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Maskne Solutions


What should I be doing to help clear my Maskne?


You’re not alone! Our team has been struggling with mask acne too, particularly around our nose, chin, and mouth. Maskne is a term used to describe an acne breakout (acne mechanica) as a result of excessive friction from wearing a mask. A face covering combined with warm weather and humidity can worsen underlying skin conditions or bring about new issues. We have examined the recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology in response to COVID-19, and have fused their suggestions with advice from our pharmacists and beauty experts. We’d be happy to recommend what has been working for us.

1. Wear a breathable mask and wash frequently.

Breathing into your mask may result in buildup of oil, sweat, and dirt—especially during the summer months. If your mask is reusable, we suggest to wash it after every use. Make sure that the material your mask is made of is breathable and not too heavy on the skin. Dermatologists recommend a 100% cotton mask to allow your skin to breathe.

2. Use a gentle cleanser to remove bacteria and not dry the skin.
Go back to basics by simplifying your skincare routine. Every morning and night, start with a gentle cleanser. C.O. Bigelow Oily Skin Foaming Facial Wash ($25) is our most popular cleanser for normal to oily skin with citrus extracts and ginger root.

A favorite among our customers is ODE Olive Water Face and Eye Cleanser ($36). Created with 100% natural with organically grown ingredients from the McEvoy Ranch in California, this 3-in-1 botanical formula cleanses, removes makeup, and tones the skin. Key ingredients include Olive Leaf Extract and Oils, Pink Grapefruit Peel, Geranium Flower, Geranium Leaf Oil, and refreshing Peppermint.

If you have dry, sensitive, or combination skin, try Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser ($35), which draws out impurities while also keeping skin hydrated. A more affordable option for all skin types is the Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel (3.3 fl oz, $12). Avene’s hydrating soap-free formula is great to use on the face and the body! It is also available in a large size with a pump for a great value (13.5 fl oz, $30).

3. Follow with a targeted acne treatment.

Since cleansers aren’t on our skin for more than 20-30 seconds at a time, a medicated cleanser isn’t going to help as much as a targeted acne treatment. Our favorite solution includes Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel ($88). This two-step peeling formula contains 30 treatments of Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids, which help exfoliate away dead skin cells by speeding up the natural shedding process. These peeling pads help improve skin texture, unclog pores, and fights acne-causing bacteria at the core.

Typically oils aren’t thought to help unclog pores but Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil ($40-$80) has purifying properties. It contains 1.5% salicylic acid, which is a medicated dry oil known to help clear congested pores for smoother, blemish-free skin. We would apply a tiny drop per affected area (i.e. the chin and the nose) and continue using your regular skincare, such as hyaluronic acid acid and vitamin C treatments on other areas of your face.

Need an overnight solution? Help shrink spots and tone down redness while you sleep with Malin + Goetz Nighttime Acne Treatment ($22). It contains salicylic acid with 10% active sulfur to dry and medicate acne pimples. In addition, organic camphor helps fight impurities and zinc oxide helps prevent scarring. Just dab a cotton cotton swab into the solution, without shaking it to keep the consistency, and gently cover every pimple.

Please keep in mind, some acids and retinoids found in acne treatments may exacerbate some skin conditions, so please feel free to consult a dermatologist when selecting a treatment that is right for you. Every skin type has different needs and requires solutions best suited to your skin. Typically, we wouldn’t recommend using treatments with benzoyl peroxide (a medicated ingredient used to treat acne), unless it is for a teenager because it can be extremely drying. But if you are looking for a benzoyl peroxide, retinol (i.e. Differin), or glycolic acid treatment (for hyperpigmentation as a result of the acne), over-the-counter options are available at our pharmacy.

4. Moisturize before you wear your mask.

Before you put on your mask, use a moisturizer that is good for all skin types, including sensitive skin. A moisturizer can ease friction between the surface of your skin and the mask, resulting in less irritation. An apothecary favorite is our C.O. Bigelow Extra Light Face Lotion ($28) with soothing chamomile extract and oil-regulating parsley extract. We would also recommend Avene Cleanance MAT Mattifying Emulsion ($25), a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer for oily and blemish-prone skin. It helps absorbs oil, calms redness and irritation, and provides long-lasting mattification. Furthermore, if you you’re looking for sun protection above your mask, Purlisse Blue Lotus Essential Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($45) is a great option. It contains white tea, soy, proteins, algea extracts, vitamin E, and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits.

5. Refresh the face throughout the day.
If you need to wear your mask for long periods of time, refresh the skin throughout the day with a Micellar Water wipe to gently lift away impurities. We love Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes ($10), specially formulated sensitive skin with allantoin and a cucumber extract to prevent the feeling of irritation.

Because 0ver-washing your face can trick your skin into producing more oil (which may lead to more acne), cleanse only after wearing your mask for extended periods of time.

6. Refrain from wearing makeup.

Last but not least, allow your skin to breathe. If you can’t breakup with your makeup, it may be a good time to practice your cat eye or eyeshadow blending techniques. If you prefer to wear a full face of makeup for a Zoom call, try to remove it immediately after your call with a gentle cleanser. Your skin will thank you!

If you have any other questions or would like a personalized skincare recommendation, please feel free to reach out to our beauty experts by emailing us at or calling us at 212-933-2700 x113 (during business hours). We look forward to hearing from you!

Maskne Solutions
Article Name
Maskne Solutions
Acne as a result of excessive mask-wearing has been a common issue for all of us! Find out what our pharmacists and beauty experts recommend to help clear your skin.
Publisher Name
C.O. Bigelow
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  • C.O. Bigelow Oily Skin Foaming Facial Wash

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  • ODE Olive Water Face and Eye Cleanser

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  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser

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  • Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel

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  • Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel - 30 Treatments

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  • Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil

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  • Malin + Goetz Nighttime Acne Treatment

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  • C.O. Bigelow Extra Light Face Lotion

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  • Avene Cleanance MAT Mattifying Emulsion

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  • Purlisse Blue Lotus Essential Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

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  • Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes (25 wipes)

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