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How to solve “Maskne” (mask acne) breakouts

How to solve “Maskne” (mask acne) breakouts

how to solve maskne
how to solve maskne

Of all the skincare concerns consumers Googled this past year, there was one that topped all others: maskne. The global Covid-19 pandemic forced a worldwide population to suddenly wear face masks daily. Frontline health workers faced the biggest urgency for masking up but everyone from teens walking to school to retirees visiting grocery stores were required to slip on masks. It suddenly became a part of our daily life.

how to solve maskne
how to solve maskne

To start, maskne is a breakout of pimples primarily caused by wearing a cloth face mask. The medical term for the condition is ‘acne mechanica’ and it is the result of the friction of the mask fabric rubbing against the skin. It’s the friction that irritates the skin causing inflammation leading to acne.

how to solve maskne
how to solve maskne

Acne itself, is a skin condition that occurs when pores are clogged with sebum, skin cells, sweat, moisture or dirt. These clog propinibacterium acnes bacteria, which naturally occurs on the skin, in our pores. When trapped beneath the skin’s surface, ithe bacteria can cause inflammation and infection leading to the creation of ‘pimples’.

Not surprisingly, it isn’t just the mask friction that can lead to these uncomfortable breakouts. Sweat and humidity from your breath gets trapped in the mask. Dermatologist believe this sweat and humidity trapped under a mask for a prolonged period of time can spur these breakouts. It’s a combination of mask friction and trapped breath that causes maskne.

If you find yourself dealing with an acne breakout under your mask, there are steps to help heal and solve this skin condition quickly. To start, switch to a double-layered lightweight cotton mask if you can. Synthetic masks tend to trap moisture and bacteria more than natural fabrics. Clean it daily with fragrance-free and dye-free gentle detergents. Fragrance is the number one skin irritant so this single step could solve the issue.

If you are suffering from a bad maskne breakout, try switching to a clean face mask every two hours. This will prevent the humidity and bacteria from building up under the mask.

Try a spot treatment on your acne spots. Look for a formula that contains benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

how to solve maskne
how to solve maskne

Wash your face twice a day using a very gentle cream cleanser. Avoid any cleanser containing sodium lauryl sulfate as it can strip skin’s moisture barrier. Use lukewarm water to rinse and apply a lightweight oil-free moisturizer. Look for one with hyaluronic acid which has soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. You may want to go light with the makeup as many foundations and primers contain oils which can clog pores when they are trapped under a mask.

Don’t forget your lips. Lips are one of the areas likely to be most impacted by mask wearing. Be sure to apply a good quality lip balm regularly to prevent mask irritation and dryness.

If you follow these simple steps, you may find that your maskne clears up in a few days. If the condition persists or gets worse, it is worth contacting your doctor or dermatologist. You may need prescription cream or treatment to bring your skin back into a healthy balance.

how to solve maskne
how to solve maskne

And to everyone who is wearing a mask daily, thank you. You are helping to prevent the community spread of this virus.

19 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan T.
    February 8, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    I think the one thing that has really helped me is to not wear makeup under my mask. I seriously just powder my forehead and put concealer under my eyes and I’m done!

  • Reply
    ashleigh allan
    January 30, 2022 at 3:46 am

    Really helpful

  • Reply
    Gabrielle
    January 11, 2022 at 11:36 am

    This is advice that it looks like we’ll be needing for some time to come. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Nikiwe Dlamini
    January 8, 2022 at 6:30 am

    I’ve had these symptoms but I did know that they were caused by wearing cloth masks, let alone that they now even have a name.

  • Reply
    Demi Aspiotis
    December 27, 2021 at 11:30 am

    I’ve been struggling with nearly weekly mascne breakouts. I change my mask 2x time a day since I have to use the synthetic ones for work. I find that not wearing makeup also helps – as much as I want to try to cover these breakouts (and particularly the hyperpigmentation that they leave) adding makeup and then wearing a mask causes more acne for me.

    I also use a moisturizer with ceramides in it. Oddly enough I love the Aveeno excema baby lotion! Super hydrating and soaks right in!

  • Reply
    bn100
    December 23, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    useful tips

  • Reply
    AD
    December 20, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    OMG, I really needed this post. Masking has been destroying my skin (but I will still wear that mask to prevent the spread of the virus).

  • Reply
    Sandra Deffner
    December 20, 2021 at 5:03 am

    Thank you for these great tips. The masks along with menopause has me breaking out worst than I did as a teenager.

  • Reply
    Anna Z
    December 14, 2021 at 1:44 am

    Very useful information.

  • Reply
    Dani Mabe
    December 9, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    I really needed to read this post! @fatbabydoll

  • Reply
    Sandy Weinstein
    December 8, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    i have had problems with this as well, i have some red broken blood vessels and my skin breaks out. cant wait til when and if we can ever stop wearing masks. i have seen my dermatologists but she said to wait on the red places because they could come back.

  • Reply
    Alexis Wolfe
    December 6, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    The blog post we all needed

  • Reply
    Emily
    December 3, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    So happy you’ve posted these tips!

  • Reply
    Emily
    December 3, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    So happy you’ve posted these tips!

  • Reply
    Gabriela L.
    December 2, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you for the tips!

  • Reply
    Varsha
    December 1, 2021 at 7:33 am

    Definitely needed this ! So happy to find this while browsing your blog posts

  • Reply
    Andrea Leger
    February 7, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    I need to read this!!!

  • Reply
    Branka Stefanovic
    February 7, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    So needed 🙏 @luckyBgirl

  • Reply
    Anna Roszak-Robinson
    January 4, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you!

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