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MASKne: The Unexpected Byproduct of a Pandemic

If there’s one byproduct of this pandemic that I did not see coming, it is the resurgence of adult acne- or as I like to call it- MASKne. I completely get that masks are necessary for all, but living with acne is so not. If you’re like me and are fighting a vicious cycle between wearing a mask, battling chin breakouts, giving yourself a few new scars (it’s so satisfying to pick it, ok!) only to wear a mask and have it happen again every other day, do yourself a favor and read further.

MASKne from wearing your mask

You may think I’m crazy, but I saw MASKne as an opportunity to practice the self-care that I have been cheating myself out of during this crazy time. Juggling work, toddler, and family life with minimal help has been hard to say the least, but it’s also helped me realize that when I did have time pre-COVID, I wasn’t using it to take care of one of the most important parts of the recipe to my family’s success: ME! As small as treating MASKne may seem, there’s something to be said about taking a few minutes for yourself at some point in the day to make yourself feel and look better.

When I first started breaking out, I thought to myself “Dear lord, am I 15 again? Must be the stress.” and carried on. But it kept getting worse and kept coming back. Only about a month later did I realize it was because of wearing a mask daily. It had gotten to the point where my skin was so dry from treating it and washing it, that the entire bottom half of my face was peeling. At this point, I realized I needed some long-term solutions, since masks are not going away any time soon.

My friend, Madison Dennis, has been in the cosmetic business for years, and took a few minutes out of her busy day (not only is she a boss entrepreneur, she is also a mama to twins!) to help me answer some questions that may help us as we navigate the world of MASKne:

 Why does my skin break out now that I wear a mask?

The same reason your skin breaks out when you touch it more: masks trap dirt, oil, & bacteria on the skin and that causes your pores to get clogged. When pores are clogged, pustules can form (zits!).

What can I do to treat it as well as minimize it?

Wear a clean mask every day. I recommend having 1 mask for every day of the week, and be sure to keep up with your laundry. Launder in a free & clear laundry detergent such as ALL or Tide.

Makeup under mask - yay or nay?

Big no-no. What is the purpose? Makeup is for cosmetic enhancement - when you wear a mask, others cannot see that area of your face. Makeup is dirt essentially, and acne can be dramatically increased by wearing makeup underneath your mask.

Do you have any product recommendations?

Yes - I recommend SkinScript Rx Raspberry Refining CleanserClarifying Toner Pads, and MHD Cosmetics Oil-Free Moisturizer with Ginseng & Grape Seed Extract.

Do you have any advice for those of us who like to pick our face? (face palm)

Don't do it (LOL). If you must, here are some steps to extract blemishes safely:

  • Cleanse twice with an acid wash
  • Hold a hot washcloth over your face to steam for a couple of minutes (or set a handheld steamer on your counter and do it that way!
  • Take a sterile needle and lightly prick the white part of the pustule
  • Take 2 cotton buds and gently squeeze the puss out of the blemish. Don't overdo this!
  • Apply a blemish spot treatment such as this one from SkinScript Rx and leave it alone until the next day.
  • Repeat the next day if more puss forms.

After hearing the above, a big mistake I have made is I am still wearing makeup under my mask. Since I am an essential worker, I have not been able to work from home, so makeup is still a daily step for me. Looks like I may be saving some time during my morning routine and skipping this altogether; and maybe this is the answer to minimize my breakouts. If you’re suffering from MASKne like me and are way overdue for some pampering, maybe it’s is a sign to take a deep breath, steam up your bathroom, and have a relaxing skin cleansing party (don’t forget your wine!).


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