“Maskne”: All You Need To Know About Mask Acne, And How To Combat It

Get rid of pesky mask acne once and for all
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Image: Instagram/@marineserre_official

The pandemic has upended our lives in more ways than one -- one of which is our typical beauty routines. 

Face masks are an essential item not to be missed when we step out of the house, but one of the more unpleasant side effects  are ‘Maskne’, or simply put, Mask acne. Blemishes, pimples or zits may have started forming around the area where you typically put on your mask, after a few hours or even a full day of wearing them. So what’s exactly going on here? We got the advice from Dr Michelle Wong from homegrown skincare brand IDS Clinic, for the lowdown on this type of breakout and how to combat it.

What is Maskne?

Prolonged wear of a cloth or surgical face mask leads to Acne Mechanica, aka ‘Maskne’. Unlike other forms of acne, which are typically formed through other aggravators such as hormones or stress, it specifically refers to skin irritation that is formed by excess pressure, heat, and rubbing against the skin. Your skin can get irritated easily and inflated from moisture trapped under the face mask, along with frequent abrasion of cloth on the skin. This, combined with Singapore’s humid and warm temperatures further promotes the growth of P. acnes bacteria, leading to pesky acne on your cheeks, chin and jawline. 

How can we prevent maskne?

Avoid strong make-up bases and foundations

This can potentially further clog your pores. Place more emphasis on areas such as your eyes instead!


Switch out your surgical masks out for cloth or silk ones 

These materials are less occlusive and abrasive on your skin. Check out some local, stylish mask recommendations here.


Don’t forget your sunscreen

Exposure to sunlight and harmful UV rays can further exacerbate your skincare problems, so it's always crucial to remember to apply sunscreen before you step out of the house and before you put your mask on!


Regular exfoliation 

Exfoliating your skin twice a week helps to prevent the build-up of dead skin cells and prevents the formation of acne. Plus, it helps to remove the dull outer area of your skin to better penetrate skincare products. Try a clay mask such as Circumference’s Green Clay Detox Face Mask, which contains key ingredient green clay to uplift and purify your complexion with each use.


Adding retinoids in your routine 

The vitamin A derivative helps to stimulate cell turnover and promotes an exfoliative effect that reduces clogged pores and acne. Try the IDS Skincare’s A Plus as a line of defence against blemishes and acne scars, and more on this ingredient, along with recommendations, here.

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Sigi Skin Dew Potion. Image: Courtesy

Soothe and condition stressed skin

Look out for products with soothing and moisturising ingredients such as Sigi Skin Dew Potion, which is a waterless formula with 10% natural extracts that works as a barrier in protecting your skin against irritants, or an oil-free moisturiser like the IDS Skincare Oil-Free Moisturizer or the Kylaz Moisturizing Blemish Defence to hydrate and reduce skin irritation from prolonged hours of wearing a mask. Check out other stressed out skincare recommendations here.

How to treat maskne

Just as with regular acne, treat them with topical salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, such as IDS Skincare’s Spot Control, or La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar A.I for effective spot treatments.

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