Mask Acne AKA Maskne: COVID-19 Related Acne

Updated: May 30, 2021

If you have been wearing your mask for the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most likely, you experienced breakouts in your mask area. As if COVID-19 was not troublesome enough, smh.

Face masks trap your breath in your mask area resulting in increased temperature and humidity due to excessive sweating. Combining high temperature with moisture plus adding friction to the equation creates a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow and thrive, creating irritating pimples on your nose and chin known as “Maskne” or “Acne Mechanica”.


When it comes to prevention, less is always more! Complicated multi-step skincare routines might help with other skin problems, however, This is not the case with acne mechanica. Here is your guide to preventing Maskne:

Be Gentle

Friction irritates your skin. Use a gentle soap-free facial cleanser after taking off your mask to wash the sweat and sebum off of your face.

Put your shield up!

A thin layer of lightweight moisturizers with high zinc content will serve as an extra barrier on your skin against friction.

Zinc contributes a ton in fighting acne and reducing inflammation. You can find zinc listed on your product ingredients list or naturally occurring in some oils like pumpkin seed oil and Goji berry seed oil.

Fragrances belong on your clothes, not your face!

Ditch scented face products for a while, especially if you have sensitive skin. Perfumes, natural and artificial, can flare up your skin, especially in increased temperatures.

Break-up with makeup!

I know, right?! Makeup can clog your pores badly, causing breakouts in normal circumstances. Imagine its effect in high temperature on a sweaty face. Search for non-comedogenic products that won't clog pores.

Less is more

Skin absorbs products much easier in higher temperatures. Think about it. We usually steam our face before applying face masks to absorb their goodies. The same thing happens under your face mask. Be

careful of retinoids and salicylic acid. They are very beneficial, but they might irritate your skin if absorbed in higher concentrations.

Be Clean

If you are wearing a disposable mask, take it off immediately if it got wet for any reason. In case of wearing a washable face mask, make sure to wash it daily, and have a clean extra pair.


A huge part of treating your Maskne is applying the prevention steps.

  • Cleanse or wipe your face with a gentle cleanser or micellar water after taking your mask off.

  • Apply a moisturizer rich in ceramides and zinc to repair your skin barrier and heal your acne. Benzoyl peroxide OTC creams can also help.

  • Always remember to visit a dermatologist if your skin condition has worsened.

Pimples might be irritating but not as quite as spreading a virus. Stay safe out there, and always wear your mask.

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