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How To Prevent and Treat Mask Acne, AKA Maskne

by @abigailrena
Aug 19, 2020


You've heard of backne, you've heard of chestne, you may have even heard of buttne, but a new acne term has entered our lexicon that is more common than all the others and that is maskne. Maskne refers to the acne that is caused by wearing a face mask. It occurs around the mouth and chin and it's a small (but annoying) price to pay for doing our civic duty to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The medical term for maskne is "acne mechanica" because it is primarily the friction of the mask that causes you to breakout. Luckily, maskne is preventable. Keep scrolling to learn how to prevent and treat acne caused by masks.

How to Prevent Maskne:

1. Opt for cotton or silk

Before you buy another mask, look at the material of the mask. Cotton is a great choice because it allows the skin to breathe during hot summer days. Silk is also good because the smooth fabric reduces friction on the face, but this fancy fabric is harder to wash so try saving your silk masks for special occasions.

2. Treat masks like underwear

You wouldn't wear the same underwear two days in a row so why would you wear the same sweaty mask for days on end? If you can, try wearing a new mask every day. If you can't (because owning several masks is pricey), try hand washing your masks and hanging them to air dry between wears.

3. Minimize your makeup

Masks can push your makeup deep into your pores. Since you're covering up half of your face anyway, go ahead and skip your foundation, concealer, contour, and setting powder. If you must wear makeup, try a tinted moisturizer or BB cream instead. Here are a few our community recommends:

4. Reduce friction with lubrication

Since the main culprit for Maskne is friction, minimize the rubbing by adding a layer of moisture between the mask and your skin. Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer and SPF on your skin. This will also act as a protective layer to block out acne causing bacteria. Our Supergreaters recommend these moisturizers and SPFs:

How to Treat Maskne:

1. Apply a Spot Treatment

Your first reaction when you see a new pimple may be to double cleanse and dry it out with harsh chemicals, but that will only make matters worse. Instead, apply a gentle spot treatment to the affected area. You can even apply a pimple patch over your inflamed acne to further reduce irritation. Here are some spot treatments our community recommends:

2. Use a glycolic acid at night

If you're worried about hyperpigmentation post acne, apply glycolic acid at night. Glycolic acid is an AHA chemical exfoliator that sloughs away all the dead skin cells that could potentially clog your pores. Exfoliating can also promote cell turnover so your acne scars and hyperpigmentation will vanish faster. Here are some of the best chemical exfoliating treatments, according to our reviewers:

3. Dab hydrocortisone cream on rashes

You may also be experiencing rashes as an allergic reaction to your mask. If this happens, seek a dermatologist to find out exactly what is causing your irritation. You may be allergic to a certain fiber, metal, elastic, or detergent. As a quick fix until you can make it in to your appointment, dab a small amount of hydrocortison cream over the affected area.

4. Reduce stress

If you've done all of the above and you're still seeing acne, there may be other factors at play, like sleep deprivation and a sugary diet induced by stress. This pandemic hasn't been easy on anyone. If you've found yourself reaching for more snacks or staying up too late scrolling through apps like Supergreat as a way to distract yourself, that's okay, but these habits might be the reason you're breaking out so making healthier choices could clear up your acne.

What are your tips for fighting maskne? Share your advice and the products you use below!

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