10+ Tips For Avoiding Maskne (Acne from Your Mask)

Do you know what Maskne is? Unfortunately, I do, because I have a mild case of it. Maskne is acne on your cheeks and chin caused by face masks. We are all trying to navigate the new world of face coverings, some of us opting for bejeweled, and some of us opting for the most simple, disposable, kind available. We’ve tried bandanas, homemade, cloth, paper, store bought and surgical, and none are comfortable and all have the potential for irritation.

Masks cause breakouts because:

  • they trap humidity and heat
  • they aggravate the sensitive facial skin they are in contact with
  • they can harbor bacteria
  • residue from manufacturing or even detergent can be irritating
  • we may actually be touching our face more with a mask to adjust and scratch
  • increased anxiety -> increased potential for acne

Other than staying at home and going mask free, here are some simple ways to prevent maskne.

1. Develop a good skin regimen now, before the weather changes, and you will likely be wearing masks more often. This is especially important for students.

2. Wash your face in the morning before putting on your mask, and if possible, each time before covering up

3. After working out and before donning a mask, clean any sweat and debris off your face (stock up on disposable face cloths now as they may become the new toilet paper … from a shortage standpoint, not a wiping your butt standpoint)

4. Don’t reuse disposable masks.

5. Wash cloth masks every day.

6. Try not to rub your mask against your face.

7. Don’t wear makeup under your mask.

8. Choose masks that are effective, yet breathable and non-irritating, 100% cotton masks have been touted as the best choice

9. Know the difference between acne and a skin reaction* as each is treated differently.

10. Be mindful of what masks are causing you to breakout more, and try something different.

11. Take your mask completely off your face when it is safe to do so, rather than letting it hang off an ear

If you are unsure if you have maskne or an allergic reaction, call your doctor. Also speak to a health professional if your breakouts are severe and consistent. It is better to treat before it escalates.


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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.