How to prevent and treat maskne - Skinora
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How to prevent and treat maskne


How to prevent and treat maskne



Now that masks are a key part of our everyday lives with many of us wearing them throughout the day,  maskne is a skin condition that is becoming more and more common. The term ‘Maskne’  is a type of acne that is caused from wearing face masks or face coverings. Here Skinora’s Medical Directors, Dr Anna Puri and Dr Lucinda Appiah  give their top tips on how to combat maskne.

The science: what causes maskne?

‘Acne mechanica’ occurs when areas of the skin are covered for prolonged periods of time. As you go about your day wearing a mask, sweat and oil build up underneath the mask. As the skin doesn’t have the opportunity to ‘breathe’ as it usually would, the combination of sweat and oil clogs your pores and causes inflammation, which leads to breakouts.

How can maskne be prevented? 

The first key step is to cleanse your skin thoroughly before putting your mask on. Have a good morning regime to unclog pores thoroughly. Whenever it is safe to do so wash your face again as soon as you get home, double cleanse to remove the debris and bacteria that have collected under the mask throughout the day. 

A lightweight oil free moisturiser will keep your skin hydrated and acts as a barrier to friction from a face mask also.

Aim to change your face mask at least twice daily which will help to reduce the oil that collects on skin surface. 

Opt for oil free skin care products that would otherwise also clog up your pores.

How to treat maskne

Use gentle cleansers and oil free moisturisers to help repair and restore skin barrier integrity which can breakdown as a result of friction between the mask and skin surface. 

Hydration is key to strengthen and repair the skin barrier. With a compromised barrier, this can lead to acne, dryness , or skin sensitivity. Opt for lightweight moisturisers containing ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier or niacinamide which is a non irritating ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties. 

Include gentle exfoliants to unclog pores such as salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide is an effective on the spot treatment but should only be applied directly to spots because it can be quite drying. 

Stay well hydrated-increasing your water intake to 8-10 glasses a day helps to encourage repair. This in turn reduces the risk of dryness and irritation due to the mask that will then lead to sensitive skin, redness or breakouts. 

For active breakouts, consider including a mask in your routine two to three times a week. Masks containing sulfur or clay will help to dry out impurities from pores and absorb excess oil on skin so minimising the risk of breakouts.. Skin is left feeling refreshed and clean.

Choose your mask wisely:

If you are using cloth masks ideally, these should be washed between uses. If you use a washing machine, fragrance-free detergent is  best to avoid skin irritation. Even if you are cleansing your skin thoroughly morning and night, any oil or bacteria on your skin during the day will transfer onto your mask… so the last thing you want to do is put it straight back on the next day without cleaning it first. Another way to keep your mask as clean as possible is to avoid leaving it in the car or lying around on surfaces that could easily gather dust and bacteria.

Should you still wear sunscreen under a mask? 

 Absolutely yes. Face masks aren’t effective at filtering out UV rays so a sunscreen is still very important to wear all over the face including under your mask. Opt for no make up under the mask or a tinted sunscreen in place of  make up under the mask so avoiding a build up of bacteria and debris. 


These expert approved products will help to prevent maskne and restore a clear complexion:

ZO Sulfur Mask 

ZO Sulfur Mask

Glo Skin Beauty Charcoal Detox Mask 

Glo Skin Beauty Charcoal Detox Mask

Neostrata Clarifying Face Wash -gentle but effective to unclog pores

NeoStrata Refine Clarifying Facial Cleanser

 Neostrata Daytime Protection Cream SPF –Oil free moisturiser

NeoStrata Restore Daytime Protection Cream SPF23

Glo Skin Beauty Oil Free Moisturiser

Glo Skin Beauty Oil Free Moisturiser 

Medik8 Blemish SOS -with azaleic acid and niacinamide

Medik8 Blemish SOS

About the Author: Anna Puri

Dr Anna Puri is an Aesthetic doctor and GP with over 14 years experience in both the medical and aesthetic fields. She completed her undergraduate training at the University of St Andrews and University of Manchester. She continues to work both as an Aesthetic doctor at her clinics in Ascot and Kew and as a GP. Dr Anna brings her holistic approach to all aspects of the care she provides with a strong focus on advice and treatment that is specifically tailored to her patients expectations and needs. She has worked with cosmeceutical skin care brands and treated a wide range of skin concerns for over a decade. Dr Anna has a special interest in Antiaging skincare and procedures . Dr Anna's work has been featured in various magazines including Lux and The Aesthetics Journal. You can follow Dr Anna on the SkinoraUK instagram page and Skinora YouTube channel.

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Last update: March 31st, 2021

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