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Maskne is the name of a specific form of acne resulting from wearing masks. "Acne mechanica" encompasses all forms of acne that result from rubbing, touching or pressure applied to the skin from anything touching the skin including fingers, forehead bands, wiping away sweat, bangs and of course, masks. For many people, both without a history of acne and established acne patients, maskne is a direct result of wearing masks. When combined with sweat or any source of moisture, like the moisture from your breath, for example, maskne can develop faster and more severely. While some acne sufferers can control maskne with their regular acne skincare routine, many people are now struggling to manage these new mask-induced breakouts.

According to Dr. Schultz, maskne is "caused by the constant friction/rubbing that is happening between your skin and the mask. Your mask, for many hours a day, is rubbing against your face and trapping and embedding oil, dirt,dead cells and makeup." Since most people wear masks for several hours a day while they are at work or in public, their skin is now subjected to a moist environment from their trapped breath in addition to the irritation of friction or rubbing. Together, these factors drive the development of maskne. In general, acne is caused by a combination of three factors: excess oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria. However, another factor that causes acne is anything that touches your face. Even though we aren't touching our faces while wearing a mask, the mask itself is continuously rubbing against your skin while trapping in moisture. Dr. Schultz further explains that patients can better understand what's causing their maskne by closely examining their mask after wearing it for 10 or 20 minutes. "See some makeup on the inside of your mask? See hues of tan or gray, just like the discoloration on your toner/astringent pad you use after you wash your face?" he says. "That's oil and dirt that you just removed from your skin. Can you imagine taking that soiled pad and then rubbing all the gunk back onto your skin? Well, that's what your mask is doing. That's really adding fuel to the fire that's causing breakouts."

While some irritation from wearing a mask may be difficult to avoid, there are several ways to prevent and control maskne. Depending on your specific situation and skin type, you may benefit from the following to help prevent maskne from developing:

  • Achieve Proper Oil and Water Balance
  • Oral Medications
  • Exfoliation
  • Cleansing and Toning the skin
  • Using Less makeup
  • Frequently Cleaning or changing the Mask
  • Avoid touching the skin as much as possible
  • Reduce stress

If you are struggling with maskne, make sure you are working with an expert to help restore your skin and manage breakouts. Scheduling an appointment with Dr. Schultz in his Upper East Side office to treat maskne will give you the best opportunity to give your skin the care it needs to eliminate maskne. Some of the most effective ways to treat maskne include cleansing, toning, exfoliating, moisturizing, and spot-treating as needed. A combination of at-home treatments and in-office services may be needed to repair your skin from the effects of maskne.

At Park Avenue Skin Care in the Upper East Side, Dr. Schultz and the team are dedicated to helping our patients through expert care and top-of-the-line services. Getting control over maskne to get back the skin you want will take careful consideration and treatment. Dr. Schultz will take the time to examine your skin, determine which treatments would be best for you and personalize your advice to eliminate your maskne promptly. Want to learn more about maskne? Read Dr. Schultz's guide.

As with more well-known types of acne, treatment will vary from person to person. Depending on the severity of your maskne, your skin type, and even your profession, Dr. Schultz will recommend the best treatment for you. When you come into your appointment, you'll discuss with our team what's going on and we'll devise a customized plan based on your needs that may involve topical treatments, oral treatments, or a combination of both.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do I Avoid Maskne If I Need to Wear a Mask for Work Every Day?

    People whose professions require that they wear masks for an extended time Read More

  • Why Does My Mask Cause Breakouts?

    Maskne is a type of acne known as acne mechanica, which is Read More

  • Can I Prevent Maskne at Home?

    Yes, some at-home treatments can help you prevent maskne. Depending on your Read More

  • How Come I Have Maskne When I Don't Have Other Acne?

    Even if you haven't experienced acne before, a mask could cause breakouts Read More

Rejuvenate Your Skin

Make your skin care a priority with leading-dermatologist and New York Magazine’s “Top Doctor”: Dr. Neal Schultz.