How to prevent and treat maskne

How to prevent and treat maskne

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There’s no doubt about it… 2020 has *not* gone as expected. Even if we leave everything else aside for now and focus on what we know best (yep, skincare) there’s still a whole new skincare concern to start tackling… you guessed it, maskne.

After spending countless months in lockdown, most of us have (just about) started to venture back into the world, albeit a new one, where the wearing of a face mask or covering in public places is mandatory. As we protect ourselves and each other, you’ve got to make sure take care of what’s under the mask too… your skin. Here’s our top tips on how to prevent and treat maskne…

What is maskne?  

Newly trending in the beauty world, you’ve probably heard the phrase a million times, but what is maskne? Well, it’s the term given to acne and breakouts which are caused by wearing a mask.

If you’re absolutely convinced that you’re been experiencing a whole lot more breakouts, irritation and redness since wearing face masks has been mandatory… you’re not alone. Occurring in the areas of your face protected by a covering or mask (the chin, nose and mouth), yep, that’s maskne.

What causes maskne?

We all seem to have it, so what actually causes maskne? Well, acne usually develops when pores get clogged by oil, dead skin cells, makeup, dirt, or bacteria. So, when you’re frequently wearing a face mask, the constant, no-air seal pressure from the mask, the friction, the heat, and the sweat all trapped under a mask can clog pores and cause irritation leading to breakouts on our chin, mouth, and nose.

How to Prevent Maskne

Starting with the mask itself here’s 3 tips on how to prevent maskne:

  • Wash your mask – a potentially obvious one, but something we might not all abide by, washing your mask *every time* you wear it… if you are using reusable face masks you really need to make sure to wash it after every use to help prevent the build up of what could be spot-causing bacteria.
  • Face mask size– when choosing your face mask look to buy one that covers your nose and mouth without being too tight or too loose to avoid unnecessary friction that will cause irritation.
  • Mask material– if you can, choose reusable masks made of soft material like silk or cotton over synthetic materials which will be harsher on your skin.

And now onto main (and favourite) area of expertise when it comes to preventing maskne… skincare!


So, this might come as a shock to some, as you probably don’t associate breakouts with dryness, but hydration actually goes way beyond simply having dry skin- turns out having sufficient moisture levels can actually also help with maskne. When your skin is dehydrated, it can actually lead to an inflammatory response, which can then trigger more oil production and less cell turnover = more breakouts. When our masks are on, a moist, hot environment is created, making an ideal environment for bacteria to form and breakouts to flourish.

Although drinking water is great for your health, make sure to hydrate your skin externally too, looking for humectant heavy formulas to bind that moisture to the skin and keep that skin barrier in top condition. Our Peach & Glow hydra-skin tonic, is all about that hydration- and isn’t only packed with hydrating peach, aloe and watermelon but glyercin too, a skin-loving humectant to help restore and protect your moisture barrier.

Make skin barrier health a priority

Leading to the next point… make your skin barrier health a top priority. Keeping the skin barrier fortified can go a long way to preventing maskne. After all, your skin barrier is what prevents bad bacteria from going into the skin, and what helps keep your skin strong and resilient. 

Avoid overwhelming skin with alcohols, too many acids or stripping toners (a common go-to when skin is breaking out) and instead look for ingredients like ceramides, nourishing lipids and fatty acids that are going to protect and restore your moisture barrier.

Double Cleanse 

A must-do for Team Scientia even before the days of maskne, it is now even more important than ever to properly cleanse your face. Double cleanse in the evenings to really cleanse the skin and wash away that dirt, grime and bacteria. Keep things gentle and start with an oil based cleanser (we recommend Peachy Clean, our Milky Oil Cleanser to gently cleanse whilst working to soften, soothe and hydrate) allowing the nourishing oils to bind to the surface impurities on your face (sebum, makeup, SPF, dirt and grime), so they can be comfortably rinsed away leaving the skin clean, soft and hydrated. Basically the 'good oil' takes the 'bad oils' and dirt with them.

Then, if you’re suffering from maskne, we’d recommend following with water-based cleanser for your second cleanse (look for salicylic acid if you can) to thoroughly clean the skin at the end of the day.


Knowing how to best prevent maskne is a good start, but for those times when a mask induced breakout is just unavoidable… how do you actually treat maskne?

There’s a lot of really great skincare out there for acne prone skin, but our top tip is to not go from zero to ten all at once. Start first by incorporating gentle, zit zapping formulas one at a time, look for a salicylic acid based cleanser, some gentle spot treatments and make sure to keep up the hydration. By starting off gentle, you’ll be tackling that maskne without drying out or irritation the skin further, which could actually lead to more breakouts.

When it comes to maskne as a whole, taking a gentle and long term approach is the way to go, dealing with the root cause rather than just blasting those symptoms with some potentially damaging and harsh skincare. Wash your mask, hydrate your skin and know that we’re all in the same boat!

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