Maskne - a side effect of the pandemic

Besides the many predictable consequences of the pandemic (economic crisis, travel limitations), there has also been a surprising side effect: ‘Maskne’, the latest skincare problem caused by masks.

Wearing face masks has become "the new normal" during the pandemic, to protect ourselves and others from the fast-spreading virus. But for many people wearing masks is leading to an unpleasant side effect: blemishes, pimples, zits — or what dermatologists call acne.

This has become so common that it lead to the term of "maskne" on social media - meaing breakouts that occur after wearing a mask (mask + acne).

The symptoms of maskne are little whiteheads in the areas where your face mask contacts your skin directly, and also little pimples and blemishes that appear at sites occluded by face masks worn during the pandemic.

What causes maskne?

Clinically regarded as acne mechanica, maskne is the result of friction against the skin caused by the prolonged use of any protective face masks. It is also the result of the moist, humid environment caused by your nose and mouth being covered for a prolonged period of time. Hot, moist, sweaty — the combination of all this gives the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, increased sebum (oil) production, and clogged pores. 

One might say that this could not be a new issue, as wearing masks has been popular in Asia already long before Covid-19. However, according to an online survey by Shiseido, concerns are increasing. Indeed, the survey showed that as many as 99% of respondents expressed concerns about mask wearing, which are expected to become more severe as temperatures and humidity rise.

In the West, wearing a mask is still a relatively new development. Google searches for ‘mask acne’ show a skyrocketed development since the beginnin of the pandemic. Further, as the health measurements are likely to be kept in the near future, probably the maskne issue is not just a short-term trend.

How to protect the skin against maskne

Following a simple yet effective skincare routine is crucial to fight the maskne issue. Here are a few key steps to follow to help ensure your skin is face mask-prepped, ready and more resistant to unwanted irritations:

  1. Cleanse: Make sure you wash your face before and after wearing a face mask, to help remove excess oils.
  2. Moisturize: Keeping your skin hydrated and well-moisturized to maintain the strength of your skin’s moisture barrier. Look for blemish-fighting ingredients in your moisturizer.
  3. Make-Up Free: Skipping foundations and concealers while wearing a face mask, as their heavy formulations, combined with the enhanced humidity under the mask, could affect the skin’s sebum production and potentially lead to an increase in clogged pores and breakouts.


Mibelle Biochemistry offers a selection of active ingredients to fight blemishes:

  • AstraForce: Reduces imperfections and prevents breakouts
  • Black BeeOme™ : Reduces sebum production for a matte and pure skin
  • PoreAway: Fights shininess, blemishes and clogged pores




Christine Meier
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Christine Meier