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Maskne: how to prevent and treat it

Maskne: how to prevent and treat it

Maskne doesn’t always equal acne, but since everyone around the world has now started wearing masks, skin everywhere has been showing different signs of discomfort, or even distress.
17 Sep 2021

Does wearing masks cause acne?

Maskne doesn’t always equal acne, but since everyone around the world has now started wearing masks, skin everywhere has been showing different signs of discomfort, or even distress. Unaccustomed to being covered, the skin on your face is apt to react!

For example, people with combination, oily or acne-prone skin can confirm that their pimples and blackheads multiply and that their acne flare-ups accelerate or worsen after long hours under a mask.

As for dry, sensitive and atopic skin, or even skin that isn’t prone to problems, the situation can also become dire in different ways. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, here are some simple yet effective solutions for preventing damage from maskne and other skin afflictions caused by mask-wearing.

Is maskne really acne?

Before concluding that masks are giving you acne—as this isn’t always the case—, take the time to observe how they have been affecting the areas of your face that they cover. It could be that the masks are exacerbating pre-existent acne or hastening a new flare-up, especially if you have combination or oily skin.

That said, don’t worry if your skin has been sending non-acne warning signs, as prolonged mask-wearing can cause or aggravate rosacea, contact or allergic dermatitis on hypersensitive, reactive or allergic skin, and even eczema on atopic skin. In short, before deciding you’re dealing with acne, keep a close eye on your skin.

How to PREVENT maskne

We can’t say it enough: to prevent maskne, it is paramount that you adopt a skincare routine and dermocosmetic products that are best suited to the needs of your already weakened skin.

In the morning and evening, it is vital to delicately cleanse your face, ideally with gentle formulas; otherwise, you risk clogging your pores and restarting sebum production, which is already stimulated by mask-wearing. Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed your skin, make sure you tone, moisturize and treat it. Scrubs and exfoliants should be avoided, as should overly vigorous rubbing and drying. A good routine and proper action are key for preventing inflammation and, consequently, breakouts; they could even help fight severe acne flare-ups, which can cause unsightly scars.

Here are a few complementary pieces of advice that you can immediately start following to prevent maskne side effects:

  1. Let your skin breathe as much as possible during the day.
  2. Avoid wearing foundation under your mask. Instead, kill two birds with one stone with a tinted sunscreen.
  3. Refresh your face with a spritz of thermal water throughout the day; thoroughly dry your skin before putting your mask back on or applying your moisturizer, treatment or concealer.
  4. Avoid touching your face. If you have to do so, wash your hands beforehand.
  5. Do not touch, scratch or, above all, pop your pimples.
  6. Change your mask every four hours or whenever it gets humid to avoid skin irritation.
  7. Protect your skin by using paper or 100% cotton procedural (or surgical) masks; they are softer and more breathable.
  8. Make sure that you adjust your mask correctly and, most importantly, that it’s not too tight so as to avoid unpleasant, repeated rubbing.
  9. Wash your mask daily using a detergent for babies or one that’s gentle on skin, then rinse thoroughly.
  10. At all times and all year round, make sure you protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50.

How to TREAT maskne

Despite your best efforts, maskne has reared its ugly head, and you’re struggling to keep it under control. As with all forms of acne, the first step for treating maskne is to cleanse your skin in the morning and evening and to hydrate it thoroughly.

Here are proven methods for gently treating maskne.


I’m unable to deeply cleanse my skin, which is shiny and covered in pimples.


Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel for Oily and Sensitive Skin
Proven on sensitive skin, this very refreshing gel formula instantly dislodges impurities while rebalancing sebum production.

In the morning and evening, emulsify the foaming gel in your hand with a bit of water and apply it by gently by massaging it into your skin. Rinse thoroughly.


I want to unclog my obstructed pores without irritating my skin.


Effaclar Micro-Peeling Purifying Gel for Acne-Prone Skin
With its foaming salicylic acid and LHA formula, this soap-free cleansing gel exfoliates skin without friction and unclogs pores to increase smoothness.

In the morning and evening, lather the gel on damp skin and thoroughly rinse with cool water.


I want to tighten my dilated pores and get rid of my blackheads.


Effaclar Astringent Lotion Micro-Exfoliant Anti-Blackheads
This toning, micro-exfoliating lotion regulates sebum production, combats clogged pores and visibly tightens them with a single use.

In the morning and evening, after cleansing, soak a cotton pad in the micro-exfoliating lotion, then spread it gently on your face without rinsing.


I want a care product that both treats my acne and reduces my imperfections.


Effaclar Duo (+) Global Acne Treatment
More than just a moisturizing lotion, this global mattifying treatment helps restore healthy skin within four weeks and prevents acne from recurring.

One to three times a day, apply a thin layer on your entire face.

This article contains general information and is in no way a substitute for advice from a health professional, who will be able to recommend treatments and products suitable for your needs.

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