3 Tips for Combatting “Maskne”


As if 2020 didn’t already feel like a bad joke, the side effect that nobody asked for is here to diminish our self esteem, one face at a time – I’m taking about maskne. You know, the breakouts you may or may not be getting along your lips, chin, and jawline caused by wearing face coverings. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had acne like this since I was a teenager. It took some trial and error, but I’ve tweaked my regime to the point where the maskne is mostly gone, knock on wood. While the specific products I use definitely won’t work for each and every person, below are a few principals that helped me combat the breakouts and get my “good” skin back. (I know that the condition of skin is so trivial when there are so many heavier, more important things happening around us, but hey, a little confidence boost is never a bad thing).

Use proper mask hygiene – Consider your face mask to be equivalent to underwear – it gets washed after one use. Target and Old Navy have very affordable options to make it easier to have backups on hand so that they can be swapped out frequently. When it’s time to wash the masks, I gather ours in a mesh delicates bag to keep them together and to prevent snagging, and put them in a regular wash and dry cycle with the rest of our clothes. Fragrance-free detergent is ideal – the fragrance can cause skin irritation, or if you’re like me and are sensitive to smells, can trigger headaches since it’s right up on your nose. You can also hand-wash masks in hot, soapy water, but I’m not about to create extra work for myself. You do you!

Embrace KISS when it comes to your skincare –Thanks to Michael Scott, KISS is one of my favorite life mottos – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Compared to this time last year, my skincare focus went from preventative and anti-aging to soothing and reparative. Nothing fancy here, just good ol’ fashioned cleanse, treat, moisturize. I switched primarily to CeraVe products because their focus is on healing the skin barrier. Every night I use the hydrating cleanser, resurfacing retinol serum, and moisturizing cream. The retinol in particular made an immediate difference for me and is so important for keeping my pores clear – it gently promotes cell turnover so that the dead skin cells aren’t clogging pores, and this particular formula has niacinamide and licorice root to aid in calming irritation. Once per week, I swap out the retinol with a chemical exfoliator to go one step further to keep my pores clear from dead skin. Whatever products you choose to use, focus on ingredients that will nurture your skin and minimize irritation, while still promoting cell turnover to keep those pores decongested. Also, spend a little extra time cleansing around your jawline and upper neck. It’s often passed over quickly (by me at least), and needs the extra cleaning now more than ever.

As much as possible, opt to skip makeup – at least on the lower half of your face. Keep your daytime skin products light and breathable. When you’re wearing a mask, anything underneath it is going to be combined with the humidity from your breath and sweat, which will be a breeding ground for bacteria and acne. Don’t skip sunscreen though! Unless indicated otherwise, masks are not UV protective. Find a product that can be your moisturizer and SPF in one to follow along the KISS guidelines above. I’ve been loving Supergoop! GlowScreen, since it has great skincare ingredients and high SPF, while looking like an actual Instagram filter. If I do have a breakout, I put a “pimple patch” over it to prevent my mask from rubbing and causing further irritation. They’re transparent, so when I have to take the mask off they aren’t super visible.