Got Maskne? Here Are the 7 Products We're Reaching For

Hannah wearing maskHannah wearing mask

Alas, putting on a face mask when you leave the house during coronavirus times is necessary.

It's also OK not to love how wearing one for the greater good affects your skin, even if it is the definition of a first world problem.

Questions about 'maskne', 'mask skin' and how to navigate pimples from mask-wearing have been popping up in just about every beauty Facebook group I'm in for several months now.

So, I asked a dermatologist to weigh in. From exactly why your skin might not be enjoying wearing a face mask, to the best products that can help, here's everything you need to know about maskne.

What Is Maskne and Mask Skin?

In short, maskne or mask skin are completely non-scientific terms for what happens when your skin becomes irritated from wearing a surgical face mask for long periods of time.

Say, during a pandemic.

"Wearing a mask regularly may contribute to dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and contact dermatitis," dermatologist and senior conjoint lecturer at UNSW Dr Deshan Sebaratnam explains.

Why Is My Face Mask Giving Me Pimples?

Dr Sebaratnam says "tight masks may lead to occlusion (blockage) of the pores, creating an environment that promotes the development of acne."

The most common places people are finding blemishes are on the cheeks, chin and around the mouth. It makes sense when you think about the warm, moist air from your own breath trapped under your mask. Yum.

We go deep on all things maskne in this episode of the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast, get it in your ears below!

Face Masks and Rosacea - What's the Deal?

If you've had rosacea flare ups in the past, there's a decent chance you might be experiencing them again if you're wearing face masks daily.

Dr Sebaratnam sees two really common forms of rosacea in his work that may be affected by wearing masks: papulopustular rosacea and erythematotelangiectatic rosacea.

"Papulopustular rosacea causes pimples and small bumps on the skin. Tight masks may contribute to these pimples because of occlusion of the pores as described above."

"Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea causes redness, flushing and broken blood vessels on the skin. Heat can contribute to this process."

What About Face Masks and Dermatitis?

Again, there are a couple different types of dermatitis (inflammation within the epidermis a.k.a. the top layer of the skin) that don't play well with face masks.

The first is seborrheic dermatitis, which is caused by an imbalance of a yeast called Malassezia, a part of the normal flora of the skin.

"Anything which disturbs the natural balance of the skin (such as wearing a mask) may contribute to seborrheic dermatitis," Dr Sebaratnam says.

Then, there's allergic contact dermatitis - something you may have come across already on your hands if you're required to wear gloves in your workplace.

"Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by a heightened sensitivity to a particular chemical by an individual's immune system. Molecules from a mask such as dyes, glues or fragrances may leach from masks and penetrate the skin leading to contact dermatitis - a moist environment and long periods of contact contribute to this , too."

Side note - watch beauty influencer Iain Jeffery share their acne skincare routine in the YouTube video below!

Tips for Acne, Rosacea and Dermatitis Flare Ups From Wearing Face Masks.

If your face is throwing a tantrum from wearing masks regularly, there are a few things you can do:

  • Take regular breaks from wearing your mask when it is safe to do so - "The American Academy of Dermatology have recommended taking a 15-minute break every four hours."

  • Include gentle cleansers and gentle active ingredients like salicylic acid or niacinamide into your routine to help keep your skin in good condition.

  • Wear less (or no) makeup if you're wearing a mask as makeup can block pores, which is compounded by the masks.

  • Change your mask if you notice any dampness, and wash reusable masks daily for maximum hygiene.

  • Be mindful of where you're putting your mask down when you're not wearing it, so not on your desk or in your handbag.

  • When you get home, wash your face and apply skincare as soon as you can.

Best Skincare Products for Mask Skin.

Keep scrolling for seven products that can help you with pimples, acne, rosacea flare ups or dermatitis from wearing face masks.

P.S. You won't need all of these - have a look to see which product will work best for your skin and skincare routine.

1. SENSORI+ Freshield Mask Sanitiser.

sensori mask sanosensori mask sano

You know it's interesting times when we're talking about mask sanitiser. But the SENSORI+ FRESHIELD MASK SANITISER 30ml is a genius product.

To help keep your mask sanitised throughout the day (note: mask sano doesn't replace mask washing), this spray formula contains 75 per cent sugar cane distilled alcohol in line with World Health Organisation standards to kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria.

Even better, it's also got salicylic acid to help treat and prevent acne around the chin, cheeks and mouth, Aloe Vera to leave the skin feeling soothed and comfortable, and essential oils including peppermint to mask the smell of your own breath. Very important.

To use, spray three to four pumps on both sides of the mask, and allow 10 seconds for it to dry before putting it back on.

2. COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master PatchesCOSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches

Hot tip: Pop a pimple patch over any active breakouts before putting on a mask. It's a game-changer.

Pimple patches are made from hydrocolloid, a type of wound dressing, that can help reduce the appearance of pimples and speed up recovery. They work by drawing out all that pus and bringing it to the surface, but importantly, they also keep bacteria out.

You can either use a COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch overnight or under a mask/during the day. Otherwise, a COSRX Clear Fit Master Patch will be completely clear and hardly noticeable for during the day.

3. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum.

la roche-posay effaclar serumla roche-posay effaclar serum

If you love the other LRP effaclar products, you'll love the range's latest serum. Plus, it targets the appearance of ageing and blemishes, at the same time. 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum 30ml is an exfoliating serum that uses two chemical exfoliation ingredients: glycolic acid (an AHA or alpha hydroxy acid) and salicylic acid (a BHA or beta hydroxy acid). Try subbing this serum into your routine, or use it every other day just on the areas where you're experiencing breakouts. You can read our full La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum review here.

4. Shhh Silk Face Mask.

Hannah Furst wearing a maskHannah Furst wearing a mask

If you're wearing a face mask every day, your face deserves silk, no?

The Shhh Silk Face Mask Black reusable masks are chic AF, but more importantly, they're made with three layers of 100 per cent Mulberry silk and a cotton inner to get the job done.

Silk is a natural, soft and breathable material, and wearing a bougie silk face mask can help prevent dryness, rashes or mask acne. You still need to wash these after each use, though, which is why the brand's Shhh Silk Face Mask Black - 3 Pack is so practical.

5. Bioderma Micellar Water.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle SolutionBioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution

This one's a cult product for good reason, but it's especially great for cleansing your skin after wearing a face mask.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution is gentle, effective and fragrance-free.

6. Alpha-H Clear Skin Kit With Salicylic Acid.

The Alpha-H Clear Skin Kit With Salicylic Acid is a five-piece kit featuring travel-size samples of the Clear Skin Tonic, Clear Skin Daily Face and Body Wash, Clear Skin Blemish Control Mask, Clear Skin Daily Hydrator Gel and Clear Skin Blemish Control Gel.

All of these products are made with non-drying salicylic acid formulas (again, this is what will clean your maskne pores out), and the sample sizes allow you to figure out which products you like before investing in the full-size bottles.

7. Avène Cleanance Acne Solutions Kit.

 Avène Cleanance Acne Solutions Kit Avène Cleanance Acne Solutions Kit

If you're struggling with blemishes and congested skin, Avène Cleanance Acne Solutions Kit Adore Beauty Exclusive is a great value kit with an gentle, effective and easy to follow routine.

The three-step routine includes the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel to gently cleanse the skin, the soothing and hydrating Avène Thermal Spring Water mist, and the acne-safe moisturiser/treatment Avène Cleanance Comedomed Anti-Blemishes Concentrate.

Some final words on maske: Yes, a colony of pimples or roscasea flare ups are very small prices to pay for keeping everyone safe and stopping the spread, but that doesn't mean they can't affect your confidence, too.

Remember to be kind to your skin and yourself.

    Join Now >
    Filled with the usual things we know you'll love, and surprises you might not expect, it's real rewards, really simple.