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The Best “Maskne” Or Acne Mechanica Treatments

Jul 29, 2020

Depending on where you live, wearing masks today can range from recommended to critically important. Not only can it help prevent the spread of the virus and save lives, at the very least it shows plain common courtesy in that you care about the wellbeing of others.

However, if you wear your mask daily and diligently, you might spot some new breakouts, especially on the bridge of your nose, your cheeks and your chin. This phenomenon has become so widespread in recent months that it’s got its own name — maskne, or mask acne.

So what is maskne exactly, what’s the best maskne treatment and how can you prevent face mask acne in the future? Let’s find out.

What Is Maskne Or Acne Mechanica?

Despite the recent surge in popularity, maskne is not some novel disease that’s taking over — it’s actually a well-studied dermatological issue called acne mechanica.

Acne mechanica (as the name suggests) is an acne-like eruption caused primarily by repeatedly rubbing your skin against tightly strapped fabric and the lack of air exposure. As a result, your pores get clogged by oil, dead skin cells, sweat and dirt, and become infected.

While there is no exclusive acne mechanica treatment, there are a few things you can do to improve your daily routine and minimize the chances of getting maskne in the future.

Wash your face frequently

Just as everyone is encouraged to wash their hands as often as possible (and not touch their face), everyone should be encouraged to wash their face with a gentle cleanser before and after wearing a mask.

Frequent washing will help prevent bacteria buildups and remove excess oil. Be sure to pick a cleanser that won’t leave your skin dry, to avoid causing even more irritation.

Apply a chemical exfoliant

Besides washing your face more often than you used to, it’s a good idea to get rid of dead cells on your skin that might contribute to your face mask acne condition.

Using a BHA exfoliant once a week or so will help you unclog pores and leave your skin looking clean and healthy once again.

Moisturize daily

When you wash your face, you inevitably get rid of useful oils and leave it more susceptible to dryness. So make sure to find a gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer that you can use as often as needed to bring back your skin’s natural defense systems.

If you’re already experiencing skin irritation and inflammation on a daily basis, consider using a cortisone cream, but only as a short-term solution.

Put down your foundation

We all love to use our foundations and, for most of us, stepping outside without one is practically unthinkable. But consider what a foundation actually does to your skin when you cover it with a mask and enter the summer heat — your pores will get even more clogged up, accelerating bacteria growth.

So try to avoid using your foundation for the time being. If you absolutely need it, pick a high-quality moisturizer or sunscreen that’s tinted to your skin color and get all the benefits with no downsides.

Don’t forget about sunscreen

There’s a common misconception now that you don’t need to apply sunscreen when you’re wearing a mask. Well, what about all the exposed skin around the mask?

It’s certainly better to finish your morning routine with an even layer of sunscreen or an SPF moisturizer. For maskne treatment, find one with zinc oxide, which is proven to have an antimicrobial effect and won’t clog up your pores.

Protect your skin with a balm

If you notice that your mask acne is getting worse, you might need some physical protection around the area where your skin is rubbing against the mask. Using a hydrating barrier balm is an easy way to help you soothe the skin and prevent the spread of bacteria.

For more of a physical barrier, you can also try using a thin layer of silicon tape, DuoDerm or acne patches.

Keep your mask clean

It should go without saying that if you wear single-use face masks, you should dispose of them daily. Don’t want to create unnecessary waste? There are lots of fabric masks available right now with all kinds of stylish designs. Just make sure you wash them every day. You don’t want all the dirt and bacteria filtered by the mask to be pressed against your face, worsening the maskne symptoms even more.

Simply buy a few masks so you always have fresh ones available. There are even options out there that are infused with zinc oxide (just like sunscreens mentioned above), which has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to alleviate mask acne.


As you can see, acne mechanica treatment doesn’t have to be difficult, and even a slight adjustment to your routine can yield great results. Better yet, try to prevent maskne altogether by carefully following the advice above. Stay safe!

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