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Understanding and Treating Mascne

While face masks are great for protecting the Community from the spread of COVID-19, they are not so great for your skin. You may have noticed that since you have started wearing face masks, your skin may be suffering from redness, dryness, irritation, or breakouts.


Why do masks cause facial rashes?

Masks can cause facial rashes for several reasons. The friction caused by tight areas of the mask rubbing repeatedly against the skin, for example over the nose, cheeks and ears can result in redness, flaking and peeling skin and in some cases even sores. This can be worse if you have an underlying skin condition like eczema.


Why do masks cause acne?

Masks also create a humid environment underneath them. They can trap moisture and sebum, both of which can aggravate pre-existing acne or cause new breakouts by clogging pores. They can certainly make things worse for skin conditions such as rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and perioral dermatitis. However, it can be tricky to tell these skin conditions apart from acne so if in doubt make sure to ask your Life Pharmacist or your GP.

Wearing a mask traps dirt, oil and bacteria against your skin and clogs your pores and unfortunately, the combination of these three things creates the perfect environment for break outs and acne. However, there are measures you can take to combat mascne.

How can I prevent mascne?

Avoid wearing makeup under your mask.

Due to the increased humidity, wearing makeup under your mask can clog your pores and worsen breakouts. Give the lower section of your face a break from makeup if possible.

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Wear a silk face mask.

The soft texture is gentle against your skin and the breathable fabric reduces humidity from your breath. Silk is also known for having anti-bacterial properties, preventing bacteria from developing within your mask.

Cleanse before and after wearing your mask.

Just like you wash your hands before and after wearing your mask, it is good to get into the habit of washing your face too. Washing your face right before wearing your mask will remove dead skin cells, oil and dirt that would otherwise make your mask dirty and your skin worse. Washing your face after wearing your mask remove any built-up oils from wearing the mask.


The rubbing of the mask against your face can damage your skins natural barrier, making it vulnerable to inflammation. Using a good moisturiser will keep you skin hydrated and healthy. If you don’t moisturise, your skin is likely to produce more oil to compensate, leading to clogged pores.

Wash your face mask.

Washing your face mask after each wear is essential to both preventing maskne and the spread of COVID-19. Washing your mask will remove all the oils and skin cells collected in the mask that contribute to skin irritation.


Your local Life experts will be happy to offer advice on which skincare product will work best for your skin type. If you are suffering from severe acne, make sure to check out our Online Doctor service for the relevant prescription – get treated in just 4 easy steps.