From New York to Hong Kong, a new must-wear item has arrived: the cloth face mask. But while you help protect yourself and others from germs, your skin might be a little more stressed than usual—especially if you’re already prone to dryness, zits, or irritation.

Saving our day (and our selfies) is Dr. Ava Shamban, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of SKIN FIVE and Ava MD. (Her skincare practice is so legit, clients even text her from the Oscars.) Here’s Dr. Ava’s super-honest advice on protecting your skin while protecting everyone’s health, too.

STEP ONE: CLEAN UP
“Keeping your skin barrier strong is key,” says Dr. Ava, “so gentle cleansers with mild exfoliants will be extremely helpful.” She recommends using an “oil-based, milky, or foaming” formula to keep skin calm and balanced.
OUR PICK: Honest Beauty Gel-to-Milk Cleanser, $14.99

STEP TWO: GET FRUITY
TLC don’t want no scrubs, but your skin does—specifically, scrubs with fruit extracts. “Enzymatic exfoliation from papaya or pineapple will literally dissolve dead skin… without any disruption” says Dr. Ava, who suggests using a fruit-based scrub 2-4 times a week, depending on skin type. (More if you’re oily, less if you’re dry.)
OUR PICK: Huda Beauty Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, $39

STEP THREE: MOISTURIZE
Look for Dr. Ava’s favorite hydrating ingredients, “hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides, chamomile, [and] aloe vera,” which she suggests applying before and directly after wearing a face mask.
OUR PICK: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, $7.70

STEP FOUR: SPOT CHECK
Got zits? It happens. “The skin is our largest organ and it needs to breathe,” Dr. Ava reminds us. “A mask can lead to a buildup of sweat, oils, and bacteria that further clogs pores,” which can lead to (yep) chin acne. Treat it fast with a thin layer of salicylic gel or zinc cream.
OUR PICK: Differin Gel, $15.49

STEP FIVE: FINAL PROTECTIONS
Pretend you’re in Les Mis and barricade your skin with sealing moisture. Dr. Ava recommends clear balm to protect your lips and also the delicate skin under your eyes where a mask might rub and chafe. You can even use an Epi-Derm silicone strip under your mask to prevent rawness.
OUR PICK: Smith’s Rosebud Salve, $7

STEP SIX: AFTERCARE
Repeat the whole process when you take off your mask at home, then add a heavy night cream to load your skin with nutrients as you load up your Netflix queue…
OUR PICK: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream, $13.99

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