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HOW TO PREVENT MASCNE (MASK-ACNE)


June 4, 2020
Jennifer Stieber, NP
woman wearing mask who got acne

Have you been noticing more breakouts since the arrival of coronavirus 2020? It’s entirely possible your new acne may be caused by increased mask usage. We like to refer to this particular type of acne as “mascne” (Mask-acne.) Folks who work in healthcare are very familiar with mascne but for those of us who aren’t accustomed to wearing a mask, this acne is likely an unwanted surprise.

What causes mascne?

Mascne is brought on by a combination of friction, dirt collection, and increased moisture retention. All of these factors contribute to debris and oil on the skin, which is basically heaven for Propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria that cause comedones or pimples.

How do you fix mascne?

So how do you address mascne? Luckily mascne is very treatable and can be improved in as little as a few days by using these helpful hints:

  1. Wash daily… Wash your mask, that is. If you have a cloth mask wash it every day or buy several so you can change them out daily. Our bodies shed thousands of dead skin cells everyday, so your mask will accumulate more than enough pore-clogging debris after one day of use. Of course, cleansing your face at least once a day is still essential for acne-free skin. You can cleanse even more frequently by investing in some facial cleansing cloths.
Colorescience hydrating cleansing cloths ($19) are perfect for removing oil and build-up on the go.

2. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. You’re going to need to exfoliate about twice as often as you were before prior to wearing a mask. Frequent exfoliation allows the corneocytes (the dead cells that form the outermost layer of the skin) to shed more rapidly, giving them less of a chance to clog pores. Individuals with extremely oily skin may have to exfoliate as often as everyday. Pro tip: Opt for gentle chemical exfoliants such as glycolic or lactic acid that do the work for you. Avoid using physical scrubs that damage the skin barrier; these can actually exacerbate acne. We like Biologique Recherche Lotion P50.

biologique recherche P50
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 toning lotion, available for $30 from Shoprescuespa.com

3. Use salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is your new best friend during this time. This is one of the most time tested anti-acne ingredients. Not only will it help shed that top layer of dead skin, but it’s also highly anti-inflammatory. You can find salicylic acid in various cleansers or toners. At our clinic, we recommend a triple therapy salicylic acid treatment kit ($68) for our acne patients.

Reveskin’s Acne Purifying Treatment Kit penetrates deeper into the skin than over-the-counter salicylic acid formulations. Available for purchase online for $68.

4. Lather with benzoyl peroxide cleanser daily. Benzoyl peroxide is lethal to acne bacteria. A 60 second lather with this daily will help keep the acne population on your skin under control.

salicylic acid for mask acne
2% Salicylic acid toner, available for $29.50 at Paula’s Choice.

5. Get an anti-acne treatment. Radiofrequency microneedling Vivace treatments decrease sebum production for an extended period of time which will provide acne relief for up to 8 weeks. Skintox (microdroplets of Botox placed in the epidermis) also halts oil production for 2-3 months. Microneedling is yet another great way to put a damper on ongoing acne and will speed reduction of pre-existing acne scars and associated discoloration.

young woman receiving vivace radiofrequency microneedling on the face
Vivace, a cutting edge radiofrequency microneedling device that diminishes acne production.

With these tips under your belt you should be able to recover your glowing skin in no time, yet still continue to stay safe while wearing your mask for hours per day! To book a consult for acne at SLK, please request an appointment here.


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