Mask-ne Update

When last we wrote in this blog about mask-ne, it was a relatively new phenomenon as a skin problem.  Since then, and as mask wearing has increased as it should to slow down the spread of COVID-19, we are seeing more and more people with skin outbreaks in the lower face area, even in folks who have never had skin issues in the past.

As usual, Maine Laser Skin Care was ahead of the trends.  The bad news is that "mask-ne" is real; the good news is that it is both preventable and treatable with the right measures.

Wearing a mask can cause local irritation on the sensitive facial skin when the mask materials meet or rub up against the skin.  However, face covering itself, regardless of the mask material, increases humidity locally, which results in trapping of sweat, oil, and bacteria on the skin.

When these three elements build up excessively under the skin, it causes (you guessed it) acne to form on the skin's surface.  The following tips will help to prevent and reduce mask-ne:

1.)  Keep Your Face Clean.

Since pores can plug up under your mask due to excessive sweat and oil, it is important to keep your face clean by washing your face regularly.  We recommend a salicyclic acid based cleanser, which will help dissolve oil and dead skin cells that plug pores and cause breakouts.

2.)  Skip the Makeup.

You are going to be wearing a mask most of the time anyway, so save your money and your skin by skipping your daily makeup routine.  Wearing makeup that will get trapped up against the skin by your mask is a recipe for skin breakouts.

3.)  Wear a Cotton Mask.

Cotton is a softer and less irritating fabric for prolonged contact with the skin, and is also breathable in terms of allowing less humidity to build up.  N95 masks, which are needed in high-risk medical settings, are made of synthetic plastics, and can be very irritating with prolonged use.

4.)  Wash or Replace Your Mask Daily.

Many of the cotton masks currently available are machine washable and should be washed after each daily use with gentle fragrance-free detergent.  If you have disposable masks, definitely replace them on a daily basis.

Imagine that you are washing away or disposing of any germs, oils, or debris that accumulate in the fabric of the mask each time you do so.  In essence, that is actually what you are doing.

5.)  After Taking Off Your Mask For the Day and Washing Your Face, Don't Forget to Moisturize.

After you remove the accumulated oils and pore-plugging dead skin cells simply by washing your face, applying an oil-free moisturizer will restore hydrational balance to your skin.  Moisturizing will also prevent your oil glands from overcompensating by producing extra oil due to lack of hydration after washing.

6.)  If, Despite Your Best Efforts, Breakouts Occur, Treat Them With Care. Don't Pick At or Pop Your Pimples.

Like your teenage years, breakouts will still occur, especially with frequent mask use.  Also like your teenage years, you should never give in to temptation and pop or pick at any pimples that form

Popping pimples will eventually leaves behind scars, and is truly a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  We offer several very good spot treatments on our website to address these areas and dry them up if used early on.


Mask wearing will be with us for a considerable period of time whether we like it or not.  Wearing your mask is minor inconvenience compared to the ravages of COVID-19, and is a social responsibility to protect the lives of yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Hopefully, these tips will help you with this downside of mask wearing.  We at Maine Laser Skin Care salute you, and we will continue support you and your skin through these unprecedented times.