How to treat and prevent ‘maskne’ according to the experts

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Suffering from breakouts under your mask? The daily wearing of face coverings has caused a new skincare problem for many of us in the form of mask-induced acne or ‘maskne’. Here we ask the experts how we can treat and prevent these breakouts…

How to treat and prevent ‘maskne’

What is maskne?

Mask-induced acne, aka ‘maskne’, refers to spots, redness or inflammation on your nose, mouth and chin caused by wearing a face covering. “Face masks increase the risk of breakouts as they promote sweating in a confined area, which can block pores,” says Dr. Benji Dhillon, cosmetic director and co-founder of DEFINE Clinic. “In addition, friction between the mask and the skin’s surface encourages bacteria and dirt to enter these pores, which can turn into an acneic spot or exacerbate already inflamed skin.”

How can you prevent it?

Consider ditching the make-up, says Dr. Raj Arora, GP and aesthetic doctor for skin-tech brand FOREO. “Heavy make-up underneath your mask can mix with sweat and moisture and contribute to clogging pores. Due to the humidity under the mask, there will be excess sebum production and multiplying skin bacteria which can result in acne. I would recommend staying make-up free if possible.”


“But if you feel the need to wear foundation/concealer then my recommendations for make-up would be to use a mineralised foundation/powder such as Bare Minerals Blemish Rescue powder. Mineralised make-up is oil-free and provides a gentle approach to the skin.”

What to do after wearing a mask

Dr. Arora also stresses the importance of cleaning your mask after every wear. “Ensure that you use a new clean mask where possible and if you must re-use your mask then ensure you are wiping it clean after use with an alcohol-based spray. Leave it to dry before wearing it.”

And you’ll want to amp up your daily skincare routine. Dr. Dhillon recommends a cleanser containing salicylic acid to deeply clean the pores and calm any existing inflammation. “It’s important to cleanse skin in the morning, evening and – if possible – cleanse during the day if you’re wearing a mask for extended periods of time. Using a gentle cleanser in-between your morning and evening routine will help to unblock pores further and prevent the build-up of sweat and dirt.”

What ways can maskne be treated?

Other saviors could include skincare products containing vitamin C and niacinamide. “The vitamin C will help to calm inflamed skin, while the niacinamide will work to regulate skin’s oil production and minimise the appearance of pores.” Dr. Dhillon explains.

While Dr. Arora says you could use a blue light device, such as Espada by FOREO, in areas that are prone to breakouts to help reduce the acne causing bacteria on the skin. “Prescribed spot treatments such as benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be applied to isolated spots,” she adds.

Main image: Shutterstock

By Sam

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