What is Mascne? - Prevention and Treatment

Covid-19 has brought a lot of changes to our life, especially the fact that we must wear a mask when engaging in public activities. Most states have mandated that you wear a mask before entering a business, which means that workers have no choice but to wear a mask for long periods of time each day.

You may have been noticing your skin changing over the last several months. Perhaps you have noticed some red bumps in the areas of your face that your mask covers. Even if you do not typically have acne breakouts, Mascne (mask acne) is an unfortunate side effect of having to wear a mask every day. 

Acne is not always easy to deal with, but we still must wear our mask. Treating your skin with the proper products and using good hygiene will help control or eliminate the breakouts you may be experiencing. Everyone’s skin is different, so you will want to do spot testing when trying out new products to ensure that they will work for you. The last thing you want to do is make your skin more irritated. 

Definition of Mascne

Mascne is acne that is caused by wearing a mask. It appears in the areas of your face where your mask is covering (the bottom half of the face). While it is inconvenient, there are some things you can do to help prevent mascne breakouts. Even if you had flawless skin before COVID-19, you may be experiencing these types of breakouts. 

Why Would a Mask Cause Your Face to Breakout?

Stress in general affects the body in different ways and your skin is no exception. Stress causes cortisol to be released, which will affect your hormones and could lead to breakouts. In addition, stress will directly affect the bacteria in your gut, which will disrupt the balance between good and bad. 

As a result, the skin will show evidence of this stress by forming acne. When you add a mask to the mix, your skin is bound to experience changes. No matter what type of mask you are wearing, it could still irritate your skin. 

There are loads of things that could be contributing to your mask acne. These may include not washing your mask enough or washing it in harsh detergent, the type of material your mask is made of, how often, and how long you wear your mask. 

Masks prevent saliva, breath, coughing, and sneezing from getting into the air and transmitting COVID-19 or other illnesses. Which is exactly what we want them to do. However, that moisture is being trapped inside your mask which causes bacteria to be harvested. 

The bacteria are then introduced to your skin, which can result in breakouts. After all, a mask is designed to seal and prevent moisture from escaping. It creates a humid environment where acne-causing bacteria can thrive. 

The same goes for athletes that wear helmets. They are prone to breakouts due to the dirt, oil, and sweat that is being trapped inside their pores. It is a prime environment for bacteria to grow. 

When we do not wear a mask, the bacteria can easily escape our skin. If you are prone to stress-related breakouts, then you may be seeing mascne breakouts. 

Mascne Vs Maskne?

You will find that some people call it Mascne and others call it Maskne. However, it is the same thing. Do not get too hung up on the spelling of this type of acne. It is caused by the same thing and needs to be treated in the same way. 

How to Prevent and Treat Mascne

Bacteria can cause acne in general. When wearing a mask, you are harvesting bacteria in a warm and moist environment. To keep bacteria at bay, you will want to wash your face when you take off your mask. 

The CDC recommends that all masks that are not disposable need to be washed in hot water after every use. Exfoliating will help eliminate dead skin cells and clogged pores. Here are some products that we recommend when trying to prevent Mascne from occurring:



SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser - This advanced cleaner will soften the skin. Ideal for removing eye and face makeup. It is non-comedogenic, and ideal for daily use. Recommended for dry, normal, sensitive, reactive, or post-procedure skin. 


EltaMD Foaming Cleanser - Great for all skin types, this product helps reduce inflammation. It also helps protect skin with a 48% reduction in damage from pollution.


SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser - This cleanser will help improve the appearance of the skin’s texture and tone. It offers a thorough clean while gently exfoliating. 


NazarianSkin Clear 1 - Physician formulated, this cleanser has proven to be a robust acne-fighting product. It contains exfoliating ingredients such as Salicylic Acid USP. It helps unclog pores and keep acne-causing bacteria at bay. 


NazarianSkin Polish - This mild cleanser contains exfoliating microbeads that gently cleanse by removing dry, dead skin cells and excess oils. 

On the Go Cleansing Pads and Wipes

When you're out and about, facial pads and wipes are perfect for on-the-go skincare.


NazarianSkin Glycolic Pads - Glycolic Acid helps clear out dead and dull skin cells. Combined with Witch Hazel which is a robust astringent that helps eliminate surface oils and reduce pores. Contains beneficial vitamins and minerals, including A, C, E, Green Tea, and Co-Q10. 


Obagi Acne Cleansing Wipes - These wipes are super convenient and can be taken on the go definitely a must have travel essential. Allowing you to wash your face in between taking your mask off. Formulated with 2% Salicylic Acid and Witch Hazel to help treat and prevent acne while quickly and gently cleansing and refreshing the skin.

Specialized Treatments


EltaMD AM Therapy - This treatment helps even out skin tone and texture. It stimulates the skin’s natural water system to hydrate without adding extra oil or heavy emollients. Plus, this product helps increase moisture absorption and retention. 


Nazarian HA Booster - This product works to maintain moisture all day long, while also repairing the skin’s barrier and improving the skin’s appearance. 


iS Clinical Smooth & Soothe Clinical Facial - This advanced duo polishes and deeply hydrates the skin, while helping increase skin cell turnover. Plus, it renews your complexion to provide healthy-looking skin. 


Sente Dermal Repair Cream - This cream works to improve the appearance of skin texture and firmness. Formulated with patented HSA (Heparan Sulfate Analog) technology, which will help with photo-damaged skin. It will help diminish fine lines and wrinkles while enhancing skin tone and giving a more youthful appearance. 

Retinol Products


NazarianSkin Retinol + - Our specially formulated Retinol is designed to help with fine lines, wrinkles, acne, as well as improving collagen production and elastin. With a powerful blend of green tea, hyaluronic acid, and caffeine you will be left with well-hydrated skin that is smooth and radiant.


Revision Skincare Retinol Complete 1.0 - This retinol + serum is formulated with 5 antioxidants and has a proprietary blend of botanical extracts. It will work to help clear up mascne, while improving the appearance of your skin. 


SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5 - SkinMedica formulated their Retinol Complex to work with all skin types. The perfect solution for those who may be experiencing acne is caused by wearing a mask. 



EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 - This sunscreen can be used on any skin type. It helps sensitive skin types that are prone to breakouts. It is a lightweight sunscreen option that can be worn with makeup or by itself. 


Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 - Ideal for all skin types, Skinceuticals provides a weightless UVA/UVB sunscreen. It contains zinc oxide, artemia salina, and a plankton extract which increases the skin’s resistance to UV rays. 

Other Prevention Tips

To help prevent breakouts you can try some of these tips:

  • While it may not always be possible, try to wear your mask for shorter periods of time. Only wear it when it is necessary. 
  • Be sure to moisturize with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients such as nicotinamide. This will moisturize the skin and help prevent breakouts. 
  • Avoid wearing makeup and sunscreen under your mask. 
  • Look for fragrance-free products. 
  • When you are not wearing a mask, make sure that you clean your face and avoid using makeup. 

Do You Need Help

If you are suffering from mascne, and not sure what products would work best for you, contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have, as well as help you choose some products to help prevent and treat acne that is caused by wearing a mask.

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