Struggling With Maskne

Struggling with Maskne (Face Mask Caused Acne)

Are you struggling with maskne; breakouts caused by wearing a face mask?  Wearing a face mask has become part of our daily routine, but is your skin suffering as a result?  Maskne or mask acne is a common side effect of using a mask, even if your skin has never broken out before.

Yep, you read that right — maskne,  the new term for breakouts caused by masks.

We know that masks provide a layer of protection. But masks can also be hard on your skin, causing problems that range from acne and peeling skin to rashes and itchiness. Masks can also irritate the skin, clog pores, and cause acne flare-ups.

Below we discuss what causes maskne, how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it.

What Is Maskne?

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In medical terms, “maskne” is what we call acne “mechanica”. This type of acne breakout is triggered when the skin is rubbed, squeezed, or stretched.

By wearing a mask, you irritate the skin, which causes clogging of the pores, and then sebum and bacteria proliferate under the skin.  Wearing a mask can also trap dirt and oil in your pores, causing breakouts, or worsening pre-existing skin issues.

What to know about maskne skin conditions?

Generally, “maskne” is an umbrella term for several skin conditions that can be caused by wearing a face mask or covering. It can include:

  • Acne.

  • Rosacea.

  • Contact dermatitis.

  • Folliculitis.

If you already have one of these conditions, you may be more prone to developing maskne.

How do face masks cause acne and skin damage?

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Just like regular acne, numerous factors may lead to the development of maskne.

Masks provide the perfect humid environment for bacteria to grow in our skin, which can lead to a breakout because masks trap moisture and bacteria and prevent moisture from escaping, resulting in a humid environment where acne-causing bacteria can thrive.

There are three main ways masks cause breakouts:


Masks can irritate friction and chafing. The areas most at risk are the bridge of the nose and where elastic bands hit behind the ears. But rubbing can occur anywhere the mask covers, defending upon how your msk fits. Over time, firmly fitting masks can squeeze the skin to cause it to break down.


The material of a mask absorbs the skin's normal oils. For certain individuals, this prompts dryness and infectability. Additionally, residue from cleansers and cleansers under the mask can irritate.  At the point when irritation becomes inflammation, you see redness, dry patches, stripping, or dull marks. On the off chance that you have a skin condition like rosacea or psoriasis, the irritation can make it flare up.


Occlusion where pores get clogged from a mask can become pimples or skin inflammation growths. Your breath caught underneath the mask makes the skin surface warm and damp. Other than regular skin acne, this environment can prompt a breakout called folliculitis, which is when yeast or microbes infect hair follicles.

Other risk factors for maskne include:

Cosmetics products

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Wearing makeup under your face mask builds the chances of clogged pores and skin inflammation mechanica breakouts.


The heat and dampness from breathing into a mask are challenging enough all alone, yet with the expanded temperature and dampness noticeable during the summer months, individuals are considerably more liable to encounter breakouts as well.

As well as causing breakouts, warmth and dampness make the manifestations more extreme, leading to deeper, painful types of pimples, including nodules, papules, pustules, and cysts.

Cool, Dry Weather

Unfortunately, the change of the season isn't probably going to offer a lot of relief for maskne victims.

Skin is probably going to be normally drying throughout this summer season, and the friction from the mask will more rapidly eliminate the skin's natural oil barrier. This can prompt folliculitis, a bacterial disease of the hair follicles as well as surrounding pores obstructing the shedding of dry skin cells.


Stress causes an increment in the creation of cortisol and different hormones. This spike in hormone production taxes the immune system, and when our tax immune system is tired, the body begins rerouting its sources from the skin, expanding skin wellbeing symptoms and taking more time for issues to be settled.

Dirty Mask

If you're not washing your mask, microscopic organisms will keep on saturating your skin. Then again, washing it can likewise cause breakouts. You could negatively respond to the washing detergent you're utilizing. Try a delicate, scent-free detergent to check whether that makes a difference.

What’s the best way to prevent mask acne?

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Struggling with maskne is annoying.  Still, don't despair! Thankfully,  there are ways to deal with acne when it starts to take over our face or body.  Here are all our best tips for treating and preventing acne caused by face masks.

Wash your face first

Your face should always be clean before you put on your mask. Use a gentle cleanser that is free of fragrance and oil and rinse with lukewarm water. This prevents dirt and oil from being trapped on the skin surface, which causes breakouts.

Choose the right mask

To keep away from skin issues, be aware of the type of mask you wear.  Wear a face mask that:

  • Fits snugly, however not very close.

Keep in mind, your mask should fit snug and cover your nose and mouth. On the off chance that the mask feels excessively close or slides around all over, it can irritate your skin. ly fitting mask. At the point when you touch your mask, you can move germs to your mask and your face.

  • Has two or more layers of fabric.

Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric for extra protection.

  • Made of natural, soft fabric (like cotton).

The fabric is also important. Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon on the layer that rests against your skin. These materials can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. Trying a 100 percent cotton mask instead. A cotton mask is a good option as it allows your skin to breathe while protecting others around you.

Use a gentle face cleanser

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A gentle cleanser can help remove excess oil, sweat, and bacteria. Avoid cleansers that contain alcohol or perfume. These ingredients can irritate and make it harder for your symptoms to heal. If your maskne is more severe and you have sensitive skin, ask your doctor or aesthetic med spa that specializes in acne, like Skin Theory, about the best type of medicated cleanser for your skin.

Don’t forget to apply a moisturizer

Although many may believe that moisturizing can lead to oily skin and blocked pores, it's still essential to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated. Not only will this keep your skin hydrated, but it will also act as a barrier between your face and your mask, reducing friction.

Apply onto a clean face before and after wearing a mask. Apply a thin layer of a light, water-based moisturizer underneath your mask.

Ditch the makeup

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If you're suffering from face mask acne, you may be tempted to cover it up with make-up, but wearing heavy products such as concealers and foundations under a face mask can block pores and make maskne harder to treat according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

If you don't want to go bare-faced, though, opt for mineral make-up which is much less likely to clog pores than liquid foundation.

Apply Retinol 5%

Another skincare secret that can help your skin fight the dreaded maskne is retinol. It is important to find topical retinol that is lightweight, non-greasy that provides hydration with the benefits of pure retinol, such as retinol 5%.

Remember to use retinol only in your nighttime skincare routine, as the retinoids break down in sunlight, making them less effective. A retinol product at night two-to-five times per week to increase cell turnover and decrease dead skin cell accumulation.

Consider maskne-preventing sunscreens

Even if 75% of your face is covered by a mask during those few moments when you’re actually outside these days, dermatologists stress that you can’t skip sunscreen. Elta MD UV Clear (for acne to normal skin type) a pH-balanced cleanser can stabilize overactive sebum production while also keeping the skin's natural moisture barrier intact.

It is a lightweight, oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic formula that doesn’t clog pores, and is full of protective antioxidants, it’s ideal for acne-prone skin.

It also contains two key ingredients that help fight breakouts. Zinc oxide and niacinamide are anti-inflammatory and do not promote oil production.

Wash your reusable mask

It may sound obvious, but if you're wearing a reusable mask, make sure to wash it every day after each use as its surface contains dirt and oil and can become a breeding ground for bacteria from your nose and mouth.

Exchange disposable masks often

We know with face mask supply shortages early on, numerous individuals were reusing disposable masks, and in case you're desperate, this is better than nothing. In any case, reusing a disposable mask isn't ideal from an efficacy standpoint to forestall skin concerns. You ought to in any event get another face mask every day, and any time your mask is harmed or shows up noticeably messy or moist.

In case you're utilizing a clinical mask, make certain to not re-utilize these and wear a clean one consistently.

Choose a fragrance-free laundry soap

Use a hypoallergenic clothes cleanser to wash your face mask as buildup from these items can likewise irritate the skin. Scents can disturb your skin — skip the cleanser, as well.

The Bottom Line

Although struggling with maskne can be frustrating,  because of the coronavirus pandemic, we might be wearing masks for a long time. The right skincare routine can help lessen mask-related skin damage and breakouts.

If your maskne is more severe, or if it persists after trying these recommendations, be sure to follow up with your dermatologist or aesthetic md spa specializing in acne care like Skin Theory.

Skin Theory Aesthetics™- See Us for a Maskne Treatment Today!

Most skin problems caused by wearing a mask are manageable by employing some of the techniques detailed above.

However, if you don’t see a difference in your skin after implementing the skincare tips above, and continue to experience breakouts and damage to your skin, seek professional help.

At Skin Theory Aesthetics™, we care about your skin, your body, and your happiness. We specialize in acne treatment.

Our board-certified aestheticians can provide relief from mask acne or other facial skin conditions you may be encountering during the pandemic.

With our extensive training and experience, we can design a treatment plan especially for you to address your particular needs.

You can request an appointment online or call us at (951) 735-5570 today.

Tags: cosmetic maskne treatment, get rid of masked-caused acne, maskne