Fighting Maskne: Face Mask Acne Breakouts

Face Mask Acne Breakouts

The wearing of face masks has become part of our daily lives since the arrival of COVID-19. Although it’s adding a layer of protection against the coronavirus, unfortunately, it can cause face mask acne breakouts or what many now call “maskne”. Why does this happen, and what can you do to prevent and treat it?

Face Mask Acne Breakouts: What Happens Underneath  

Acne Mechanica is the medical term for a skin condition caused by prolonged wearing of a facial mask or any personal protective equipment. Although acne breakouts are the most common skin issue, many have reported other conditions, including:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis  
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Folliculitis
  • Rosacea

3 Reasons That Face Mask Acne Breakouts Appear

Irritation from Rubbing

Rubbing causes friction and chafing, and in worst cases, they can feel like rug burns. The irritation increases when the masks are too tight. 

Absorption of Natural Oils

The material of face masks can absorb the skin’s natural oils, which can lead to dryness, peeling and dark marks.

Occlusion (Skin Blockage) From The Mask

Masks create a blockage or a barrier for heat to come out. Couple that with constant rubbing friction and a moist environment from sweating, breathing and talking, and it will cause clogged pores and bacteria build-up – the root of acne breakouts.

How To Prevent Face Mask Acne Breakouts

1. Use cloth mask

As surgical and N95 masks are ideal for healthcare workers’ use, the public can use cloth masks made from natural fibres, such as cotton. It is gentle on the skin and has adequate breathability.

2. Wash your face before wearing a mask

Trapped dirt and oil on the skin can cause bacteria to accumulate, resulting in acne. Avoid this by ensuring that you wear your mask over a clean face.

3. Go makeup-free

Similar to dirt and oil, your skin can also get clogged with makeup, so it’s better to avoid wearing any make-up or at the very least try to minimise how much and how often you wear it.  Also, makeup residue can soil your face mask. 

4. Wash your cloth masks after use

Use clean masks. Wash them after each use with soap and water. Be sure to rinse them well and ensure they’re completely dry before putting them on.

5. Avoid or use less skin medication when wearing a mask

Skin medications such as Retinol or Benzoyl Peroxide can irritate your skin when blocked by a face mask. Avoid applying them on days you need to use a face mask or use less of them. 

6. Speak with a medical professional about face mask acne breakout treatments

CST has a variety of treatments to prevent and treat acne. 

Medical Grade Peels provide incredible benefits for detoxifying, soothing, calming and purifying your skin.

K Laser Treatment delivers high-quality results for skin and tissue therapy treatments. It’s a new technology that uses various laser wavelengths, frequencies, energy and power to enable the medical professional to tailor the treatment.

Learn more about the other treatments available that can help address issues brought about by face mask acne breakouts HERE.


As the whole world continues to solve the COVID-19 pandemic, the wearing of face masks presumably will remain as a recommended protection from the virus.

On the other hand, no one should neglect their skin. Prevent face mask acne breakouts or have them treated immediately to keep you skin looking and feeling clear and healthy.

Share This


Sub heading here