Maskne Is Real — Here’s How To Deal

·5 min read

If the existential stress of a global pandemic and the current political climate and finding the perfect gifts for the most un-perfect year ever (that last one we can actually help with) is taking an immense toll on your mental health, 2020 has probably also done a number on your skin. Namely, the bits that are hiding under your mask. Face mask acne, aka maskne, is a cute moniker for a less-cute trend of breakouts cropping up as a result of regular mask-wearing.

"Maskne is a combination of friction, sweat, and heat, called acne mechanical," explains NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD. "When you’re hot, your body naturally cools down by releasing sweat through our pores — but if your pores are blocked by a layer of fabric, now you have sweat and bacteria trapped in a pore with nowhere to go." Cue breakouts. "Over time, this buildup of sweat and bacteria will lead to pimples." Ahead, we consulted the pros for a complete routine to help you deal.

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<h3>Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser <br></h3><br>The first step in ensuring clear skin? Getting <em>clean</em> skin. "I like Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser because it is safe for even the most sensitive skin," says Engelman. Plus, the mild formula won't over-strip the skin and irritate existing breakouts — which is key in maintaining a balanced, happy complexion.<br><br><strong>Cetaphil</strong> Gentle Skin Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fgentle-skin-cleanser%3FproductId%3D6096" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link ">Ulta Beauty</a>

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser


The first step in ensuring clear skin? Getting clean skin. "I like Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser because it is safe for even the most sensitive skin," says Engelman. Plus, the mild formula won't over-strip the skin and irritate existing breakouts — which is key in maintaining a balanced, happy complexion.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>REN Clean Skincare ClearCalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser</h3><br>If you're craving something more intense — or want to deep-clean after removing makeup — this kaolin clay-based cleanser (which also has willow bark extract, aka nature's salicylic acid) is the move. <br><br><strong>REN Clean Skincare</strong> ClearCalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fusa.renskincare.com%2Fcollections%2Fclearcalm-3%2Fproducts%2Fclearcalm-clarifying-clay-cleanser" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:REN Clean Skincare" class="link ">REN Clean Skincare</a>

REN Clean Skincare ClearCalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser


If you're craving something more intense — or want to deep-clean after removing makeup — this kaolin clay-based cleanser (which also has willow bark extract, aka nature's salicylic acid) is the move.

REN Clean Skincare ClearCalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser, $, available at REN Clean Skincare
<h3>Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser</h3><br>"A great drugstore find is this Neutrogena cleanser, which helps boost the delivery of salicylic acid to help reduce the appearance of acne," attending dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital (and founder of <a href="http://sobelskin.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sobel Skin" class="link ">Sobel Skin</a>) Dr. Howard Sobel, MD tells Refinery29. "It also contains aloe and chamomile help to calm irritation while visibly reducing facial redness."<br><br><br><strong>Neutrogena</strong> Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/2HQpyiw" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link ">Amazon</a>

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser


"A great drugstore find is this Neutrogena cleanser, which helps boost the delivery of salicylic acid to help reduce the appearance of acne," attending dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital (and founder of Sobel Skin) Dr. Howard Sobel, MD tells Refinery29. "It also contains aloe and chamomile help to calm irritation while visibly reducing facial redness."


Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser, $, available at Amazon
<h3>m-61 PowerGlow Toner<br></h3><br>"Exfoliating will help to decongest pores — look for a gentle chemical exfoliant which breaks down sebum before it clogs a pore," Engelman explains. "I like salicylic acid because it has keratin-dissolving properties that can breakdown dead skin cell buildup and decongest pores."<br><br><strong>m-61</strong> PowerGlow Toner, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F2TyirhB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bluemercury" class="link ">Bluemercury</a>

m-61 PowerGlow Toner


"Exfoliating will help to decongest pores — look for a gentle chemical exfoliant which breaks down sebum before it clogs a pore," Engelman explains. "I like salicylic acid because it has keratin-dissolving properties that can breakdown dead skin cell buildup and decongest pores."

m-61 PowerGlow Toner, $, available at Bluemercury
<h3>The Birchbox + Hero Cosmetics Maskne Kit</h3><br>Show maskne who's boss with this Birchbox-exclusive set with three kinds of pimple patches, plus a full-size tube of Hero Cosmetics' Rescue Balm to soothe and heal zits.<br><br><strong>Hero Cosmetics</strong> The Birchbox + Hero Cosmetics Maskne Kit, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F2JjMyHG" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Birchbox" class="link ">Birchbox</a>

The Birchbox + Hero Cosmetics Maskne Kit


Show maskne who's boss with this Birchbox-exclusive set with three kinds of pimple patches, plus a full-size tube of Hero Cosmetics' Rescue Balm to soothe and heal zits.

Hero Cosmetics The Birchbox + Hero Cosmetics Maskne Kit, $, available at Birchbox
<strong><h3>Sobel Skin Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum</h3></strong><br>"This serum contains niacinamide to help revitalize, firm, smooth and minimize large pores, and allantoin extract to calm and soothe skin," says Sobel.<br><br><strong>SOBEL SKIN Rx</strong> 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F2TCbmws" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link ">Sephora</a>

Sobel Skin Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum


"This serum contains niacinamide to help revitalize, firm, smooth and minimize large pores, and allantoin extract to calm and soothe skin," says Sobel.

SOBEL SKIN Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum, $, available at Sephora
<h3>SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator <br></h3><br>"It is incredibly important to support the skin barrier right now. Moisturizing will protect hydration from escaping the skin and shield the skin from bacteria and contaminants," Engelman says. "I like SkinMedica's because it melts right into the skin."<br><br><strong>SkinMedica</strong> HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_HA5%2BRejuvenating%2BHydrator_65761.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link ">DermStore</a>

SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator


"It is incredibly important to support the skin barrier right now. Moisturizing will protect hydration from escaping the skin and shield the skin from bacteria and contaminants," Engelman says. "I like SkinMedica's because it melts right into the skin."

SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, $, available at DermStore
<h3>Farmacy Beauty Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer</h3><br>Hydrate and soothe with this thirst-quenching gel-cream made with hyaluronic acid and botanical ingredients to help minimize pores and shine. <br><br><strong>Farmacy</strong> Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F37Svm6j" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Farmacy" class="link ">Farmacy</a>

Farmacy Beauty Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer


Hydrate and soothe with this thirst-quenching gel-cream made with hyaluronic acid and botanical ingredients to help minimize pores and shine.

Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer, $, available at Farmacy
<h3>The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque<br></h3><br>Keep acne at bay with this charcoal-based face mask (the other kind!) infused with acne-fighting salicylic acid.<br><br><strong>The Ordinary</strong> Salicylic Acid 2% Masque, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F3mDXNJ9" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link ">Sephora</a>

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque


Keep acne at bay with this charcoal-based face mask (the other kind!) infused with acne-fighting salicylic acid.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque, $, available at Sephora
<h3>The Klog Soft Shield Pimple Patch</h3><br>In addition to drawing out impurities, clear pimple patches also prevent you from picking at your spot. Wear them under your mask during the day, and replace it before bed to 86 that bad boy within a few days.<br><br><strong>the klog</strong> Soft Shield Pimple Patch, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F3mE02Mz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Soko Glam" class="link ">Soko Glam</a>

The Klog Soft Shield Pimple Patch


In addition to drawing out impurities, clear pimple patches also prevent you from picking at your spot. Wear them under your mask during the day, and replace it before bed to 86 that bad boy within a few days.

the klog Soft Shield Pimple Patch, $, available at Soko Glam
<h3>Kinship Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment</h3><br>The bright blue tube is a lot more fun than the OTC spot treatments from yore, and the potent formula fights active breakouts without over-drying your skin.<br><br><strong>Kinship</strong> Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fpimple-potion-retinal-salicylic-acid-acne-treatment%3FproductId%3Dpimprod2017788" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ulta Beauty" class="link ">Ulta Beauty</a>

Kinship Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment


The bright blue tube is a lot more fun than the OTC spot treatments from yore, and the potent formula fights active breakouts without over-drying your skin.

Kinship Pimple Potion Retinal + Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment, $, available at Ulta Beauty
<h3>Zitsticka Skin Discipline Capsules</h3><br>If you have the time and money to invest in your acne routine, these niacinamide and zinc (two major acne-fighting ingredients) capsules can help balance oily, acne-prone complexion from the inside out.<br><br><strong>ZitSticka</strong> Skin Discipline Capsules, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.verishop.com%2Fproduct%2Fp4406521036823%3Fvariant_id%3D31343573762071" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Verishop" class="link ">Verishop</a>

Zitsticka Skin Discipline Capsules


If you have the time and money to invest in your acne routine, these niacinamide and zinc (two major acne-fighting ingredients) capsules can help balance oily, acne-prone complexion from the inside out.

ZitSticka Skin Discipline Capsules, $, available at Verishop
<h3>Copper Compression Face Mask - 2 Pack</h3><br>When it comes to maskne, not all face masks are created equal; in addition to ensuring that your mask is made from a breathable fabric, consider trying one woven with copper or silver, which both have anti-microbial properties that may keep pimple-causing bacteria at bay.<br><br><strong>CC Copper Compression</strong> Copper Compression Face Mask - 2 Pack, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/3mzHXzp" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link ">Amazon</a>

Copper Compression Face Mask - 2 Pack


When it comes to maskne, not all face masks are created equal; in addition to ensuring that your mask is made from a breathable fabric, consider trying one woven with copper or silver, which both have anti-microbial properties that may keep pimple-causing bacteria at bay.

CC Copper Compression Copper Compression Face Mask - 2 Pack, $, available at Amazon
<h3>Tata Harper X Jonathan Simkhai Silk Mask Pack</h3><br>Another material you may want to consider if you're particularly acne-prone: <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/09/10055429/silk-face-mask-skin-benefits" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Silk" class="link ">Silk</a>. In addition to being chic AF, the super-soft natural fibers are naturally cooling and hypoallergenic and tend to absorb less moisture than other fabrics. "Silk masks are a great option, especially if you have worn cloth masks and have experienced irritation, Sobel says. "Silk and cotton cause less friction and also does not make you sweat as much underneath your mask."<br><br><strong>Tata Harper</strong> Tata Harper X Jonathan Simkhai Silk Mask Pack, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffave.co%2F35PeY3H" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tata Harper" class="link ">Tata Harper</a>

Tata Harper X Jonathan Simkhai Silk Mask Pack


Another material you may want to consider if you're particularly acne-prone: Silk. In addition to being chic AF, the super-soft natural fibers are naturally cooling and hypoallergenic and tend to absorb less moisture than other fabrics. "Silk masks are a great option, especially if you have worn cloth masks and have experienced irritation, Sobel says. "Silk and cotton cause less friction and also does not make you sweat as much underneath your mask."

Tata Harper Tata Harper X Jonathan Simkhai Silk Mask Pack, $, available at Tata Harper

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