How Your Facemask May Cause “Maskene” and How to Prevent It


Besides the anxiety, stress, and insecurity the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is causing, another issue that has cropped up is acne breakouts due to wearing facemasks. 

These days, we cannot step out of our homes without facemasks, and putting them on for relatively longer may cause the skin to react negatively and lead to acne breakouts.

Particularly, acne breakouts due to wearing facemasks are called “Maskne.” This new term has emerged during the pandemic, as it is affecting many people, especially the frontline health workers, who need to wear masks throughout the day.

The regulations to wear facemasks are not going away anytime soon, and the onus on us to take care of our skin and prevent the discomfort of acne breakouts. With better preparation, it is possible to keep “maskne” at bay.

Read also: How to Find Your Real Skin Type for the Right Skincare Routine ? 

A Little More about “Maskne”

“Maskne” is a broad term that refers to overall skin issues such as acne, rashes, irritation, and redness that occur due to wearing facemasks.

Acne breakouts happen because facemasks cover our nose and mouth, trap air and humidity inside, and clogs skin pores with sweat, dirt, and oil. This is similar to acne breakouts that athletes often face, called “acne mechanica.”

In athletes' cases, acne breakouts occur due to excess heat, sweat, and friction that builds up below sports equipment such as helmets, straps, and padding.

Similarly, facemasks trap the air and heat, making the skin around the nose and mouth warm and moist, creating an ideal breeding ground for acne. On top of it, bacteria and yeast also can form and infect the hair follicles in the same area and trigger folliculitis.

Besides getting clogged pores and breakouts, the rubbing of facemasks' edges against the skin may lead to peeling, dry patches, and dark spots.

All of the mentioned factors, along with anxiety and stress about the pandemic, may trigger acne breakouts. Wearing masks may add up to the inflammation.

Read also: Different Types of Wrinkles that You Should Know 

Ways to Prevent “Maskne”

There are several ways to prevent acne breakouts due to wearing facemasks. Here are they:

Opt for cloth masks: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), N95/surgical masks are the most effective facemasks to prevent infection, and health workers should wear those. For average citizens, the CDC recommends wearing cotton masks because cotton provides both breathability and protection, and it is also gentle on the skin. 

Keep multiple clean masks: You can keep 2-3 clean cloth masks and wear them rotationally throughout the week. Whenever you use one, save another one handy next time you go out.  The added advantage of a cloth mask is that they are easy to wash and dry up faster. Wash your cloth masks as often as possible to remove dirt and bacteria and keep off “maskne” from breaking out.  

Get some breathers: If you get a chance to get away from people and take a break, remove your mask for a breather. Make sure to sanitize your hands before taking off the mask. It will give your skin the much-needed breathability and prevent clogging of the facial skin pores.

Wash your mask using gentle and fragrance-free detergent: It is better to wash your cloth masks using a mild and fragrance-free detergent. Strong detergents with fragrances may irritate your skin and lead to skin inflammation. 

Avoid makeup: This may not be what ladies would like to hear. However, it is ideal to skip your makeup when wearing a facemask. Makeup may result in clogged pores under the mask and lead to breakouts.

Closing Words

Many people, regardless of their age, have to deal with acne breakouts from time to time, which is quite natural. You do not have to hide your face because of acne. 

If you notice signs of acne, do not panic. Many times, as soon as we witness an acne breakout, we press the panic button and start with intense scrubbing and cleansing. However, this may worsen the problem by triggering more irritation of the skin. Just be gentle on the skin and avoid harsh skin products before wearing a mask.

A medical aesthetician can guide you to prevent as well as cure “maskene” and other skin issues with advanced and non-invasive skin treatment to bring back your youthful glow. 

For a consultation, call us today at 408-294-2399 or send an email to, and we will be glad to resolve your skin issues.


  1. Very good article. Acne breakouts are indeed stressful.


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