Treating and Preventing “Maskne” (Mask Acne)

That’s right – with everything else that COVID-19 has brought, one of the most common annoyances trending lately is acne breakouts from wearing masks – known as “Maskne”. At Springhouse Dermatology, we are committed to mask-wearing to reduce transmission of the virus, so we have all been aware of the associated problems they can cause. The challenging weather in the Philadelphia area contributes to the problem too, as sweat and oils build up under the mask.

Here are some dermatologist approved-tips to keep your skin clear under your mask – preventing mask acne before it pops up, or treating current breakouts.

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Acne breakouts from wearing masks – known as 'Maskne'

Preventative Measures for Treating Mask Acne

While you can’t always stop maskne from appearing, there are steps you can take to prevent it, or reduce its severity.

  1. Consider the material your mask is made of. A tightly woven 100% cotton mask can be an effective option, as it allows the skin to breathe while still helping to protect you and others from virus transmission.
  2. Simplify your skincare and makeup routine. Wear as little makeup as possible under your mask – consider an application of just sunscreen and tinted moisturizer. Moisturizer also prevents friction from your mask, which contributes to mask acne.
  3. Try shifting medication timings. If you use prescription or topical medication on your skin, try to shift the application to the evening. Seek guidance from your dermatologist if you are unsure how to do this. Why? Any medication that is covered up with a mask increases the strength and penetration into the skin. Sometimes we use this to enhance a treatment effect, but when you are wearing treatments that are not meant to be covered, this can cause too much to be absorbed into the skin causing irritation, blocked pores, bacterial outbreaks, and acne.
  4. Regularly wash your mask. If you wear reusable masks, regularly washing these ensure any traces of the virus are destroyed, as well as removing oils and dead skin cells.

Treating Mask Acne Breakouts

If you’re currently experiencing acne from your mask, here are a few maskne treatments:

  1. Consider an antibacterial cleanser CLN if you have painful cysts or whiteheads. Benzoyl peroxide may be used to “spot treat” areas of breakouts.
    Otherwise, clean your skin with a gentle cleanser containing glycolic acid if you are dry, and salicylic acid if you are oily. These compounds will help you to remove dirt and exfoliate dead skin cells instead of letting them build up and block pores.
    Note: When cleaning, take care not to over-wash your face, as this can dry it out and trick the skin into thinking it needs to produce more oil.
  2. Realize that stress is a factor in breakouts and be kind to yourself during this time!
  3. If your mask acne persists despite the tips above, come in for a visit at our Philadelphia area office – we have many options that can help you maintain your skin health.

But most importantly: Wear a mask and social distance to save lives and end COVID-19 so we can all get back to life as we knew it – as soon as we can!

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Top Doctors 2019 - Dr. Margo Weishar
Written By:
Dr. Margo Weishar
Board Certified Dermatologist, Montgomery County

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