What is ‘maskne’ and how does it impact your skin?


What is ‘maskne’ and how does it impact your skin?

With the challenges of recent weeks and the knowledge they can significantly minimise the risk of catching or transmitting the airborne particles of Covid-19, wearing a mask is a necessary part of our lives right now. 

So while we’re happy to wear them for the greater good, we’re less happy about the annoying skin afflictions they can sometimes cause. 

As the name suggests, ‘maskne’ is a type of breakout that results from wearing a face mask.

Widely reported overseas where mask mandates have been widespread in various areas over the past 18 months, maskne is also a common issue for the extraordinary health care workers who don the protective PPE for long hours at work every day.  

We spoke to pharmacist and founder of QED Skincare, Shoshana Eisner, to find our why our skin acts up, when covered up.

The two types of maskne

Maskne actually consists of two different conditions, says Eisner, breaking them into two categories.

“Maskne A is when people who have been wearing facemasks consistently for more than four hours a day suffer stubborn pimple breakouts around their mouth and chin.”

“Maskne B are those with small pimples and irritation where the rim of the mask and straps touches the skin.”

Eisner explains there are actually two very different causes for what can both look like pimple breakouts.

What causes the two types of maskne?

 Breathing whilst wearing a mask for a long time creates an extremely humid zone around your nose, mouth and chin, which is the main cause of Maskne A, that involves regular pimples around your mouth, nose and chin.”

“Maskne B is caused by the constant rubbing of the rim of the mask and straps, ” she says. 

“It tends to be sore, sometimes itchy and may have small pimple-like blemishes.  It is definitely more common in people who already have eczema, dermatitis or rosacea.

Unfortunately, both are made worse the longer you wear a mask.

How do I treat it?

Eisner advises treating Maskne A pimples the same way you would treat regular pimples. She suggests the following approach

  1. Use a spot treatment regularly on the pimples.  I recommend using the 5-Minute Facial Clay Mask Detox + Clarify formulated with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic ingredients to heal pimples fast and make them less painful and prominent.
  2. Throughout the day use a toning spray on the lower part of your face to reduce oil flow.  I recommend The Balancing Mist, it smells gorgeous and refreshing but most importantly it slows down oil production.
  3. Once you are done with masks for the day cleanse the affected area well.  If your skin is breaking out badly, I recommend using an anti-acne cleanser in that area like the Clarify Shake to Activate Cleanser, which is formulated to speed pimple healing and reduce oil production.

Maskne B, caused by friction, needs a little more TLC.  Eisner suggests using a soft healing barrier product, around the areas of irritation.  The Ultra Sensitive Face Balm dabbed into the skin before you mask up and repeatedly throughout the day is formulated for exactly these situations.

How to prevent maskne

  • Change your mask frequently.
  • Don’t reuse disposable masks.
  • If you’re wearing a mask regularly, invest in a quality comfortable, breathable fabric mask – buy a few and wash them often. 
  • Don’t stop moisturising under your mask. If you have very sensitive skin, you are more at risk of Maskne B, so increase your moisturiser.
  • If it gets really bad, make an appointment with your GP


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