We Asked A Derm What They Recommend For Dealing With Maskne

"Поражение – не поражение, если только вы не признаете его таковым в своем сознании." Брюс Ли ©

Maskne [mask-nee] noun; the acne invading your face as a result of doing the right thing and wearing a mask when you leave your house.

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At this point we all know that we need to be wearing a mask when we have to go outside — masks are the new seat belts folks! They save lives!


Plus, with so many new prints coming out, they can be super cute. Seriously, there are so many cute masks now. They’re the fashion statement I didn’t know I needed.

But, as we wear them to stay safe, we’re also confronted with a new dilemma — maskne (as if everything else wasn’t enough). So we asked New York-based dermatologist, Dr. Anthony M. Rossi, MD, FAAD to talk to us about maskne; how to prevent it, treat it, and why it’s even happening in the first place.

Maskne is the acne many of us are experiencing because we’re wearing masks. Dr. Rossi explains «It’s occurring because of the occlusion from the mask on someone’s skin and the buildup of sweat and sebum (face oils) under the mask. Dermatologists call this Acne mechanica, which is a form of acne that is triggered when the skin is pressed or rubs against clothing or protective gear.»

NBC / Via giphy.com

Dr. Rossi points out that «the role of a mask is to make a good seal, so acne can occur where the mask makes contact with your skin.»

Another example of this would be when you break out after a workout because maybe you didn’t hop into the shower right after and maybe sat around in your workout clothes for a little too long — no judgment, we’ve all done it.

Okay, so how can we prevent it — especially if we need to be wearing masks? Well, according to Dr. Rossi, the key is to let the skin breathe. «Letting your skin breathe is helpful when you are not wearing a mask — make sure to wash your face regularly with cleanser and don’t occlude the skin.» Another tip Dr. Rossi suggests is to «avoid pore-clogging makeup,» especially when wearing a mask.

Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions / Via giphy.com

But if we’re going to be washing our face more it’s incredibly important to be mindful of the products we’re using. Dr. Rossi suggests «using a more acne-focused cleanser, any with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid which may help in these cases.»


Promising review: «Was highly doubtful but — WOW! Works incredibly well. I use it as a cleanser or mask (depending on how much time I have left in the shower) and 1) I have not had another breakout 2) I have seen noticeable shrinking pores!» —B&R

Get this Neutrogrena Clear Pore Benzoyl Peroxide Mask/Cleanser from Amazon for $6.56.

If you’ve always been prone to acne (🙋) Dr. Rossi suggests «adding an acne-targeted toner with salicylic acid. This will help as the salicylic acid is able to penetrate the pores.»

Amazon, amazon.com

Promising review: «I really like this product. A little bit goes a long way. I started using this about four months ago. It cleans and tightens the pores on my face without drying my skin. It makes a noticeable difference. I haven’t had a zit since I started using it. I like it so much that I bought some for my daughter. She loves it too.» —Monty

Get the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner with Salicylic Acid from Amazon for $14.99.

If you’re on the go or wearing your mask for long periods of time, Dr. Rossi suggests using face towelettes or «your favorite oil-blotting pads. They can be helpful when you are on the go and want to cleanse the face or soak up the excess oil.»


Get the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Oil-Free Cleansing Face Wipes Towelettes for $9.99 and the Natural Bamboo Charcoal Oil Absorbing Tissues for $6.95 from Amazon.

Exfoliating about once a week might also help. «You can exfoliate with a gentle scrub, dry washcloth, or clay mask once a week.»


This particular mask is a favorite of mine (in fact I’m wearing right this second as I type this) for helping me deal with oiliness and breakouts.

Promising review: «I really like the product because it does exactly what it says it’s going to do! it soaks up all the oils on your skin without leaving your skin dry and flaky. The product has really saved me money and time. I was thinking about making a trip to the dermatologist, but my pores are now so small!! I am so happy with my results.» —TaSharra Franklin

Get a jar of Cetaphil Pro Dermacontrol Purifying Clay Mask from Amazon for $15.99.

And since you’ve got the time while you’re sleeping, Dr. Rossi recommends using a light over-the-counter retinoid at night. «They can help cut down on closed and open comedones (white and blackheads).»


Promising review: «I use it to keep my cystic acne in check. I’ve been using it since I was 15 when it was prescription-only. THANK GOD it’s OTC now. Price is even cheaper than when it was RX.» —Kristen Bingel

Get a tube of Differin Gel from Amazon for $12.88.

Dr. Rossi also emphasizes that «you don’t want to over dry your skin so it is still important to moisturize. A light-based one with sunscreen is helpful — SPF 30 or above.»


There are a lot of sunscreens out there but the ADA, like Dr. Rossi, actually recommends an SPF 30 or higher always, we’ve actually did quite a bit of research on this ourselves.

Promising review: «This is the most amazing moisturizer with SPF ever. Melts into my skin and leaves it so soft. Not at all greasy or heavy. Doesn’t break me out. It doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. This is a keeper. This is my second tube, I’m stocking up.» —Ivy and Claire’s Mom

Get a bottle of CeraVe’s Face Moisturizer with SPF 30 from Amazon for $14.96.

And last but not least, Dr. Rossi notes that steam «can be helpful in general to unclog your pores.»


He does also point out that if you’re DIY-ing a steam machine (maybe sitting in a steamy bathroom) at home it’s important to be very careful and not burn yourself.

You can find this at-home steam machine on Amazon for $49.95.

And there you have it, here’s to the end of our newfound maskne!


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Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed

Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, cheap skincare products that are even better than luxury brands, products for an even skin tone or to deal with acne scars, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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