Maskne – A Masked reality.

What is Maskne? How to avoid it? Steps to combat it.

“Every good thing comes at a cost.”

A gentle reminder that nothing in life comes easy. And with the imminent threat of a life threatening disease lurking around, one would do anything to keep it bay.

One such primary prevention mechanism practiced across the globe is to wear a mask whenever one steps out. Although, a safety measure it is not devoid of side-effects. Apart from the breathing issues, another common issue being Maskne.

Yes, we have all heard it by now. If not millions, there are definitely thousands of articles and videos all over the web about it.

So what is MASKNE?

The medical term for Maskne is acne mechanica, a skin condition brought on by the prolonged use of masks as protective gear.

Probably a new term for us laymen but for those in professions like medicine, sports and factories its quite familiar. Since all of these professions demand use of protective facial masks for longer periods of time.

After being cooped inside for what seemed like eternity, I ventured out with a mask on. Initial few days went by totally devoid of any consequences. Come next week, I started noticing small breakouts around my jaw and sides of my cheeks.

It didn’t stop there and spread all across my lower face. I knew immediately it was the mask. What can one expect with a piece of cloth acting as an occlusive for the entirety of its wearing period. Right?

Well, some may escape its harm but the remaining not-so-lucky (an acne sufferer- read about it in my article here) people like me need some counters to combat it. Let’s learn more.


How it occurs:

The heat and sweat generated inside becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and infections. Pores get clogged and can become pimples or acne cysts. Add to that the friction from the fabric against your skin, inflammation is bound to happen.

Humidity and sweat can also cause dry, itchy, inflamed skin.

How to treat it:

There is no one sure shot way of treating maskne beacuse skin treatment is subjective and every skin type works differently. So first, thoroughly understand what your skin requires and then proceed with treating it.

However, here are a few generic steps which all should follow regardless of your skin type.

1. Cleansing is BAE:

A clean skin is the most important step for minimising any breakouts or acne. Use a mild fragrance free cleanser twice a day.

Don’t overdo the cleanse, if you feel your skin is a little dry use just water to wash the excess oil off.

I say fragrance free because many acne prone skins are sensitive to any kind of fragrance. So beware of that before you splurge.

I use a foam based cleanser for my skin. It thoroughly cleanses my skin without damaging or drying it.

2. Moisturisation is key :

Acne prone skin needs proper moisturising all the time. Some people with oily acne prone skin skip this step, believing that they have enough oils already so they don’t need moisturising, which is wrong.

Moisturiser works as a barrier between your skin and the mask. It soothes and smoothens your skin. And provides enough hydration at the same time.

Use a oil and fragrance free, non-comedogenic moisturiser like Cetaphil or Sebamed.

3. Bid adieu to Makeup :

I am someone who used makeup a lot earlier to cover up my flawed skin. But reality struck and I realised as long as I am okay with my skin, I don’t need to hide my flaws.

Makeup plays no role in combatting maskne. It’s a pore clogger, causes irritation and also the fragrance in many products can cause inflammation and senstivity.

And you really don’t need makeup when you are wearing a mask already.

Spare your skin of the extra tension and ditch the makeup. Let it breathe.

4. Clean mask always:

Many of us may diligently follow the above steps but often forget this important point.

You should always clean your mask after each use because masks can carry bacteria from your mouth and nose. By now ,I think the whole world is aware of this fact.

I use cotton masks and wash it as soon as I get home. Keep a handful of them for each use so you can switch between uses.

5. Keep your skincare to the minimum

You don’t need a 10-step Korean skincare routine to get that bright flawless skin.

You just need one good product that works for you. Keep you skincare to the bare minimum when dealing with maskne. Look for products that don’t contain any irritants that might trigger your acne or maskne.

I personally stay away from any kind of actives when I have breakouts because it does more harm than good.

6. Sunscreen is no laughing matter:

Lastly, never step out without a good slather of sunscreen(preferably a physical one) all over your face.

Sunscreen not only protects your skin from the harmful UV, it also acts as a deterrent from further damage like hyperpigmentation,scarring etc.

Invest in a good physical sunscreen which acts a shield over your skin surface.

Physical Sunscreen

Side note: 1. When starting a new product, always do a patch test. And never start more than one product at a time.

Do it one by one. Give a month’s time to each product. That’s how long it usually takes to show results and you get to know which product doesn’t work for your skin.

2. Always check the ingredient list. See if there is any ingredient which can trigger maskne or acne.

Recovery – gives you hope

Reminding again that skincare is subjective and what works for me might not work for you.

If your condition still persists, consult your dermatologist immediately.

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