Maskne. What is it?

A breakout on face from mask-wearing. Actually quite common. Acne is due to many things including clogged pores, hormones, and C. acnes bacteria, also from mechanical insult to the skin.

Termed ‘acne mechanica  Repeated friction leads to skin irritation in the short term. Over time, continued friction leads to inflammation that can block pores, and here comes ‘break-out’! As we try to avoid serious illness by wearing a mask, untold negatives can occur. Moisture and sweat become trapped, the area corresponding to the mask can erupt with lesions.


Avoid makeup, humidity, and in cold weather, our skin drys and can contribute negatively. Use lightweight sunscreen or facial moisturizer, so as not to plug pores.

Our skin has microscopic layers of protection in form of oils and fats. This can be broken down by mask-wearing. So use petroleum-based moisturizer.

The lips require your attention, use lip balm under the mask, protective petroleum jelly. I use the Desert Essence Tea Tree stick. 

Reusable masks must be washed and if possible use UV-C light to clean, once any mask is damp it must be discarded if non-reusable or washed is reusable.

Wash reusable masks, by soaking in soapy water for 20 min. then let air dry. 

Reusing disposable masks isn’t ideal from an efficacy standpoint nor to prevent skin concerns. 

Research out of University Illinois showed one layer face mask of regular cotton blend t-shirt material can decrease respiratory droplets by 40% and a double layer of these breathable materials offers 98% droplet reduction. * 

simplify skincare, you don’t want products under your skin to contribute to clogged pores, sweating. Avoid harsh products, use petroleum-based products.

Pay special attention to your facial appearance now that mask use is so pervasive.

Should you have had skin problems prior to mask-wearing you must be extra vigilant and as necessary see a dermatologist.

*University of Illinois conducted by mechanical science professor Taher Saif and two graduate students, Onur Aydin and Bashar Emon