How to Remedy 'Maskne,' According to an Expert

Could you have ever imagined what our world would look like today if someone had asked you a year ago? Probably not.

These days, our lives consist of working from home, Zoom calls and wearing face masks. Due to COVID-19 and quarantine, it's become essential to wear face masks when we're out in public. While we are stopping the spread, what we aren't doing is helping our skin. Since our faces aren't used to having a piece of fabric rubbing against them, it can cause some damage. Maskne, or mask acne, is real.

Are you currently dealing with maskne and looking for a solution? We spoke with esthetician Sarah Akram, all about it. Keep reading for our full interview, and find out how to remedy maskne:

Sweety High: What areas of the face typically get maskne?

Sarah Akram: I typically see maskne on areas of the face where a client's mask has been pressing against their skin—mainly along the jaw, cheeks and mouth.


SH: What does maskne look like? 

SA: Maskne is caused by bacteria that thrive in clogged pores. When you have a mask pressing against your skin all day, dirt, debris, impurities and even dead skin cells get trapped in your pores. These clogged pores can quickly turn into angry breakouts. Some folks are also experiencing some allergic reactions, either from the material they're using or the detergents they're cleaning masks with.


SH: How can we prevent maskne? 

SA: If you're using surgical masks, be sure to swap them out for a new one as often as possible (please leave the N95 masks for the medical pros to work their magic). If you're using a reusable cloth mask, invest in two or three of them (if possible), wash them with fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent and switch them out every other day. Buildup will sit on the mask and then sit in your pores. It's a recipe for acne!

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I then recommend to all my clients that they start by thoroughly cleansing their face both morning and night (I recommend a triple-cleanse consisting of a pre-cleansing oil, clay masque and milk cleanser.) This will help lift dirt, debris and impurities that clog pores. Use chemical exfoliation products around the area where you wear your mask. You can then use an exfoliating toner like Biologique Recherche's Lotion P50 every couple days, or even twice daily depending on your sensitivity level. Lastly, invest in a quality spot treatment gel like Environ's SebuSpot. Apply it last in your routine and only on areas with active breakouts.

Lastly, I recommend that my clients incorporate an at-home blue and red LED light therapy into their routine. Blue LED light can actually kill bacteria that causes acne. Red LED technology—which was invented by NASA—helps your cells to heal and regenerate much faster than normal. Combining these powerful therapies is the best treatment for fighting acne. I like the PolyGo Clear, because it has interchangeable red and blue light LED heads – I use it just before I go to bed.


SH: What types of products help with maskne?

SA: Outside of the products mentioned above, I've recently returned to work and am wearing a mask for 8 – 10 hours a day. One game-changing product that has helped me combat maskne is MedZone's Face Balm for Masks. It's all-natural and made to help prevent skin irritation while wearing a protective mask. I use this balm where my mask is rubbing against my skin to help reduce friction.

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SH: Anything else we should know about maskne?

SA: Maskne is treatable—simple changes like regularly cleaning your mask and getting into a skincare regimen will help on your path to recovery. Don't let maskne become the reason you stop wearing a mask—now more than ever women need to lead by example!


Itching for an at-home spa night? Click HERE for some tips to set the mood for a DIY spa day.