5 Ways to Fight Stubborn Maskne Breakouts

Face masks are an everyday essential in 2020, but most of us are discovering a frustrating side effect: Maskne. Long hours of daily wear can lead to zits popping up on the chin, nose, cheeks, and jawline — even if your skin isn’t typically acne-prone. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies you and your clients can use to combat this widespread issue. 


This type of acne is generally classified as “acne mechanica”. Like traditional breakouts, it’s ultimately a result of oil and dead skin cells clogging the pores, but there are three additional components at play: Friction, heat, and moisture. 

As the mask traps warmth and humidity, it creates a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. These bacteria then spread on your skin wherever the fabric touches your face. Continuous rubbing and chafing along the maskline exacerbates the issue by leaving skin irritated, inflamed, and vulnerable. 


1.  Always start with a fresh mask and a clean face.

Avoid reusing the same face mask for multiple days. For the health of both your skin and body, they should be treated like underwear and washed after a day’s use. Make sure to cleanse your face beforehand to minimize clogged pores — we recommend Salicylic Face & Body Wash.

2.  Prevent unnecessary buildup on your skin.

The humid environment inside the mask limits your skin’s ability to breathe, which means it’ll be easily weighed down by makeup and heavier skincare products. Skip the foundation and moisturize with a light hydrating formula, like our Green Tea Antioxidant Serum or Oil Free Moisturizer

3.  Clear your pores after the mask comes off.

Once you’re back home, wash your face to remove any buildup and then use a gentle exfoliator to clarify your skin. We recommend a combination of salicylic acid (BHA) to dissolve excess sebum and glycolic acid (AHA) to remove dead cells, as in our Dual Action Toner & Pads.

4.  Prevent and repair skin irritation daily.

Keeping your skin’s barrier intact is key. Check the fit of your mask — if it’s too tight, it will worsen chafing and irritation. Use a fortifying formula like Vita Soothe to help soothe and restore your skin without clogging pores. 

5.  Spot treat pimples when they appear.

Emerging acne can worsen and spread into bigger breakouts quickly under face masks, so it’s best to get them under control as quickly as possible. Nighttime salicylic acid spot treatments, such as our Overnight Spot Treatment, act fast to treat pimples and calm inflammation. 

With these steps, you should notice an improvement in maskne breakouts within a few weeks; however, it’s important to remember that stress and lifestyle changes can cause acne to flare up, too. The best approach to troubled skin is holistic — consistent self-care and prioritizing overall health can go a long way, especially in difficult times. 

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