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What is Maskne?

Maskne (pronounced mask-nee and sometimes spelled mask-ne or mascne) is a blend of the words “mask” and “acne.” The term first appeared in everyday use during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to refer to acne and other rashes of the face that occur in association with mask wearing. As if coping with a global pandemic wasn’t enough, our first world problems now include our glasses constantly fogging up and acne and rashes caused by our masks!
Here is a bit about what maskne is and how we can try and treat it.

Maske is not a new thing. Before the pandemic, it was commonly experienced by athletes who wore helmets or professionals required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

Maskne is said to be a result of the constant pressure and friction of mask wearing that causes micro-tears in the skin, this then allows bacteria and dirt easier access to clog up pores. Add to this the increased humidity caused by breathing and the environment is ideal for breakouts, rashes and redness.

For some, now wearing a mask on a daily basis is non-negotiable. So what can we do about it?
The reading I have done points to these key steps to avoid the build-up of bacteria.

😷 Choose the right cloth mask. Look for masks made from soft, breathable fabric such as cotton. Avoid synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester as they are more likely to irritate your face. Make sure the mask fits properly. Too small or tight and it will cause irritation. Too big or loose and you may be continually readjusting it and potentially transferring bacteria from your hands to your face.

🩲 Wash your cloth masks every day. Treat your masks like your undies and wash them after you wear them, to remove oli and bacteria from the inside of the mask. Hang them to dry in the sun as the UV light will help to kill bacteria. If you use disposable masks, don’t reuse them.

👏 Make hygiene number one. Sanitise your hands before and after putting on and taking off a mask, and, once your mask is on, don’t touch it or your face.

🤗 Take care of your skin. It’s important to maintain a regular skincare routine, but take things gently. Wearing a face mask can make skin more sensitive, so avoid harsher cleansers such as exfoliants or chemical peels on areas that the mask touches. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturiser to protect your skin’s natural barrier and help it to heal. Dermatologists recommend choosing a moisturiser that contains ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to provide protection and hydration. Also wait until the evening to use spot treatments, so your skin has a better opportunity to repair overnight. Keep your makeup light, or if you can, don’t wear any under the mask area, as it can block pores.

My favorite product in the fight against maske is Bakuchiol serum. It is lightweight and rich in antioxidants and designed for calming redness. Bakuchiol is known to stimulate collagen production which has the benefit of increasing the skin’s elasticity and resilience. Because of this, it has been found to assist with treating fine lines, breakouts and dark spots. It is also known to prevent the process of lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids resulting in cell damage) in the skin’s sebum by keeping the acid mantle active. This reduces the overproduction of bacteria on the skin’s surface and thus helps to reduce breakouts.

If you have made it this far, thanks for staying and reading 😘

Stay safe and be kind. The Less Than Three – Naturally Team

Photo Credit: Engin Akyurt

References: (n.d.). 9 ways to prevent face mask skin problems. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2022].
Wikipedia. (2022). Maskne. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].
‌ (n.d.). Maskne Causes and How to Avoid It | Flora & Fauna. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].‌Mandatory mask rules leads to rise in skin condition known as “maskne”, experts say. (2021). ABC News. [online] 21 Jul. Available at: [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].
‌Tan, Y. (2020). How masks and acne created new makeup trends. BBC News. [online] 25 Jul. Available at: [Accessed 7 Feb. 2022].
Photo Credit Engin Akyurt
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