Maskne: What you need to know

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

Isn’t it weird to think that little over five months ago phrases like ‘social distancing’, ‘flattening the curve’ and ‘maskne’ weren’t even part of our everyday vocabulary.

Masks - the latest fashion accessory come with unfortunate side effects. While handbags and shoes don’t usually cause any issues, masks are not as kind to our skin They increase heat, friction and occlusion on the skin and when combined with a moist and sweaty environment can lead to lots of issues. While maskne is the most common one, we also can see allergic contact dermatitis, a worsening of rosacea, personal dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis or folliculitis (infection of hair follicles).

Let’s talk about #maskne first.

The most common kind is #acne mechanica from the mask rubbing your skin and the really annoying thing is that maskne isn’t just going to afflict those with acne-prone skin; it can happen to any one of us.

First things first, get the right face mask.

If you are wearing a mask all day what fabric should use use? Ideally they should be a cotton material versus synthetic as they will be softer on the skin. Silk works well too, and both will cause less friction than polyester and rayon. They should be washed regularly at 60 degrees as leaving them unwashed could be contributing to acne (and not being very preventative from coronavirus). Remember treat your mask like your underwear. Wash it daily. Try and also take a break from wearing your mask as often as you can - even 15 minutes every couple of hours will make a difference.

Your skincare routine is going to be so important now that masks are a part of our lives.


Cleanse and then cleanse again. You should ensure you cleanse your skin twice a day and definitely if you aren’t already, now is the time to start double cleansing, especially in the evening. I’ve also taken to using a face cloth too as I feel I remove more dirt and grime with one! Some of my favourite cleansers include…

Cerave hydrating cleanser

Cerave SA wash

La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Gel

Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Cleanser

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

Clinique take the day off cleansing balm

Obagi 360 Exfoliating Cleanser

I get the temptation to wash your face every time you take your mask off but this may very well dry your skin out. As much as I hate wipes, this might be the time to invest in some. SuzanObagi MD has Brough out new wipes that might help some people. Check them out here. La Roche Posay Effaclar wipes are another option!


Salicylic Acid is THE acid of choice for getting deep down into pores. A leave on treatment will be great in the AM to keep those pores clear, but be careful as wearing the mask could exacerbate the efforts of salicylic acid.

Some of my favourites include: Obagi Pore Therapy

Obagi CLENZiderm Foaming Cleanser

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid

Medik8 Blemish Control Pads

You can also use salicylic acid in your cleanser.. I’m using

Cerave SA Wash

Medik8 Surface Radiance Cleanse

Other acids include AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid which again will help increase skin turnover and keep skin looking glowing. If you have never used acids before then adding them in in the form of a cleanser is a great way to start.. Some of my favourites include

Medik8 Pore Refining Scrub

Medik8 Surface Radiance Cleanse

Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash

If you are more accustomed to acids and want to use a leave on product you have a couple of options including

Obagi Exfoderm

Obagi Exfoderm Forte

SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Overnight repair

SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator

Be sure not to over exfoliate either as this can lead to further trauma to the skin and a breakdown in the skins natural barrier causing it become further dry and irritated. If you feel your skin is becoming dry or irritated then avoid excess acids. Check out the Medik8 Calmwise Range if you skin is over-irritated. Find the soothing cleanser here.


Hydration is key here - using hyaluronic serums in the AM to inject moisture into the skin and then using ingredients such as glycerin or ceramides in your moisturisers to improve the skins natural barrier. Silicones such as dimethicone will also provide extra protection from the irritation of the mask.

Some of my favourites include:

Vichy Mineral 89

Medik8 HYDR8 B5 Intense

SkinCeuticals HA intensifier

CeraVe Moisturiser AM

CeraVe Moisturiser PM

Obagi hydrate - a really lightweight mosturiser

Avene Eau Thermale - a lovely spray to use after taking your mask off. Lovely and refreshing.


Vitamin A will help increase cell turnover and cell renewal. Anyone who has followed me for a while will know I’m a huge fan of retinols. If you aren’t using them already then this is the time to add them to your routine. I have a whole blog post on retinoids here. Some of my favourite products below. Don't forget to add them to your routine slowly.

Obagi Retinol 1.0

SuzanObagi MD Retivance

La Roche Posay ReDermic

Medik8 Crystal Retinal


Now is the time to step up your clinic appointments too. Treatments such as peels will work wonders especially Salicylic acid peels like the Obagi Blue Peel Radiance ( I will be offering this as soon as my clinic is up and running).


If its at all possible try and leave your skin makeup free during the day. Focus on the eyes - maybe try a nice brightening eye cream (Murad eye brightening cream) and focus on mascara / eye makeup. I’m a huge fan of getting my eyelashes curled and PhiBrows are my new must have!

If you have to wear makeup then go for a water based foundation which will prevent pores getting blocked - make sure it says non comedogenic on the pack!

Don’t forget - when all else fails, see your GP or dermatologist.

Let me know over on the instagram post if you have any more hints or tips.

Dr. Laura x

*This blog post contains affiliate links to my amazon store*

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