Drop the Maskne, Not the Mask

Of all the imperfections of 2020 (and that’s putting it nicely), the latest is the type on our skin that hides under our masks. We all know wearing a mask in public is not optional, but learning how to deal with the stubborn acne that comes with it is. 

The term has been coined “maskne”. The term means mask-induced acne around our nose, cheek, and mouth area. After conducting significant research, I’m here to explain what it is and give you three easy dermatologist-approved recommendations to get rid of it.

So, what are these mask-induced breakouts, and why are you getting them?

The scientific term for maskne is “acne mechanica,” technically referring to acne caused by friction. In this case, our mask is creating friction on our skin, leading to those stubborn pimples popping up. The moisture and recycled air underneath the mask is another cause. Though this type of acne may be seen as a hindrance, there are several things we can do to lessen its severity or banish it altogether. Here are the top three recommendations:

  1. 1. Choosing the right facemask (and washing it!)

    election ballot with red and blue masks

    Fortunately, there are a ton of options for styles and types of masks out there, but dermatologists have found that some are more acne-prone than others. It’s recommended to look for a facemask that is lightweight, made from cotton or silk specifically. These materials appear to create less friction on the skin. The thin fabric also allows for your skin to breathe! Dermatologists also recommend washing your mask daily, so you’ll want to have enough on hand to rotate during the laundry cycles. 

    Don’t want to deal with having to wash reusable masks? Another option is a typical blue surgical mask. You can replace these every day; the only downside is that they are not environmentally friendly. They are thin and allow you to easily have a fresh, clean mask on your face. 

  2. 2. Stick to an oil-free, basic facewash and moisturizer

    Medicine cabinet packed full of skincare products

    As for skincare routines, experts always say less is more but now it’s more important than ever. Especially when breaking out, you shouldn’t overdo it with a million different products. Find a gentle, oil-free cleanser with healthy acids, if possible, to prevent further breakouts while treating the current ones.

    Even though “maskne” is partly caused by the moisture between your skin and the fabric, it is a different kind of moisture than the one your skin needs so don’t skip out on hydrating products. A lightweight, oil-free moisturizer can actually help create a barrier between the mask and your pores!

  3. 3. Go for a minimal makeup look

    Woman putting on makeup with a face mask on

    One of the perks of wearing a mask in public is that people can only see half of your face (am I the only one that appreciates that?). If possible, try to minimize the amount of makeup you wear, especially if you are going to be wearing a mask all day. If anything, go for a lightweight or powder foundation rather than a full-coverage foundation.

Aside from these easy three, there are a ton of great tips from professionals offering their most effective advice to combat stubborn mask-induced acne. We all know how important it is to wear our masks in public. However, while we are simultaneously saving lives, we should also be proactive in taking care of our skin. What a strange year 2020 is!