The skin behind your ears is quite sensitive—that’s why many experts suggest patch testing new products in that area, as any irritation will likely show up in that delicate spot (it’s also discrete enough to hide, just in case you do face a reaction to a certain ingredient. But anyways!).
In terms of what to do, let’s revert back to the maskne conversation, shall we? Just as you’d tend to the skin around your mouth and nose, the same counsel goes for the skin behind your ears: According to board-certified dermatologist Purshiva Patel, M.D., founder of Visha Skincare, applying an occlusive behind the ears (like a cream or oil) can keep the loops from rubbing that sensitive skin raw. So while you’re smearing on a hydrating moisturizer before securing your mask, massage a little product behind the ears as well, for good measure.
While having some sort of barrier can he helpful, unfortunately (just like with maskne) some irritation is inevitable. Especially if you’re wearing the mask for quite some time, your ears are bound to become sore at some point. The key here, Patel notes, is to tend to your ears after the fact—just as you would for mask-induced irritation on your face. She recommends dabbing a moisturizing cream behind the ears—or anywhere you face friction, for that matter—at night to soothe the area. Look for hydrating, anti-inflammatory creams that help repair the skin barrier (this option includes aloe, jojoba oil, and glycerin), or spot-treat the area with straight aloe or a soothing colloidal oat mixture.