Masks and Acne: How to Keep a Clear Complexion During COVID 

It’s no secret that the coronavirus has completely flipped our collective lives upside down. It has changed everything about how we interact with the world. Social distancing, mask wearing, near-obsessive handwashing, avoiding going anywhere that is not an absolute necessity – all bits of our new norm required to keep us safe. There are also smaller issues we face on the daily now, too, including what has been not-so-affectionally dubbed “maskne.” Although most assuredly a less serious, less significant problem than COVID-19, it can still cause us unnecessary irritation. Want to learn how to fix it? Read on to find out. 

What Causes “Maskne?”

So, what exactly is “maskne?” Well, its kind of what it says on the tin. “Maskne” is acne flareups attributed to the masks we now wear when out and about. Part of it is due to the friction between the mask and your face. As you talk, move, or adjust your mask, it rubs across your skin causing irritation and potential breakout. This uncomfortable skin problem is only made worse by the fact our masks trap moisture and create the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to live and grow. Of course, the stress of a worldwide pandemic definitely doesn’t help matters. The end result of all these facets is inevitably more frequent, more painful, and more persistent breakouts. 

Preventative Tips and Tricks 

Acne is never a fun issue to deal with, but there are ways to help tame the beast even when caused by consistent mask-wearing. Here are some tips and tricks you can implement today to help heal your skin tomorrow: 

  • Wash your mask frequently – While you might be able to whip off your shoes or even a shirt and wear them the next day no problem, masks aren’t the same way. They harbor loads of bacteria and are contaminated every day from sweat, moisturizer, makeup, etcetera. No wonder acne starts popping up. Keep this from happening by washing your mask after every single wear. 
  • Use gentle skincare products – Many are discounting the toll this pandemic is having on us emotionally. Make no mistake – it’s rough. And that stress can alter our skin physiology and make it more easily irritated. Only use gentle products, such as the Soakly, Facial Soaking Cloth to pre-soak your skin prior to exfoliation. Try to avoid any new skincare products for the time being. 
  • Stay in more often – The more you wear your mask, the greater the likelihood of “maskne.” The obvious solution is to wear it less often, but that’s not possible right now for the safety of yourself and others. What you can do, though, is go out less so you need it less. After all, no need to wear a mask at home. Try to order in when possible, use grocery pickup, get delivery, etc. Bonus: your chance of being infected from COVID-19 will also decrease. It’s as much of a win-win as you can get right now. 
  • Find ways to de-stress – It’s undeniable that the stress of the outbreak is adding to people’s acne woes. Finding ways to rest and relax can help. Whether it’s doing yoga, journaling, picking up an instrument, or knitting, just find something to enjoy. 
  • Ditch the foundation – Foundation can clog pores and heavier formulas can trap bacteria under your mask. The answer: just don’t wear any. Nobody’s going to see it anyways. While you’re at it, also ditch using any heavy makeup, anti-aging products, and petroleum jelly. Your skin will thank you.