Face Masks & Acne

Face Masks & Acne

Oh boy, if keeping our skin clear was tough before, now with masks mandatory most places it is going to get even harder.  Those masks trap in moisture, dirt and can potentially clog pores.  There is a new term called “maskne” meaning acne caused by your face mask.

The heat of summer causes sweat and that sweat is getting trapped under your mask.  Causing acne flare ups.  When your breath gets caught in your mask it creates a humid environment that is perfect for bacteria to grow.

Acne around your nose and mouth is called perioral dermatitis.  And even if you never had a problem with acne before you may have some acne trouble from your mask in this area.


Common Causes of Acne:

  • Excess oil
  • Clogged pores from oil, dead skin cells and dirt
  • Bacteria
  • Hormones


Ways Combat Maskne

Here are some simple steps to help you combat maskne:

Remove your mask when it is safe to do so.  In your home or in your car, or when social distancing can be maintained take your mask off and let your skin have a chance to get fresh air and air out.

Wash your reusable mask regularly or replace your mask often if disposable.  Just like your pillowcase that rubs up against your face continually while you sleep, cleaner is better.

Wash your face regularly to help avoid clogged pores from dirt and sweat.

If necessary you may need to get some over-the-counter acne fighters even if you haven’t done so in years.  Look for a product with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

You may need to book an appointment with a dermatologist to get some help.  They have access to medications that may be needed that you can’t get at your local store.

Forego makeup underneath your mask when possible.  Makeup just adds another ingredient to the mix that can cause clogged pores.


If acne isn’t enough to deal with what about an uneven face tan.

Have you ever watched a golf match and on the 18th hole the players take off their caps and shake hands with their opponents and salute the crowd?  If you look closely you will see that most players have very tan faces and very pale foreheads.  That is from being outdoors continually and wearing a ball cap.

My children used to spend hours in the pool with those swim masks on that cover your eyes and nose, learning to do flips and handstands.  When their masks came off they were pale across their eyes and nose and tan on their cheeks and chins.  It looked like they had little beards. Thankfully, they were young enough to not care.

If you are old enough to care about how your face looks you may need to use some precautions in the sun.

Do not forgo sunscreen on your face to make sure your face tans evenly.  Make sure to use that sunscreen where your mask does not cover.  So that the covered and the uncovered areas remain even.

Spending time outdoors at an amusement park or the zoo you will get  some decent sun exposure and most of these places require masks.  If you are wearing a mask your face has the potential to tan unevenly.



Masks may be necessary for the foreseeable future so it is important to find one that fits you specifically.  Your mask should comfortably fit over your nose and mouth.  If possible it should be snug without being confining.  It should be made of soft material that doesn’t irritate your skin.  Constant rubbing from your mask can cause breakouts too.  You can also be allergic to the material of your mask, so trying out different types of cloth may be necessary.


When your breath gets caught in your mask it creates a humid environment that is perfect for bacteria to grow.