15 tips for reducing Maskne

Update May 2022: I wrote this back in very early 2020 when I was led to believe that wearing a mask would be helpful. Since then I have done my own research and found that it is transmitted via blood, not air.

So this article will still be useful for those who wear things like this in their daily practice like dentists, hygienists and surgeons. People who encounter blood.

Face Masks have moved into the category of everyday items, like clothes and shoes.

What causes maskne?

It’s caused by combination of three things:

  • – stress from the pandemic, combined with
  • – breathing into a mask creates a hot and humid environment to grow bacteria and organisms
  • – constant rubbing and pressure causes micro-tears in the skin, which lets bacteria and dirt to clog up our pores

Maskne is also called “acne mechanica” and is a common complaint by sports players who get spots under  helmets or chin guards.

But even if your skin has been blemish -free for decades, wearing a mask can cause blemishes, pimples, zits aka Maskne. I’ve also noticed whiteheads or millia around my eyes after mask wearing.

Here is a photo of my first maskne spot that I scratched.

maskne zit

Maskne and wellbeing

Compared with bruises and bleeding from PPE and N95 respirator masks, pimples may seem  trivial. Yet, the effect on self-esteem, mental wellbeing, relationships and perhaps job performance is huge.This is why many people are switching to more gentle skincare .What skincare products are good for maskne?<

Maskne skincare

Before you reach for teen products to attempt to ‘blast away’ the zits and spots.. stop.

Even Dermatologists advise against blasting maskne spots with alpha hydroxy acids, chemical peels or Retin A.

Why? Because maskne skin is already fragile.

By blasting away with harsh products you’ll end up with worse issues ( in addition to the spot) such as:

  • dry patches that flake or itch,
  • eczema,
  • stinging or burning,
  • redness,
  • inflammation .

So what do you do?

Here are my 15 tips to deal with acne, maskne and other annoying blemishes during the pandemic:

Maskne and acne products

  1. Refresh your skin with a pH balancing tonic such as Drench

2. Use gentle skin care products that don’t strip your skin of it’s protective sebum, or cause undue friction.

Avoid avoid anything with SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate. Read this article about stress and hair loss

3. If your skin is really sore, use your fingers to rinse your cleanser –  no buff puff, no loofa, no washcloth and no scrubby bits.

4. Avoid pore blocking ingredients such as cocoa butter. If you’ve got fair or Celtic type skin, cocoa butter may not be your friend.

5. If you wear makeup, avoid oil based foundation – ideally use a mineral sunscreen. This means you are using earth minerals instead of chemical goop to protect your skin.

6. Use a light moisturiser in the day like Proposal in Paris and apply it at least 15 minutes before you wear a mask.

It will act as a barrier to prevent chafing. How does it do this? It contains sebum-balancing jojoba

Proposal-Iin-Paris-hibiscus natural botoxon
Proposal In Paris face cream moisturiser with Hibiscus

7. Use lip balms or serums to keep your lips protected. I recommend this one made with rooibos and lanolin

8.. Exfoliate once or twice a week with gentle natural jojoba or bamboo spheres.  This will allow your moisturiser to be better absorbed.


9. If you do get a spot, do not scratch it.

If it darkens, you need a special cosmetic form of vitamin C

10. Certain Essential oils can be used – ask Wendy for a bespoke blend for your skin.

11. If your skin is feeling dry or tight, use a hydrating face mask with hyaluronic acid once or twice a week. You can also use things like honey or natural yoghurt, but they are messy.



Can you wash your face with bar soap

Hmmm technically you can do anything, once.  But should you?

I tried using bar soap in  University instead of facial cleanser.   I picked Dove, it was more expensive than other bar soaps and the adverts were so sublime. I thought it was a cheaper way to cleanse my skin. What happened? My skin got dry and weird feeling – I also had hundred of blackheads and whiteheads form under my skin. They were sealed in by the weird feeling layer of skin.  So I had to pay a beautician to have the black heads professionally extracted (which undid any savings)and it was sooo painful. I learnt my lesson.

So, my advice is to NOT use bar soap on your face. I now know ‘what’ soap does to the skin and that it has a too alkaline pH. As a maker of very gentle bar soap GlowRevival, I never use soap on my face.   To recap DO NOT USE BAR SOAP on your face. Leave it for hands and body. And please,  use a good quality cold-process soap, support a local UK soap maker.


wendy gardner

About Me

Wendy Gardner is the skincare alchemist at Glow Skincare. When she's not making creams or writing updates, she likes to draw, sew, drink tea and read great fiction!

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