HOW TO treat & prevent

acne from surgical face masks


Since the Covid-19 pandemic millions of people suffer from a new thing called ‘maskne’. This is acne caused by surgical face masks. A lot of people don’t know how to treat and/or prevent maskne. A lot of people are also not aware of the fact that they can get acne from wearing surgical face masks. 


The word maskne almost speaks for itself, basically acne caused by wearing surgical face masks. The scientific word for this is acne mechanica. Now you might be reading this and think to yourself that this might not be relevant to you since you have no maskne or any type of blemishes but unfortunately, maskne can start developing even after a couple of months wearing surgical face masks. In this blog you will find what maskne now actually is, how it forms and how to stop and prevent it.  



Maskne occurs when sweat, oil and bacteria get trapped on your skin underneath the mask. It creates the perfect breeding ground for an infection which also is called a breakout. This type of acne is known as acne mechanica and is different from acne or blemishes caused by hormones or hereditary issues like cystic acne. Acne mechanica forms mainly because of fabric rubbing against the skin which irritates hair follicles. When wearing the mask, little parts of liquid originating from the mouth get in- and onto the mask. These little parts are called aerosols. The oils and sweat both originating from the skin combined with the aerosols and its subject-matter cause for your skin to go through an unpleasant time and form more bacteria.  


CONCLUSION: When the hair follicles are irritated it is easier for bacteria to get into the skin and infect it. This process can be compared to general regular acne or just impurity related infections.  



Maskne mainly shows and forms around and in the area the mask covers. So, around the mouth, cheeks, chin, jaw and nose. Tricky;when treated incorrectly this can spread to more areas and expand. Little infections are formed in and on the skin which in general is known by the name cystic acne; red skin, bumps and sometimes itchy or painful spots but, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Every skin differs, so do routines and skincare products. A different and less common form are black- and whiteheads. This doesn’t necessarily have to be painful or itchy but after a while this can also turn into cystic acne. Not fun indeed.  



A crucial question if you ask us. At the beginning of the pandemic, not a lot of people had any side effects from the mask. After a couple of weeks of quarantining and acclimating to the mask the number of people suffering for acne around the mouth area increased. Since the first time the word maskne was mentioned, scientists and dermatologists have done studies about it. While the studies were still undergoing, social media already concluded that it was a thing and caused by the surgical face mask. After a short period of time, multiple dermatologists have written and spoken about the new term and have indeed concluded that it was due to the masks. Luckily, they have not left us in the dark after the conclusion and also have given out some tips. Some of these tips are already known considering general acne and other tips are related to actually wearing the mask. 



Acne in general is not easy to handle. Unfortunately, maskne isn’t either. However, the good news is that it is possible. The bad news? It takes time, effort and patience.  


1. Wash or switch out your pillowcase ever day

Switching out your pillowcase daily might seem a little extreme, but this is very important when treating maskne or just acne. Moreover, if you have sensitive skin and are particularly prone to breakouts, you should also be conscious of the type of detergent you use. We advise a cotton pillowcase. 


2. Your surgical face masks

Wear a soft, natural and breathable fabric such as cotton. A through-away surgical mask is best. We do not advise you, like at all to wear a synthetic fabric such as nylon or polyester. These can irritate and also will stimulate sweat which underneath a mask, can’t be released. Bacteria loves this. Also, buy a few masks, switch them out every hour (yes, this may sound extreme) and wash them before re-using. 


3. Take a 2- minute mask break every hour

Give your face some air to breath and a quick wash with some cold water. Pat dry with anything soft. If this is not possible, you can use (toilet) paper. 


4. Skip make-up

Yes, we feel you, but this will make a huge difference. Your skin needs to breathe. If you can’t go without make-up, don’t use it on the area where your mask is.  


5. Cleanse and moisturize your face daily

Gentle pH-balanced skincare can prevent skin problems. With harsh products, you can run the risk that the pH of your face gets out of balance. This can only worsen acne and pain. Healing at this point can be a lot harder for the skin.  


6. Use a nourishing moisturizer

You might be thinking, did this blog just not tell me that a moisturizer causes acne? Yes, but a surgical mask moves and rubs continuously on your skin and damages your skin like sandpaper. If you use a nourishing moisturizer, it protects the skin barrier. 



If you are lucky enough and do not suffer from maskne, just be aware that maskne does not announce itself beforehand or picks out a random person. The four factors mentioned in this blog play and essential part regarding maskne. Be easy on yourself, have patience and use all-natural pH-balanced skincare for the skin. This will minimalize the chance of developing maskne. 



We have made a fine selection of products and treat maskne: 

The ORIGINAL Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask – Use it as a sport repair daily or as a healing and deep cleansing mud mask once a week. 

The Aftermask Vitamin Serum – Use this as a daily lightweight moisturizer under your face mask and of course, as an after mask.  

The Leave-Me-On Winter Mask – Recommended and used by thousands or nurses and doctors worldwide.