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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Maskne Advice Pt. 1

I've been experiencing maskne and have combo skin that is typically non-problematic. This is what has helped me:


Personal Face Coverings- I used to use surgical disposable masks but have switched to cotton. The disposable ones are rough and cause "acne mechanica" from a combination inflammation, hair follicles, and humidity. The air pockets these create also makes for a very humid environment which exacerbates the condition. I would use a clarifying mask the night before, go to bed, and wake up with soothed and clearer skin in the AM. However, after removing my disposable mask after only an hour, my skin would look oily, red, and have a million bumps. I have switched to a cotton mask from Amazon. I've heard silk is best on skin so I'm looking into one of those. Masks should be washed nightly with a fragrance-free detergent that you are not allergic to. If you have to use a disposable mask, it should be discarded daily and not reused.


It is important to note that surgical masks are dipped in formaldehyde to sanitize them. I discovered that I am one of the many people who are very allergic to it. For me it causes breathing problems, dermatitis, and typical allergy symptoms that can be quite severe as the mask is literally on your face.


Gentle Products- Counterintuitive as it may seem, you should not use harsh clarifying products on your skin as personal face masks roughen and irritate the skin, and using harsh products after further exacerbate the condition. It is important to know that face masks create inflammation in the skin. The gentler the products, the better. I've started to use SEPHORA COLLECTION Clarifying Peel Pads 60 Pads at night which contain a natural salicylic acid that is gentle on the skin but clarifying at the same time. The bonus is that they work super quickly and are affordable.


Streamlining Skincare Routine- I also stopped using my serums flat-out. I used to use a pre-serum, serum and moisturizer, which made my skin look great. Serums actually draw moisture from the air which is how they make your skin dewy. Using a face mask creates a greenhouse on your face, and adding serums just makes up the humidity and congestion on your face a million times, leading to zits. I stopped using serums at night too, because my skin just doesn't need it anymore. Now I use toner, moisturizer, eye cream and neck cream. I also double cleanse always now.


Streamlining Makeup Routine- No makeup where the mask touches, especially cream formulas. Powders such as blushes are okay but they won't last. Coverage won't work with a mask because when you remove it, it's gone. I only focus on eye makeup and have stopped with lip colour (so difficult for me!) because they have moisture which gets trapped in the mask, too and cause bumps around the mouth.


I hope these tips help your skin. I advise you to read up on this using keyword searches from what I've mentioned as information seems to be difficult to get. No one wants to flat out say "Masks are terrible for your skin." The key is to not overload your skin with harsh products, because it is making the condition worse and creating a cycle. 


I've still not fully recovered from maskne, but my situation has improved a lot and I wish you all the best!


Update- I wrote a followup on Maskne Advice Pt. 2 which you will find very helpful!

RE: Maskne Advice

If you have any luck finding silk masks please update! Thank so so much for your thoughtful advice, it really helped me as I have also been experiencing maskne 😩

Re: RE: Maskne Advice

HI Amy, 


Yes, I'm trying to purchase a Slip mask, which is hard because I can't find stockists in Canada. A note is that silk masks don't offer the same protection as other masks because they are so light, but they should be used sparingly, at a distance, or with a filter pocket. I've seen some Mulberry Silk masks on Amazon and Etsy. Make sure to look for a nose piece so that it sits comfortably on your face. I am still looking at options, but my cotton mask from Amazon is great and doesn't have the formaldehyde dermatitis problem. I might add a mouth brace which helps with talking. 


I've noticed a difference from using the methods above and I wish you the best! Maskne is not easy to treat and can overwhelm one's confidence. Each step makes a difference! ❤️

Re: RE: Maskne Advice

@Amy1102 The brand Slip makes silk masks 

Re: Maskne Advice

Great advice, @nyfashionista!


Super interesting that you don't use serums anymore.  I never thought about serums and moisture contributing to maskne.  I've been lucky enough to WFH but I'll try out those tips the next time I go out!

I've also heard that either spraying your mask with salicylic acid or applying salicylic acid to your face helps prevent maskne.  

Re: Maskne Advice

It depends on how often you wear your mask and for what purpose. If you talk in your mask, the moisture from your mouth will literally create a greenhouse environment in your mask. If you're going out for groceries and the odd errand, you can be okay with keeping your serums. Keep in mind that this heatwave has already added so much humidity! It was hard for me to switch my routine because I love my serums, I've stayed loyal to the same ones for years!

I would not recommend spraying masks with salicylic acid or any spray as they break down the filter which hinders virus prevention.

Re: Maskne Advice



That's good to know!  I saw a video of Dr. Pimple Popper spraying her mask with salicylic acid.  I guess her mask was made of cloth so it didn't have a real filter.

And omg the heatwave definitely doesn't help!  It's so crazy with all the fires caused by lightning and dry weather in California!  Some people I know had to evacuate their homes 😔

Re: Maskne Advice

I saw that video too! I would assume you can spray your face with the spray and let it dry before wearing the mask. Reusing surgical masks or filters also decreases their effectiveness against viruses, because the moisture degrades the filter.


That's so sad to hear about the fires! I hope you and all your loved ones are safe! ❤️

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