The breakout of a new virus last year heavily affected our everyday lives. In order to slow down the spread of COVID-19 wearing a face mask or face covering have become part of our daily routines. Most of us tend to suffer from breakouts or other type of skin conditions under the covered area. For this reason, it is important that we get more insight into what triggers "maskne" and how to prevent or treat it.

The so called “maskne” is an umbrella term for numerous skin conditions that can be provoked by wearing a face mask or face covering. It can include:

what causes maskne?

The masks and coverings we constantly wear are blocking the airflow which leads to trapped humidity under the mask due to your breathing and sweating. When you talk, breathe, sneeze under your mask hot air stays under the covering and it creates a warm, humid environment. This environment is an ideal setting for bacteria. In most cases, "maskne" is the result of clogged pores. We already have dirt, oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells on our skin. However, when wearing a mask, these substances can block pores resulting in different types of skin conditions including acne, rosacea or rash.

How to avoid maskne?

  • Pick the right type of mask

    Find yourself a mask or face covering that fits the shape of your face and chin, but not too tight. Try to choose natural, soft fabric, like cotton. Cotton provides the right balance of protection of your skin and breathability. Avoid masks made of synthetic material, such as nylon. These materials can easily irritate the skin by causing friction.

  • Wash your face before and after using the mask

    Use gentle oil-free, fragrance-free cleanser to wash your face. It is extremely important to make sure our skin is clean since we sweat more under our face coverings.

  • Throw away disposable masks after each use

    Disposable masks are created for one time only. After using it once it becomes dirty, sweaty and possibly covered by bacteria. In order to prevent getting "maskne", you should throw away those kind of masks.

  • Take off your mask sometimes

    Take a break from wearing a mask in every 4 hours for at least 15 minutes (American Academy of Dermatology Association). Do this when you are practicing social distancing at least 6 feet from others. Make sure you wash your hands before removing your mask and touching your skin under it.

  • Moisturize your face and lips regularly

    Every time after you wash your face and before you put on your mask, hydrate your face and lips with the right moisturizer and lip balm/jelly. Moisturizing your skin especially under the covered area has key importance in order to prevent chapped lips and very dry skin. A moisturizer can be useful as a barrier between the skin and the face covering as well.

how to treat maskne?

"Maskne" had always been an existing phenomenon, but alongside with the spread of COVID-19 we started paying extra attention to protecting ourselves and others with wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing. Since it is very common to experience "maskne" during these days, try to integrate some basic steps into your daily routine in order to prevent developing any skin issues under the mask.