skin care gripes in one fell swoop. That’s what makes 100% cotton the go-to for dry and sensitive skin as well—if your skin resembles steel wool after donning the cloth covering, you might want to consider making a material switch.
Of course, because cotton absorbs so well, you need to wash it after each use. Otherwise all that oil and sweat it was wicking away will go right back into your pores. This, of course, is true for any reusable mask. Essentially: Washing the mask is a vital part of keeping acne at bay.