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Do you have maskne?

And if you do, here’s what to do about it

It’s hard to believe that just nine months ago, phrases like ‘social distancing’ ‘contact tracing’ and even ‘COVID-19’ were unheard of. While now we are dealing with a present where barely an hour goes by without us hearing those terms, so too are we dealing with a new reality on the beauty front and that reality’s name is Maskne.

Chances are you will have heard of it by now but in case you haven’t maskne is a new curveball 2020 has thrown us in the form of spots around the face and chin, caused by, you guessed it, wearing a mask. To be a bit more technical, dermatologist Elizabeth Mullans explains that it occurs when sweat, skin oils and bacteria are trapped on the skin due to wearing a mask while J. Rodney, a fellow dermatologist clarifies that maskne is different to usual acne because it only occurs in the areas where the mask sits against the skin.

So now we know what it is and what causes it, how can we make sure that we don’t get it, and if we have it, how can we get rid? Ok, let’s take this one step at a time.

Prevention is better than cure

Wouldn’t it be nice that it could be as simple as in the choice of the mask you wear? Well, it can be really as experts suggest only wearing 100% cotton as it allows your skin to breathe, which is especially important in hot and humid climates. And talking of hot and humid, you will need to wash that mask on the regular, or as Dr Candrice Heath from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine explains: “You need to treat it like underwear and wash it frequently. You don’t want all of that oil and sweat and dirt to sit there and then you reapply it to your face constantly.”

Let’s Streamline

If ever there was a case for the less is more approach it is now and while we are all wearing masks, a simple cleanse, tone and moisturiser approach is best. Not convinced you can leave your fancy potions behind? Well, experts say that the mask intensifies product delivery to your skin so when we are talking about acids and retinols which often irritate, it’s best to leave them on the shelf for now.

Let’s break up not make-up

If ever there was time to re-discover your natural beauty, it’s now. Make-up under masks not only leaves a rather unattractive tell-tale sign on the mask, it also dries out the skin and causes irritation which can lead to maskne.


And if you have it, here’s what to do about it.

It’s all about the covering

Yes that’s right, it could be as simple as taking a look at what type of mask you are wearing and choosing a different fabric or weight. While experts suggest cotton, go for what seems to work for your skin.

Swap the oil for water

When you think about it, this one really make the most sense. With spots being created from oil and heat, why not take away excess oil, in the form of creams, and swap them for water based creams to keep your pores hydrated but not suffocated.

Add another mask

No no, we don’t mean double mask in public, what we mean is add a good old deep cleaning face mask in the evening. Something like a warming clay mask to decongest and then a pore-firming treatment to seal up those precious pores.

Treat and protect

Experts do say that you can’t go in as heavy handed with maskne as you would normal acne due to the fact that it’s not quite caused in the same way. Start with benzoyl peroxide only on the spots and add in a topical with glycolic acid if you also suffer from hyperpigmentation.