Have You Developed Maskne? How To Clear Your Skin After Wearing Masks

Phone, money, keys... mask. This new addition to our everyday lives is essential for those of us able to wear them, helping us slow the spread of Covid-19. It truly is amazing how much wearing a mask can do to protect ourselves and each other. While I’ll happily sing their praises, I can’t say I don’t have any complaints. Finding no one understands a word you’re saying when you’ve got a thicker cloth mask on. The steam on your glasses tricking you into thinking you’re at a spa, only to realise you’re just at Tesco. Turning your beard into a scourer for your face. 

Maskne is nothing new as professionals who would regularly use face masks anyway will tell you. But with all of us doing what we can to help at the moment, it’s become a much more widespread issue. Here’s how you can continue protecting each other without making an enemy of your skin.


What Is ‘Maskne’ And Why? 

Maskne, or if you want to get technical, acne mechanica, is caused by wearing facial personal protective equipment. With the humid environment created in your mask from sweating, talking, and just breathing, as well as the friction (and not to mention the increased stress in our lives at the moment) it’s no surprise that it can lead to breakouts. There are other factors that play into this too – what your mask is made of, how often you’re washing it, what detergent you’re using, and how often you have to wear it each day. 

Maskne Skincare Routine

First, a few pointers to do with your mask:

  • If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, eczema, or perioral dermatitis, look at getting a cotton or silk mask. Also, consider using detergent for sensitive skin when washing your mask – for example, non-bio detergents will be less irritating as they do not contain enzymes.

  • Wash your mask every day at least or have a fresh one ready to wear when you next need one. I’m not one to stay on top of doing my laundry, so having multiple masks works well for me.


Cleansing is key. Cleanse your face before you put your fresh mask on and as soon as you can after removing it. Cleansers with salicylic acid are a good idea as they will remove excess oil and dead skin cells. Double cleansing is a good idea, especially if you’re wearing makeup.


Exfoliating your face using physical exfoliators isn’t recommended, but chemical exfoliants are a great way to remove dead skin cells, and to keep pores unclogged. It’s best to use these at night.


Toner can pick up any dirt or oils left on your skin after cleansing. While the advantages of spraying your mask with toner are yet to be proven, many people swear by this trick to help reduce maskne as toners have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and oil absorbing properties – no harm in trying it!


Moisturiser will not only keep your skin hydrated and discourage your skin from producing excess oil, but it will also act as a barrier between your skin and the mask reducing friction. Other things you can do to reduce maskne include face masks (the fun kind), avoiding wearing makeup under your mask, and spot treatments. 

If you want a spot treatment that heals and conceals, Dr Barbara Sturm Clarifying Spot Treatment is a great option. Simply use your fingertips to apply it to any spots or reddened areas, pat gently into your skin and you’re done. This product provides fast results, contains vitamin B3, tea tree oil and maclura bioflavonoids, and is vegan and cruelty free. Again, what’s not to love?

sturm spot cream

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