8 Skin-Illuminating Ingredients That Might Replace Your Vitamin C

Erika Stalder

Dermatologists have long touted vitamin C as the be-all, end-all of antioxidants in skin care — and for good reason. Decades of research show that, used topically, ascorbic acid and its derivatives can lighten hyperpigmentation, encourage collagen production, and brighten the complexion overall, which are three things we'll never say no to.

But when it comes to stamping out dullness, C isn't the only game in town. In fact, if you ask some derms, the idea of relying only on vitamin C as a one-and-done solution for brightening may even be... outdated. To start, the ingredient is notoriously difficult to stabilize, which means we may not be getting the illuminating power we think we are. Variables such as light, pH level, temperature, and simply the quality of the formulation can affect how well your C does its job.

Los Angeles-based dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and researcher Ronald Moy, MD, has thrown his weight behind epidermal growth factors (or EGF, enzymes that repair damaged DNA) as a brightener that may outperform the classic antioxidant. He’s created a line called DNAEGF Renewal with the ingredient at the center, and conducted research that indicates a multitude of skin benefits. “Considering the Nobel Prize [in Chemistry] was just awarded for the concept of DNA repair in 2015, it’s a really new concept,” Dr. Moy says.

But growth factors aren't the only promising ingredients giving C a run for its money: Those well-suited for skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding, those deemed more effective for deeper skin tones, and a handful of plant-derived molecules round out other derm favorites. Ahead, 8 illuminators Dr. Moy and Miami-based dermatologist S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, are eyeing as the glow-makers of the future — that happen to be available today.

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<strong>The Brightener:</strong> Kojic Acid <br><br>Botanically-based kojic acid — found in this serum, which calms, hydrates, and brightens — is Dr. Jegasothy’s pick for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and for whom vitamin C may not be well-tolerated. The grass-green gel also includes arbutin (another brightener on our list) to break up hyperpigmentation, while cucumber and thyme work their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic magic to calm redness and irritation; a hyaluronic-acid base delivers hydration, to boot.<br><br><strong>SkinCeuticals</strong> Phyto Plus, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_Phyto%2BPlus_1915.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a><br><br>
The Brightener: Kojic Acid

Botanically-based kojic acid — found in this serum, which calms, hydrates, and brightens — is Dr. Jegasothy’s pick for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and for whom vitamin C may not be well-tolerated. The grass-green gel also includes arbutin (another brightener on our list) to break up hyperpigmentation, while cucumber and thyme work their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic magic to calm redness and irritation; a hyaluronic-acid base delivers hydration, to boot.

SkinCeuticals Phyto Plus, $, available at DermStore

Yes, this new dermatologist-approved serum does tap vitamin C to help boost its brightening cocktail (fans of <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/skinceuticals-c-e-ferulic-serum" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:C E Ferulic" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">C E Ferulic</a> will recognize the bacon-y scent this one packs, too). But in its quest to bottle the effects of an in-office IPL treatment, the brand also incorporates kojic acid and arbutin, making it quite the C-alternative powerhouse. <br> <br> <strong>Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare</strong> Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fbrand%2Fdr-dennis-gross-skincare%23locklink" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Yes, this new dermatologist-approved serum does tap vitamin C to help boost its brightening cocktail (fans of C E Ferulic will recognize the bacon-y scent this one packs, too). But in its quest to bottle the effects of an in-office IPL treatment, the brand also incorporates kojic acid and arbutin, making it quite the C-alternative powerhouse.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum, $, available at Sephora
<strong>— PAID —<br></strong> <br><strong>The Radiance-Booster: Pitera</strong><br><br>Referred to as “miracle water” in Asia, this transformative Japanese essence has earned serious skin-care clout over the past 40 years for granting softer, suppler, more luminous skin. The superstar glow-boosting ingredient here is Pitera, which contains over 50 powerful micro-nutrients and resembles skin’s natural moisturizing factors for optimal absorption and real results. Pour a few drops of the lightweight liquid into your palms and press it into your skin to help reduce the look of dark spots and boost overall radiance.<br><br><strong>SK-II</strong> Pitera First Experience Kit, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fpubads.g.doubleclick.net%2Fgampad%2Fclk%3Fid%3D5400090691%26iu%3D%2F16916245" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SK-II" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SK-II</a><br><br><br>
— PAID —

The Radiance-Booster: Pitera

Referred to as “miracle water” in Asia, this transformative Japanese essence has earned serious skin-care clout over the past 40 years for granting softer, suppler, more luminous skin. The superstar glow-boosting ingredient here is Pitera, which contains over 50 powerful micro-nutrients and resembles skin’s natural moisturizing factors for optimal absorption and real results. Pour a few drops of the lightweight liquid into your palms and press it into your skin to help reduce the look of dark spots and boost overall radiance.

SK-II Pitera First Experience Kit, $, available at SK-II


This serum, created by a holistic esthetician and cosmetic chemist, proves that purists can get in on the skin-brightening benefits of kojic acid, too. The streamlined formula (designed to be used as a spot treatment or all-around face serum) is made with just eight ingredients, pairing kojic acid with salicylic acid to reduce the appearance of dark spots and exfoliate. Not included? Synthetic chemicals, parabens, artificial dyes, gluten, dairy, and soy. <br> <br> <strong>Elina Organics</strong> Pigment Spot Treatment, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=http%3A%2F%2Felinaorganicsskincare.com%2Fpigment-spot-treatment%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Elina Organics" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Elina Organics</a>
This serum, created by a holistic esthetician and cosmetic chemist, proves that purists can get in on the skin-brightening benefits of kojic acid, too. The streamlined formula (designed to be used as a spot treatment or all-around face serum) is made with just eight ingredients, pairing kojic acid with salicylic acid to reduce the appearance of dark spots and exfoliate. Not included? Synthetic chemicals, parabens, artificial dyes, gluten, dairy, and soy.

Elina Organics Pigment Spot Treatment, $, available at Elina Organics
<strong>The Brightener:</strong> Arbutin <br><br>For those who want to cop their glow from nature, Dr. Jegasothy suggests arbutin, a natural derivative of hydroquinone found in herbs like the bearberry plant, which <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18837701" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:research" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">research</a> has indicated can help hinder the development of melasma. This smooth, non-sticky formula pairs it with moisture-retaining molecules like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, as well as milk thistle, honey, and spin trap to ward off free radicals and bacterial buildup.<br><br><strong>Arcona</strong> Instant Magic Reversal Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshop.nordstrom.com%2Fs%2Farcona-instant-magic-reversal-serum%2F3643927" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nordstrom" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nordstrom</a><br><br>
The Brightener: Arbutin

For those who want to cop their glow from nature, Dr. Jegasothy suggests arbutin, a natural derivative of hydroquinone found in herbs like the bearberry plant, which research has indicated can help hinder the development of melasma. This smooth, non-sticky formula pairs it with moisture-retaining molecules like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, as well as milk thistle, honey, and spin trap to ward off free radicals and bacterial buildup.

Arcona Instant Magic Reversal Serum, $, available at Nordstrom

When looking to swap out our heavy moisturizer for a creamy serum in summer, San Antonio-based dermatologist <a href="https://www.drvivianbucay.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vivian Bucay" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vivian Bucay</a>, MD, <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/lightweight-serums-for-summer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:pointed us" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">pointed us</a> in the direction of this arbutin-fueled serum, which she says is one of the best on the market for reducing hyperpigmentation. <br> <br> <strong>Skinbetter</strong> Even Tone Correcting Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fskinbetter.com%2Fproducts%2Frejuvenate-even-tone-correcting-serum-face%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Skinbetter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Skinbetter</a>
When looking to swap out our heavy moisturizer for a creamy serum in summer, San Antonio-based dermatologist Vivian Bucay, MD, pointed us in the direction of this arbutin-fueled serum, which she says is one of the best on the market for reducing hyperpigmentation.

Skinbetter Even Tone Correcting Serum, $, available at Skinbetter
<strong>The Brightener:</strong> Epidermal Growth Factors <br><br>"<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10048308" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Scientific studies" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Scientific studies</a> have shown that human Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) bio-engineered from a plant improves facial pigmentation ... [and] improves acne scars," Dr. Moy says. This serum, created by the derm, uses DNA-repairing growth factors to boost glow.<br><br><strong>DNA Renewal</strong> DNA Regeneration Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dnaegfrenewal.com%2Fproducts%2Fdna-regeneration-serum" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DNA Renewal" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DNA Renewal</a><br><br>
The Brightener: Epidermal Growth Factors

"Scientific studies have shown that human Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) bio-engineered from a plant improves facial pigmentation ... [and] improves acne scars," Dr. Moy says. This serum, created by the derm, uses DNA-repairing growth factors to boost glow.

DNA Renewal DNA Regeneration Serum, $, available at DNA Renewal

In nascent research, growth factor serums show an ability to quell a laundry list of skin woes (including stimulating stem cells in the skin, tightening skin, and reducing the appearance of eye bags, according to Dr. Moy), which is pretty cool. What's <em>not</em> cool are the price tags attached to skin care with such heavy R&D. This serum, though expensive, is so potent, you only need a couple drops — which means this teeny-tiny bottle actually goes the distance. <br> <br> <strong>Bioeffect</strong> EGF Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fcellular-age-defying-serum-P434554" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
In nascent research, growth factor serums show an ability to quell a laundry list of skin woes (including stimulating stem cells in the skin, tightening skin, and reducing the appearance of eye bags, according to Dr. Moy), which is pretty cool. What's not cool are the price tags attached to skin care with such heavy R&D. This serum, though expensive, is so potent, you only need a couple drops — which means this teeny-tiny bottle actually goes the distance.

Bioeffect EGF Serum, $, available at Sephora
<strong>The Brightener:</strong> Azelaic Acid <br><br>Dr. Jegasothy, who specializes in treating skin with darker tones, says that this ingredient seems to be most effective for her deeper-skinned clients. At 10%, this formulation wields one of the highest over-the-counter concentrations of azelaic acid on the market — it's just half the prescription-strength potency of what was used in double-blind studies, which showed the ingredient to decrease <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9829446/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:melasma" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">melasma</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9829446" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation</a> in skin of color.<br><br><strong>Paula's Choice</strong> 10% Azelaic Acid Booster , $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_10%2BAzelaic%2BAcid%2BBooster_77340.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a><br><br>
The Brightener: Azelaic Acid

Dr. Jegasothy, who specializes in treating skin with darker tones, says that this ingredient seems to be most effective for her deeper-skinned clients. At 10%, this formulation wields one of the highest over-the-counter concentrations of azelaic acid on the market — it's just half the prescription-strength potency of what was used in double-blind studies, which showed the ingredient to decrease melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in skin of color.

Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster , $, available at DermStore

Azalaic acid and niacinamide (another ingredient on our list) join proven acne fighters like salicylic acid in this gel serum, designed to do away with dull tone and tackle blemishes without irritating the skin. <br> <br> <strong>Skin Design London</strong> Acne Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.neimanmarcus.com%2Fp%2Fskin-design-london-acne-serum-1-0-oz-30-ml-prod206470070" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Neiman Marcus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Neiman Marcus</a>
Azalaic acid and niacinamide (another ingredient on our list) join proven acne fighters like salicylic acid in this gel serum, designed to do away with dull tone and tackle blemishes without irritating the skin.

Skin Design London Acne Serum, $, available at Neiman Marcus
<strong>The Brightener:</strong> Niacinamide <br><br>Dr. Moy likes niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) for its ability to increase DNA repair when taken orally and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Formulators like the ingredient used topically for its multi-tasking abilities, as it can address uneven texture in addition to dullness. Niacinamide stars as the main ingredient in this ampoule, which also features five types of hyaluronic acid to quench dry skin.<br><br><strong>Leegeehaam</strong> Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.glowrecipe.com%2Fproducts%2Fleegeehaam-grow-hyal-b5-ampoule" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Glow Recipe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Glow Recipe</a><br><br>
The Brightener: Niacinamide

Dr. Moy likes niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) for its ability to increase DNA repair when taken orally and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Formulators like the ingredient used topically for its multi-tasking abilities, as it can address uneven texture in addition to dullness. Niacinamide stars as the main ingredient in this ampoule, which also features five types of hyaluronic acid to quench dry skin.

Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule, $, available at Glow Recipe

Peptides, collagen amino acids, microalgae oil beads, and niacinamide help form this treatment, geared to smooth and add life to dull, lackluster skin. <br> <br> <strong>Algenist</strong> GENIUS Liquid Collagen, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fgenius-liquid-collagen-P421277" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>
Peptides, collagen amino acids, microalgae oil beads, and niacinamide help form this treatment, geared to smooth and add life to dull, lackluster skin.

Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen, $, available at Sephora
Niacinamide, licorice, and white willow bark root — a natural alternative to retinol — may play second fiddle to skin-nourishing sake in this product named for the fermented rice drink, but fans love the liquid's ability to illuminate skin. <br> <br> <strong>100% Pure</strong> Fermented Rice Water Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.100percentpure.com%2Fproducts%2Ffermented-rice-water-serum" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:100% Pure" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">100% Pure</a>
Niacinamide, licorice, and white willow bark root — a natural alternative to retinol — may play second fiddle to skin-nourishing sake in this product named for the fermented rice drink, but fans love the liquid's ability to illuminate skin.

100% Pure Fermented Rice Water Serum, $, available at 100% Pure
<strong>The Brightener:</strong> Retinol <br><br>"Most people think about retinol as the ingredient you use to treat wrinkles, but it should be used in every skin-brightening regimen," says <a href="https://www.instagram.com/joshzeichnermd" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Joshua Zeichner" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Joshua Zeichner</a>, MD, a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Besides stimulating collagen, it enhances cell turnover to help the skin shed pigmented cells on the surface of the skin for improved radiance." This liquid formula taps both niacinamide <em>and</em> a low-dose retinol to brighten sensitive skin.<br><br><strong>Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare</strong> Calm Level 2 Vitamin A Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_Calm%2B%2BLevel%2B2%2BVitamin%2BA%2BSerum_43896.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a><br><br>
The Brightener: Retinol

"Most people think about retinol as the ingredient you use to treat wrinkles, but it should be used in every skin-brightening regimen," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Besides stimulating collagen, it enhances cell turnover to help the skin shed pigmented cells on the surface of the skin for improved radiance." This liquid formula taps both niacinamide and a low-dose retinol to brighten sensitive skin.

Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare Calm Level 2 Vitamin A Serum, $, available at DermStore

This serum is a solid bet for those who are working to simultaneously banish a dull complexion and zits: Retinol and niacinamide join forces to brighten, while salicylic acid helps sweep away dead skin cells and address acne. <br> <br> <strong>Cosmedix</strong> Clarity Skin-Clarifying Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmedix.com%2Fclarity-30-ml" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cosmedix" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cosmedix</a>
This serum is a solid bet for those who are working to simultaneously banish a dull complexion and zits: Retinol and niacinamide join forces to brighten, while salicylic acid helps sweep away dead skin cells and address acne.

Cosmedix Clarity Skin-Clarifying Serum, $, available at Cosmedix
<strong>The Brightener: </strong>Turmeric <br><br>"Turmeric is a potent antioxidant that can help calm skin inflammation and interfere with production of abnormal pigmentation," Dr. Zeichner says. Catch a trifecta of brightening power with this blend, which combines turmeric root with micro-encapsulated retinol and a dose of vitamin C.<br><br><strong>Marie Veronique</strong> Treatment Retinol Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.marieveronique.com%2Fproducts%2Ftreatment-retinol-serum" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Marie Veronique" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Marie Veronique</a><br><br>
The Brightener: Turmeric

"Turmeric is a potent antioxidant that can help calm skin inflammation and interfere with production of abnormal pigmentation," Dr. Zeichner says. Catch a trifecta of brightening power with this blend, which combines turmeric root with micro-encapsulated retinol and a dose of vitamin C.

Marie Veronique Treatment Retinol Serum, $, available at Marie Veronique

This vitamin C serum goes for optimum brightening power, thanks to three additional clarifiers that make our derms' most-wanted list: turmeric extract, retinol, and niacinamide. <br> <br> <strong>Avya Skincare</strong> Anti-Aging Power Serum with Vitamin C, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.avyaskincare.com%2Fproducts%2Fanti-aging-power-serum" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Avya Skincare" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Avya Skincare</a>
This vitamin C serum goes for optimum brightening power, thanks to three additional clarifiers that make our derms' most-wanted list: turmeric extract, retinol, and niacinamide.

Avya Skincare Anti-Aging Power Serum with Vitamin C, $, available at Avya Skincare

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    I’m going to kick this off with two statements that are likely beyond obvious to you (unless you’ve spent the first half of 2020 living off the land in the desolate wilderness with nothing but a penknife and a ball of cord to keep you company, à la My Side of The Mountain). You should be wearing a mask. And it’s freaking hot outside. What do these two things have to do with other? Well, wearing a mask in the heat is a pain. Masks can get sweaty, feel stuffy, and can even leave us with a heat rash.“It’s worth acknowledging that masks are uncomfortable, especially when it’s hot and humid,” says Nate Favini, MD, medical lead at Forward, a concierge medical service. “They’re annoying, and I don’t think we should pretend that’s not true. I’m empathetic — but it doesn’t mean that wearing a mask isn’t crucial.” Because the fact is, face masks work. They reduce transmission, helping to curb the spread of coronavirus and to quite literally save lives. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an increasing number of cases, so it’s more important than ever to wear a mask,” says Natasha Bhuyan, MD, One Medical’s regional medical director. “Until we have a vaccine, widespread masks are our best defense against this virus.”But when it’s hot and sticky outside, and the humid air you’re exhaling is getting trapped by your mask, things might get a little stifling, admits Dr. Bhuyan. (To be clear: While there’s a myth circulating that wearing a mask can lower oxygen levels, it’s not true. Doctors and nurses wear them all day long, and they’re doing okay. “Even though we are exhaling carbon dioxide, it already exists in the environment… Wearing the mask does not increase this risk,” Dr. Bhuyan says.)So, yes, wearing a face mask on a 100-degree day is still worth it. And to make it easier on you, we asked doctors for their best tips for staying comfortable while doing your civic duty and covering your face in steamy temps. Get a more breathable mask. Choose one that has more structure than those that lie flat against your mouth. But Dr. Favini cautions that the more breathable a mask is, the less protection it may offer to the people around you. “There’s the tension of wanting people to have masks that are more comfortable versus wanting them to have ones that are more effective.” So if you’re going to be indoors and/or around others, wear a more effective mask, even if it makes you feel hotter. (Or layer up. Which brings us to…)Choose the right material. This is especially important if you’re getting heat rashes from your mask. “Consider fabrics that are either natural, like cotton, or synthetic fabrics that wick away sweat, such as fabric found in exercise clothing,” says Ted Lain, MD, dermatologist and chief medical officer at Sanova Dermatology. “The latest recommendation is to use multiple layers of fabric to produce the most effective protective barrier to the virus, so instead of using a thick cotton, consider a thinner cotton fabric but layering it.”Bring backups. A sweaty mask stinks — literally and figuratively. So have a few fresh ones in your bag. That way if you sweat through one, you’ll have another at the ready. This can make you more comfortable, and prevent breakouts. “Sweating and the humidity in the mask area certainly can lead to a dermatitis, or even an acne breakout,” says Dr. Lain. Pack each extra in a clean, sealable plastic baggie so it won’t be exposed to any germs before you slip it on your face.Time your “chin strap” moments. Sure, if you’re totally alone, then it’s fine to pull your mask down and take a few deep breaths. But then pull it back up, Dr. Favini says: “Wearing your mask down around your chin is like having a condom and leaving it on the nightstand while you have sex.” Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?