Face Masks and Acne: What You Need to Know


But while masks offer some benefits to public health, they may also have some drawbacks. One of the big ones is irritation of the skin. Simply put, there is substantial evidence to suggest a connection between face masks and acne. This connection is colloquially referred to as “maskne.”

But what should you know about face masks and acne? Specifically, how can you avoid breakouts and skin irritations? Dr. Ashley Chandler, from The Skin Center by CPS, recently appeared on the local news with some tips and insights. In this blog post, we’ll provide a quick summary of what she said.

What’s the Link Between Face Masks and Acne?

The context here is that most people are now wearing masks with some frequency; at the same time, we’re at the peak of summer heat and humidity, which means many of us are sweating underneath those masks. This combination can’t help but lead to irritation of the skin.

As Dr. Chandler attests, we’re seeing a lot of patients at The Skin Center who have breakouts across their face, often directly linked to prolonged mask-wearing. What’s happening, she notes, is that “the skin is suffering from an irritation locally from being in contact with the fabric.”

Dr. Chandler goes on to say that the “maskne” is “a combination of contact with the fabric, or what we call acne mechanica, and the fact that the skin cells are clogging the pores and being trapped [inside the mask] in a hot, humid environment.”

How to Address Maskne

That’s what causes the connection between face masks and acne, but what can we actually do to minimize breakouts? Dr. Chandler presents some advice.

Even while wearing your mask, keeping yourself and others safe, it’s possible to protect your skin from breakouts. “We recommend washing at least twice daily with a good cleanser,” Dr. Chandler begins; indeed, some basic hygiene can go a long way toward keeping that skin clear and irritation-free.

“We recommend staying away from some of the harsher, irritating products that we’ve used, like peels and retinols,” she continues. “The skin is already irritated, so you want to stay away from those temporarily.”

Also, Dr. Chandler says, “You’ll want to stay away from any kind of makeup or concealer on the area that’s covered by the mask. It’s just causing more clogging of the pores, and no one can see it anyway.”

For a final recommendation, Dr. Chandler advocates for “restoring as much moisture as you can to the skin and using a different mask every day. Don’t wear the same one over and over again. Put it in the wash and start over fresh the next day.”

Choosing the Right Mask

One important consideration for those who are eager to avoid maskne breakouts is identifying the right kind of mask. Not all materials are created equal.

“We recommend a multi-layered cotton mask,” notes Dr. Chandler. She goes on to say that, since maskne is becoming such a big problem, there are more and more masks being developed that are infused with different skincare products. In fact, Charlotte Plastic Surgery is carrying a mask that’s infused with shea butter, which can help restore some of the moisture to the skin. “It’s dual-layered and gives the ability to actually place a filter inside, if you want an extra layer of protection,” Dr. Chandler says.

These masks are machine washable for up to 10 uses; with any questions about then, reach out to Charlotte Plastic Surgery or to The Skin Center directly.

Avoiding Maskne: Our Checklist

To recap, it’s important to be consistent in wearing your mask any time you’re in a public place, particularly when socially distancing is impossible. With that said, it’s also wise to think about the health of your skin, and to take the right precautions to keep maskne breakouts at bay.

Here’s a quick checklist, including all the recommendations from The Skin Center by Charlotte Plastic Surgery:

  • In the morning, wash your face with a good, high-quality cleansing product.
  • Avoid putting makeup or concealer in the areas that will be covered by the mask.
  • Put on a fresh mask, not the one you wore the day before!
  • If you don’t already have a multi-layered cotton mask, consider getting one.
  • At the end of the day, take your mask off and put it in the wash.
  • Cleanse your face at night, again using a good, tough cleansing product.
  • If possible, and if needed, apply a moisturizer to your face throughout the day.
  • Reach out to The Skin Center by Charlotte Plastic Surgery if you need treatment for acne breakouts on your face.
  • Also, don’t forget to check out the shea butter-infused masks that are now available from Charlotte Plastic Surgery.

By following these guidelines, you can wear your mask without putting your skin at too great a risk for maskne breakouts. With any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at The Skin Center by Charlotte Plastic Surgery directly.

If you are looking for a step-by-step guide on how to prevent Maskne and the perfect products to help, download our Maskne Guide today!

maskne guide

Contact Us at The Skin Center

At The Skin Center by Charlotte Plastic Surgery, we’re committed not just to helping our patients look and feel their best, but also to providing all the resources they need for optimizing the health of their skin.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one important aspect of this is helping clients with issues like maskne, and ensuring everyone knows how to stay safe, do the right thing, and support skin health. If you have any more questions about any of this, or if you’re having maskne issues that you’d like us to help with, reach out to our office at any time.