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How to Fight “Mask-ne,” Our Newest Skincare Enemy

As the COVID-19 pandemic has required the use of face coverings in public to slow the spread of the virus, many of us are wearing masks for long periods of time. Individuals with sensitive or acne prone skin are more susceptible to breakouts under the mask, Even some of us with more normal skin types are experiencing clogged pores resulting in pimples and skin nightmares, now known as “mask-ne.” 

So what exactly is happening under that mask all day? Face coverings are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which become trapped between the skin and the mask, as the skin is often warm and moist due to breathing, talking, and sweating. This can cause not only acne and breakouts, but also dry, irritated skin and even allergic reactions.


Cleanse your face daily and before wearing a face covering. A great gentle, acne-fighting cleanser is The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser. The ingredient Salicylic Acid is a form of a Beta-Hydroxy Acid, known as BHA. BHA’s are great for exfoliating the skin to reduce oil, cleanse pores, and prevent acne. The best part is, this cleanser retails for only $9.99.


Moisturizing your face is a key step to keeping the skin bright, hydrated, and happy. Finding a moisturizer that is not too heavy or sticky is extremely important, especially while the skin is already suffocated by the use of masks. The Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion – Blemish Prone/Oily Skin is an oil-free moisturizer that offers lightweight hydration and refines the appearance of pores, for a smoother skin texture. This moisturizer contains ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, and arnica to hydrate, support cell turnover, and soothe the skin under that mask. The moisturizer sells for $42 at Sephora and Ulta.


Once you have a good combination of a cleanser and moisturizer, it’s time to treat the imperfections on your skin! Mask-ne doesn’t stand a chance against these acne-fighting, concentrated treatments. The Peace Out Salicylic Acid Acne Healing Dots are the perfect quick-trick to reduce blemish size and minimize breakouts in a pinch. These hydrocolloid patches are infused with salicylic acid, vitamin-A, and aloe to absorb excess oil on the skin, dissolve pore congestion, and calm  redness or irritation. Pop these bad boys on overnight, wear under makeup, or your mask to battle your blemishes. These healing dots retail for $19 at Sephora.


The Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment Gel is a must-have for those stubborn pimples that don’t seem to go away. This acne spot treatment helps to quickly fight, fade, and prevent future blemishes while controlling oil. With 1.5 percent salicylic acid and saw palmetto–a species of the palm plant that reduces inflammation– this spot treatment is perfect to use at night time on clean skin. Similarly to the healing dots, the acne treatment gel can be purchased for $19 dollars at Sephora and Ulta.

While there are many products on the market that can help control mask-ne, consider trying these tried-and-true favorites when shopping for new products to add to your skincare routine. Remember to always do a patch test when trying new and possibly sensitizing products. Remember, mask-ne or not, you and your always-changing skin are beautiful!

Hi there! I'm a senior at ODU studying Women & Gender Studies and Journalism. I'm also a makeup artist at Sephora, and the social media director and beauty section editor for HC ODU. I'm a proud plant and frenchie mama who loves coffee.
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