How to Prevent Mask Acne

How to Prevent Mask Acne - raybae

While many have switched to a work-from-home environment and found that there’s little need to wear makeup, wearing masks is still necessary if you need to step out of your home for a quick grocery store run or to support your favorite local business. As a result, you may fall victim to Maskne. If you find yourself, you’re not alone. Learn what you can do to prevent mask acne from forming on your face!


What is Maskne?

‘Maskne’ is a type of skin breakout that occurs as a result of wearing a mask. While it’s typically affected healthcare workers and others in professions that require wearing masks, the number of people experiencing acne breakouts from their masks is growing in light of recent events. It’s typically isolated around the lower half of the face around the nose, mouth, and chin.

What Causes Mask Acne to Form?

There are four common reasons why you may develop acne from wearing a mask:

    1. The mask causes friction against the skin

    1. Certain fabrics may irritate the skin and cause sensitivity

    1. Temperature changes and seasonality can affect the skin’s natural moisture levels causing increased sensitivity

  1. An increase in moisture and bacteria builds up under the mask can clog pores

7 Tips for How to Prevent Mask Acne

There are numerous factors at play that can make getting completely rid of mask acne difficult. Clinical studies have shown that between 40-55% of adults are diagnosed with low-grade, persistent acne. However, there are ways you can take action now to help prevent mask acne from developing or getting worse.

1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser

First things first, make sure you’re washing your face regularly. If not both morning and night, wash away the day’s grime, stress, and activities before bed. Use a hydrating and gentle cleanser that won’t irritate your skin further, but one that also has nutrients.

woman washes her face with rosehip oil cleanser

When in doubt, go for a rosehip oil cleanser that is gentle enough for daily use, but comes packed with antioxidants to boost your skin’s vibrancy and protect against environmental stressors.

2. Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells

Supplement your skin routine by adding exfoliation into the mix. This is vital to help prevent mask acne from developing. Dead skin cell build-up can clog your pores causing breakouts to form. Avoid using abrasive ingredients that can cause long-term damage, such as ground shells. Instead, opt for a gentle product like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant.

3. Hydrate your skin with a moisturizing cream

Your skin’s natural moisture levels tend to decrease when the temperature changes making you more susceptible to breaking out from masks. It’s very common in winter when the temperature drops and heaters are turned on - both of which can dry your skin out. Choose a lighter moisturizing day cream for the morning which can be layered on other products including makeup. In the evening, use a moisturizing face cream that’s a bit heavier to lock in oils throughout the night as you sleep.

woman uses moisturizing night cream

4. Avoid harsh products (if possible)

Products that contain high levels of salicylic, hyaluronic or glycolic acid can aggravate your skin further if it’s already sensitive. While the ingredients are often used to prevent acne, your skin can develop a reaction to it when it’s too sensitive. If you experience redness, peeling, or pain on your face, it may be best to switch to a gentle skin routine until your skin settles.

5. Avoid makeup

If possible, try to avoid wearing makeup under your mask. The combination of sweat, increased moisture, chafing, and makeup are a recipe for clogged pores. If this simply isn’t an option for you, try making the switch to a more breathable product, such as Bare Minerals.

6. Wear a mask made of 100% cotton

As tempting as it may be to wear a surgical mask or an N95, those should be saved for healthcare workers. For the public, it’s recommended to wear a mask made from cotton fabric. To perform for its intended use, make sure it’s tightly woven so it can protect you in public. Cotton is a cooling and gentle fabric making it the perfect option for sensitive and acne-prone skin.

7. Wash your mask frequently

Washing your masks frequently is just as important as washing your face. Think about it - you’ve been sweating underneath it, makeup and other products have rubbed off on the fabric, and you’ve handled it more often than you’d think (taking it off and on throughout the day). Your face mask needs a bit of TLC as well! Opt for a scent-free detergent designed for sensitive skin to help prevent breaking out from masks. Try to keep a few masks on hand so you can switch them out in between washes if you can’t get to this as frequently as you’d like.

When Should You Visit A Specialist?

Sometimes you may try all of the above and still develop acne from wearing masks. If that doesn’t cut it, it may be time to visit your dermatologist. They will be able to assess your skin’s condition and prescribe a treatment plan designed for your needs. If you’re not comfortable with an in-person visit, check with your dermatologist if they offer virtual visits!

Protect Your Skin

In conclusion, there are things you can do to help prevent mask acne from developing or worsening. While it can be tricky to navigate during this stressful season, make taking care of your skin part of your wellness and self-care routine by following the helpful tips listed above.