How To Prevent Mask Acne

December 2, 2020

Skin problems caused by wearing face masks

Call it a sign of the times. As face mask use has increased so have skin problems, such as acne and breakouts, related to mask use. Although face masks are vital to the fight against spreading coronavirus, masks can be hard on your skin. Skin problems related to masks range from acne and peeling skin to rashes and itchiness. There is even a new word, ‘maskne’, to reflect this growing skin issue.

Here Are Some Tips To Prevent Skin Problems From Your Mask:

  1. Cleanse And Moisturize Skin Daily

    Wash your face daily with a mild fragrance-free cleanser.  Dry skin can aggravate mask-related skin problems, so the use of a moisturizer formulated for your skin type (oily, normal/combination, dry) adds a protective barrier and reduces dryness. Products certified by dermatological associations like the Canadian Dermatological Association (CDA) have been reviewed for use on sensitive skin.  

  2. Protect Your Lips

    Moisturize your lips with petroleum jelly throughout the day. Dry, chapped lips are a common face mask skin problem.  

  3. Skip The Make-Up

    Make-up under a mask is more likely to clog pores and lead to breakouts. Look for make-up that will not clog pores if wearing make-up is necessary.  

  4. Choose The Right Mask 

    If you have the choice in selecting a face mask, choose a snug, yet comfortable-fitting cotton mask with at least 2 layers of fabric. This will allow your skin to breathe better than nylon, polyester, or rayon mask materials.   

  5. Take A 15-minute Mask Break Every 4 Hours

    A periodic break when it is safe to do so and after washing your hands can help save your skin. Safe spots to take off your mask include outdoors, in a private office, alone inside your car and at home.  

  6. Wash Your Cloth Masks

    Wash your reusable face masks preferably in hot water with a fragrance-free hypoallergenic detergent. Washing your cloth mask not only sanitizes it but also removes sweat, oils and skin cells which could lead to skin problems such as maskne. Health experts recommend washing masks after each use.  

  7. Use Fewer Skincare Products

    Face masks increase the delivery of products into the skin. Any skin care product with an active ingredient can be accelerated by the mask or aggravate the skin. Certain products like leave-on salicylic acid, retinoid and aftershave can irritate the skin under a mask so it is best to avoid wearing these types of skincare products before putting on a mask.  

  8. Avoid New Skincare Products

    Stay away from new skincare products that may irritate the skin. Wearing a face mask makes your skin more sensitive so avoid harsh products that exfoliate or work by irritating the skin like retinol.  

Contact your doctor if you need further advice or are currently under skincare treatment for acne or rosacea.

American Academy of Dermatology

John Hopkins