Prevent ‘Maskne’: What to Do When Your Face Masks Cause Breakouts

Prevent ‘Maskne’: What to Do When Your Face Masks Cause Breakouts

The problem might be your mask...or your habits.

You’re fully vaccinated, congratulations. But wait — according to local authorities,  your face mask should stay on. That isn’t much to ask, but I’m sure you still struggle with breakouts on your cheek area, brought about by the wearing of face masks every time you leave your house. Although there’s really no way to permanently stop pimples from sprouting, there are definitely steps you can take to prevent mask acne, aka “maskne.” 

Also read: 18 Must-Try Singapore Beauty Brands From Skincare to Makeup

Why do pimples come out when you wear a face mask?

prevent maskne

First, it’s essential to understand what’s causing the breakouts as the answers can vary. According to Healthline, one reason is that masks tend to make your clogged pores worse because the barrier that a cloth or surgical mask provides actually allows the oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells to build on your face all the more. 

Aside from that, the mask traps humidity from your breathing and sweating, which can cause more pimples to pop up. Wearing a cloth mask washed with scented detergent? That can be a major pimple trigger too. It may also be that your skin is too dry when you wear a face mask, which will only cause irritation and therefore the horrible maskne!

How to prevent maskne

prevent maskne

1. Wash your face two to three times a day

Despite the fact that we keep outdoor activities to a minimum during the pandemic, make sure you’re still washing your face regularly. A standard routine to follow would be once in the morning, and once in the evening, plus after every time you sweat while your mask is on. Use lukewarm water on your face to avoid the clogging of pores too.

2. Avoid cleansers that have alcohol or perfume

Cleansers with alcohol or perfume can irritate your skin and make it harder for your acne or pimple marks to heal. Stick with gentle cleansers that remove excess oil, sweat, and bacteria. Look for moisturisers that are non-comedogenic as well.

3. Minimise the makeup

Better yet, just stay away from makeup when you’re wearing a face mask. Wearing makeup beneath your mask will just clog your pores and prolong your skin’s healing process. Besides, there’s no need to wear blush if your mask is covering most of your cheek area, anyway. Plus, if you take care of your skin, the less you’ll need foundation and concealer. 

4. Apply creams or treatments recommended by your derma

prevent maskne

If you don’t like getting facial cleaning, consult with a derma on what the best home remedy for your skin would be. They often recommend creams that will help dry out the acne or pimple. My dermas have often recommended creams with benzoyl peroxide; but if your skin has stopped responding to the treatment, it’s better to have a second check-up with your derma.

5.  Remove your face mask every four hours if you can

As much as possible, don’t go four hours straight without giving your skin a break from your face mask. As per the American Academy of Dermatology Association, removing your face mask for 15 minutes every four hours will allow your skin some much-needed breathing space that can help prevent the pimples from popping out.  Just make sure you’re observing social distancing while doing this. And if you need to touch your face, make sure you have clean hands. 

6.  Avoid masks with synthetic fabrics

Fabrics like nylon, polyester, and rayon are sure to irritate your skin. If you want to use a reusable cloth mask, go for those made out of gentle fabrics like cotton and silk. If not, the basic surgical mask is safe enough. Just make sure you dispose of them after each use. 

Also read: COVID-19 Travel Insurance for Singaporeans: A Simple Guide for Your Next Adventure

As the world gradually heals from the pandemic, we still have to be patient until the face mask protocol is 100% removed. Maskne will threaten to appear every now and then, but that doesn’t mean we can’t minimise or prevent it. I hope you found these tips helpful for your skincare needs!

Featured image credit: Aditya Pradipta | Unsplash

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.