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Tips For Dealing With Maskne

Dealing With Maskne

Maskne is a thing.
With social distancing, working while constantly wearing a mask, and the summer heat, bacteria is bound to get trapped, causing new potential breakouts. Going without a mask is not an option; luckily, esthetician Leah Michelle got us covered with some tips to help keep our skin in control.

Types of Face Coverings to Use  

Choose breathable, soft materials

COTTON - soft, easy to wash material that has the best particle stopping qualities, non-irritating.

SILK - causes the least friction on your face, hypoallergenic, but does not have high particle stopping qualities. Ideal silk masks have additional filters layered inside. (See references for actual scientists' opinion on which face coverings are most effective).

Face Covering Care

  • Wash your face covering after each use
  • Use a clean face covering every time
  • To minimize the chance of irritation, wash your face covering with a fragrance and dye-free soap/detergent
    • Arm & hammer sensitive skin detergent
    • Nellie's fragrance-free detergent
  • Avoid using dryer sheets


Skincare Routine Changes

Consider skipping your morning cleanse. For those with normal/non-oily skin, simple water cleansing will suffice if you're suffering from mask irritation. Every time you cleanse, even just with water, you are impacting your natural lipid barrier in some way. Right now, our skin needs every bit of natural protection possible, considering the irritating environment a face-covering creates. If you have extra oily skin or do not want to skip cleansing in the morning, use a gentle creamy cleanser as opposed to a soapy foaming cleanser. Even those without oily skin should consider alternating their nighttime cleansing routine with a gentle creamy cleanser. And just like everything else, avoid irritants like fragrance or dye. Some quarantine go-to's:

  • Stripped Beauty Fresh Grapefruit Scrub
  • Aveno Extremely Gentle Lotion Cleanser
  • Cerave Hydrating Cleanser
  • Waitrose Pure Natural Face Wash

Consistently apply a thick and occlusive moisturizer that is irritant free before putting on your face covering and again before you go to bed. These are some favs:

  • Stripped Beauty Glow-to Oil
  • Cicaplast Baume B5 for Dry Skin Irritations
  • Theraplex Barrier Balm Moisturizer

Only apply active products (Retinol, AHA/BHA, Vitamin C, Hydroquinone, Benzoyl Peroxide, Niacinamide, Enzymes) at night or on days where you know you will not be wearing your face covering.

Reach for your products that include moisturizers and hydrate (Ceramides, Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin) and anti-inflammatory ingredients like Green Tea, Colloidal Oatmeal, Aloe, and Turmeric.

Don't wear makeup or lip products-seriously, not even flavored lip balm!

Consider using a pimple patch. There is anecdotal evidence that hydrocolloid pimple patches are effective. At a minimum, the patch will create a barrier between your breakout and your face covering.

  • ZitSticka KILLA ZIT
  • Starface Hydro-Star
  • Nexcare Acne Absorbing Cover

Consider investing in a high-frequency machine and probe or a red, and blue light LED facial light mask to kill facial bacteria.

  • High-Frequency Facial Machine, APREUTY Portable
  • Handheld High-Frequency Facial Wand Device Violet Ray Argon Acne
  • Dermashine Pro 7 Color LED Mask for Face

Use Zinc Oxide SPF on the area where your face covering rests- it will provide the most protection from the sun AND occlude and soothe your skin. It will also not irritate your skin. Usually, Zinc Oxide is not an ideal choice because of the white cast, but since your face covering will be over the lotion, it may not be so bothersome. Choose a product free of irritants.

  • Coppertone Pure and Simple Baby Sunscreen Lotion
  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47


Remember to destress and decompress. Having a few breakouts is completley normal.


Abelman, Devon. “How to Prevent Breakouts From Wearing Cloth Face Coverings.” Allure,

Braff, Danielle. “Wearing a Mask Can Irritate Your Face or Make It Break out. Here's What to Do about 'Maskne.'.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 June 2020,

Derrick, Lindsey Metrus & Julyne. “Should You Treat Acne With Hydrocolloid Bandages and Neosporin?” Byrdie,

“Homemade Masks Made of Silk and Cotton May Boost Protection.” University of Chicago News,

Horvath, Hanna. “Best Antimicrobial Face Masks, According to Medical Experts.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 14 July 2020,

“How to Look After Your Skin While Wearing a Face Mask.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 14 July 2020,

Michelle, et al. “How Do Hydrocolloid Bandages and Acne Patches Work?” Lab Muffin Beauty Science, 21 Nov. 2018,

Mikhail, Maryann. “8 Tips to Prevent Acne Caused by Face Masks ('Maskne') - GoodRx.” The GoodRx Prescription Savings Blog, 1 June 2020,

Thomas, Dr. Liji. “Silk Useful as Face Mask and PPE in COVID-19.” News, 7 July 2020,

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