Maskne: What it is, Why it happens, and How to solve it

Time posted: October 1, 2020 | Posted by: Samantha Marin

Breakouts in your T-Zone? Pimples, blackheads, and redness galore? We've got you covered. While finding the best skincare routine to solve your maskne and leave your pores squeaky clean can seem daunting, we've come up with a solution to keep you looking fresh. Your mask traps oils, which build up around your chin and nose. Don't stress! Some benzoyl peroxide and daily moisturizer can work wonders. You won't even need makeup to cover up your breakouts anymore. Soon you'll be rocking your mask with no pimples in sight!
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Living amidst a pandemic has changed countless things about the way we live. Wearing a mask is one of them. You may have noticed some changes in your skin since you started wearing a face covering out in public (we certainly have). So, with more Zoom calls on the horizon that we’d rather look half-decent for, we want to get real with you about Maskne.  


What it is 

Maskne is acne that forms in the area that your mask covers. Since masks cover much of your T-zone, like your nose, lip area, and chin, you’re extra-prone to breakouts.  

You may have noticed a few pimples, blackheads, and redness in your lower T-Zone. Or you may have more breakouts and irritation than ever before. Here’s why. 


Why it happens 

Masks are great at their job: that is, keeping things in. While the potentially harmful particles you breathe out are trapped and therefore prevented from infecting others, things like sweat and oils get stuck, too.  

“Masks also provide the perfect humid environment for bacteria to grow in our skin,” wrote Anushree Dave for Self 

And if you already have issues you’re fighting, masks will exacerbate them. “Masks can worsen skin issues that already exist or cause new ones,” wrote Courtney Rubin for the New York Times. All of this adds up to needing a new routine.  


How to solve it

  • Use an unscented moisturizer daily. You may think that adding more moisture to that area will make the breakouts worse, but it can actually help with any rubbing or chaffing that your mask may cause. “It can protect from mask friction, a la runner’s chafing cream,” wrote Rubin 
  • Don’t wear makeup under your mask. This will only cause more irritation, and the oil-mixing won’t be pretty. “Not wearing makeup like foundation and concealer on mask-covered skin is an easy way to help prevent breakouts,” wrote Souzan Michael Galway for Flare. 
  • Keep your mask clean. If you wear a cloth mask, make sure to wash it frequently. If you have reusable ones, cycle through them and throw them away once they’re worn out.  
  • Get some Benzoyl Peroxide. “To treat any maskne that you’ve already gotten, Dr. Allawh suggests using Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment” wrote Syeda Khaula Saad for Bustle 
  • Don’t Buy Out the Skin Care Aisle. When your skin is under siege, it’s best to not overload it with products. “Adding products like harsh chemical peels can make the skin more sensitive,” wrote Anushree Dave. 
  • Take Steps to De-Stress. Acne is caused by stress, diet, and hormonal changes as well as trapped dirt and oils. Living in a pandemic, aka the world keeps flipping on its head, is stressful. Set some time aside for a favorite de-stress activity: a long walk, a funny movie, or a bubble bath.  

Nothing working? Rubin concluded on a conciliatory note. “Take comfort that a mask at least hides the problem.”  


Posted By

Samantha Marin

Sam is the Social Media Manager and a writer for KLYP. She is currently finishing her BA in English at Columbia University. She grew up in a small town in the mountains of Virginia, so she loves to explore America’s backcountry and less-traveled paths. Because (most of) her undergrad education was in Manhattan, she also has a special place in her heart for gigantic, crazy cities. Sam says, "KLYP’s message is what got me hooked: empowering providers instead of corporations. I love working with passionate Beauty Service Professionals who are the REAL hustlers and go-getters of the Beauty Industry. They inspire me to work harder every day."