Kiss “Maskne” Goodbye: Quick Tips for Under-Mask Acne Treatment and Prevention

Breakouts on your cheeks, nose, chin, and jawline in the age of Coronavirus have introduced a new skin condition called “maskne,” or “Mask Acne.” I’ve received many complaints from patients of all ages battling a sudden surge in pimples under their masks. While we all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus, mask acne doesn’t have to become the new normal for your skin. In this blog, Dr. Vélez has compiled some quick tips to help save your skin as you help save other from COVID-19.

Wear A Well-Fitted Mask

Face masks are now abundant and downright fashionable! You can find them in many styles, shapes, and sizes to accommodate different preferences and facial structures. However, not all masks are made the same. It’s important that your mask fits your face appropriately to not only ensure the protection of yourself and others, but also to prevent mask-related breakouts.
A well-fitted mask fits comfortably around the bridge of your nose, side of your face, and under your chin. You want the outer edges of the mask to lie directly against the skin to provide maximum protection. If your entire mask rubs against your skin (lips and cheeks), the mask may be too tight, and that direct contact can lead to an increase in breakouts and irritation. However, a mask that is too large for your face also contributes to maskne. If you’re constantly adjusting the mask back into place, the germs and bacteria from your hands transfer directly to your face causing not only clogged pores and acne, but also increasing your likelihood of contracting the virus. Find the right balance by seeking out different styles of masks until you find the right fit for your face.

Clean Your Masks Regularly

Once your find and wear properly fitted masks, it’s important to clean them regularly. Masks, especially those made of washable cloth, can harbor not only germs and bacteria, but also oils and dead skin cells from your face and hands (when making adjustments). Proper cleaning is imperative in fighting the virus and mask acne alike.
If you’re using surgical masks, proper cleaning means disposing of them after one use. If your profession requires that you wear surgical masks throughout your work day, it may also be wise to change masks halfway through the day if possible. If you prefer cloth masks, we recommend washing them after daily use. Most cloth masks can be washed by hand or via washing machine on a gentle cycle, so be sure to read the care instructions prior to washing. Be cautious though – the more you wash your cloth mask, the more the fabric will stretch. Check that your mask retains its shape and still fits snugly after each wash to ensure proper protection.

Skip Makeup Under Your Mask

Foundations and other makeup can be problematic under masks as the products, once compressed by a mask, can clog pores and lead to breakouts. If you’re comfortable, skip the makeup under your mask, working to blend out foundation or other product for a smooth transition from upper face to lower if you do need to safely remove your mask in a public setting. If you’d prefer to still put on a full face, be certain that your products are non-comedogenic and/or oil-free to help prevent under-mask acne.

Take Safe Mask Breaks

Adjusting to life in a mask can be challenging, and breaks are welcomed so long as done safely. Short 10-minute breaks conducted either outside and socially distanced, in your car, or at home can help your skin breathe and prevent further irritation. If you find yourself sweating under your mask, breaks also provide a nice opportunity to cleanse the skin and change into a fresh mask.

If these tips don’t show improvement of under-mask acne when used over a few weeks, consider an in-person or telehealth visit with Pittsburgh Skin. Dr. Vélez and staff can help prescribe topical or oral solutions to help you combat acne no matter where it lies on your skin. And of course, stay safe and wear a mask to help stop the spread!