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How To Prevent and Treat Mask Acne, AKA Maskne

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Face masks on a pink background

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:

Tinted Face Oil
Perfect Glow BB Cream SPF 30
Hyaluronic Tinted Moisturizer

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:

Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost
Protini Polypeptide Cream
Daily Moisturizing Lotion

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:

Drying Lotion
Zit Stick
Clear Start Breakout Clearing Booster

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:

Renew & Smooth Night Serum
Solution
The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA 30% + BHA 2%

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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In this article

Kosas Tinted Face Oil

Purlisse Perfect Glow BB Cream SPF 30

ColourPop Hyaluronic Tinted Moisturizer

Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 20

Garnier SkinActive BB Cream Oil-Free Face Moisturizer

Sweet Chef Superfood + Vitamins Moisture Boost

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream

Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Supergoop! Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40

Sea Clearly Gel Sunscreen SPF 30

purlisse.com BLUE LOTUS Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 Sunscreen

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Glossier Zit Stick

Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Booster

Starface Pimple Patch

Wknd Cosmetics Simple Pimple Patch

Mighty Patch Hydrocolloid Acne Absorbing Spot Dot

Bliss Renew & Smooth Night Serum

Glossier Solution

The Ordinary The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA 30% + BHA 2%

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