How to Fix and Prevent Face Mask Tan Lines This Summer

But that doesn’t mean you can’t successfully prevent — or, if you didn’t read this in time, correct— facial tan lines from wearing a face covering. Here’s what the experts say.

Keep wearing sunscreen on your entire face.

Both Cheung and Shamban insist on wearing sunscreen no matter what, on exposed skin and underneath your mask. “The best protection from the sun is physical blocking,” Cheung says. However, a cream or lotion formula isn’t ideal under a face-covering because, as Shamban warns, it can rub off easily. 

“Best practice is to use a stick or quick-dry spray sunscreen under a mask,” Shaman tells Allure.

Her recommendation: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Mineral Sunscreen Stick, a personal favorite of hers. “I took it to Aspen and wore it with my mask daily,” she says. “It was ideal for touch-ups, it glides on quickly and smoothly, and it stays put.”

Up your sun protection with accessories.

If you’re really serious about preventing facial tan lines, prepare to go incognito. “Sunscreen aside, the best way to avoid the ‘COVID mask tan’ is to add oversized sunglasses with UV protective lenses,” Shamban says. That way, more of your face is covered — though still not entirely. For that, grab a hat.

“Today, almost all hats carry an SPF rating,” Shamban says. “Be sure it has a wide brim that basically covers and shades the entire area between the forehead and mask.”

Break out the self-tanner.

If you simply couldn’t avoid an obvious line of demarcation caused by wearing a mask in the sun, all hope is not lost. There are ways to quickly camouflage the unevenness. 

“To even out your tan lines, keep your skin hydrated and exfoliated,” Cheung recommends. We love Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub, which achieves both of those goals. “And try some self-tanner. The new formulations won’t make you orange.”

Spray-tanning expert Kristyn Pradas of Pradas Glow, says a self-tanning mousse is the best way to go. “Pump a little mousse into the cap,” she says. “You can then use a large, dense, synthetic makeup brush to do an all-over application.” Pradas says circular motions are the best way to blend it, and she emphasizes how important it is to sweep into the hairline and down the neck.

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