Maskne & Acne

Suffering from breakouts
under your mask?

By Elizabeth Rostan, MD

Filed Under


Quick Look


Acne caused by irritation made worse from mask wearing. Created by the hot, occlusive environment around the mouth and nose areas when wearing a mask.


Maskne is caused by four main factors and can worsen spread of bacteria




Back to School – and sadly mask wearing. Masks can exacerbate the most common teen skin problem – acne. Let’s discuss some ways to combat this troubling issue.

How To
Prevent Maskne

Six skin care tips to protect your face from mask irritation.

Wash Your Face First

Apply a Moisturizer

Not only will this keep your skin hydrated, it will also act as a barrier between your face and your mask, reducing friction. Apply onto a cleansed face before and after wearing a mask.

Look for moisturizers that contain ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or dimethicone, which will provide extra protection. Take care to avoid fragrances amongst other common contact allergens. This may take trial and error to find the right formulation for your skin type.

Ditch the Makeup

Wearing skin makeup under a mask causes clogged pores and breakouts, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Makeup residue will also soil your mask.

Wash Your Mask

If wearing a cotton mask wash it after each use as its surface contains dirt and oil and can become a breeding ground for bacteria from your nose and mouth.

Nighttime Routine

Nightly use of a retinoid product is essential to acne treatment. Differin is gentle and anti-inflammatory and available over the counter. Tretinoin is a prescription medication that is very helpful but more irritating. A very popular choice is CSL Retinol Pads – gentle yet effective and easy to use and remember.

Morning Routine

Benzoyl peroxide lotion in the morning helps dry pimples (but can bleach the inside of a dark mask). Glycolic and mandeleic acid lotions also help exfoliate to keep pores from clogging – CSL Glycolic lotion or Acne Wash and Vivant Mandeleic acid serum.

A great product that is very effective and popular is Vivant Exfol-A which contains retinyl proprionate – a highly effective form of retinoid – as well as exfoliating, brightening and anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Choose a fragrance-free laundry soap

Fragrances can irritate your skin — skip the fabric softener, too.

Visit A Dermatologist Practice

A pore cleansing facial with extractions does absolute wonders for acne flares. First a steam and chemical peel helps loosen dead skin cells and the surface of clogged pores, then physical extraction of the clogged pores is done by careful pressure with fingers or a pore extracting tool.

Use of the cleansers and products at home helps maintain results from your acne facial. A HydraFacial is another great way to rid skin of clogged pores and acne.

Treatments Available at Charlotte Skin and Laser