David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville, TN (865) 450-9253

Yes… Maskne is REAL! Here’s How to Prevent It.

As if we need another thing to worry about during a pandemic, now it’s showing up on our skin. I’m talking about “maskne” — acne caused by having to wear a mask regularly. The friction of the mask irritates and traps bacteria on our skin. We’re certainly experiencing this because we wear masks all day long, every day.

There are some things we can do to reverse the abuse to our delicate skin as well as correct those pesky mask induced breakouts.

First, we have to keep it clean. If you wear a paper mask, remember to toss it after each use, if possible. It’s not that easy with the cloth masks, so we all must be committed to washing our masks daily to prevent bacteria from building up, causing a breeding ground for breakouts. Dr. Reath always recommends using unscented laundry detergent to avoid fragrances, which commonly cause allergic reactions, especially on fabrics we keep next to our face (sheets, pillowcases, and face masks).

Preventing Maskne


Speaking of clean, I highly recommend a Diamond Glow treatment. It simultaneously exfoliates, extracts impurities, and infuses your skin with nourishing medical-grade serums. There is nothing more satisfying than getting these last three months off your face!

Here is Natasha before and immediately after her first treatment. She is wearing her usual makeup in the before picture, but the after picture is all Diamond Glow.

It may seem counterintuitive when talking about acne, but it’s super-important to keep our skin hydrated at this time. Keeping the skin’s barrier repaired from mask friction also helps keep the breakouts at bay. Hydrators such as SkinMedica’s HA5 and Glowbiotics MD’s Calming Restorative Treatment add just the right amount of hyaluronic acid to keep the moisture barrier balanced. (These are AMAZING for oily skin as well).

Treating Maskne


When maskne does pop up, treatments like the Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel Pads or the Acne Clarifying and Refining Serum from Glowbiotics, MD, will help pimples clear more quickly.  They also contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that go a long way to calm stressed skin.

I have found our new Skinceuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight to be a game-changer when it comes to stimulating cell turnover. It forces breakouts up and out much quicker, leaving refined radiance, which is always a good thing. Start by using it every third night and work up to every night if possible.

Makeup is not your friend AT ALL when it comes to the mask, so it’s best to forgo it altogether. It only spreads bacteria around and turns into a vicious cycle of breakouts.

If you need a little coverage to even out imperfections, go with a chemical-free tinted sunscreen such as Alastin’s award-winning Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36 or Even Up Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50 from the sunscreen pros — Colorescience.

It is still unclear if routinely using the masks will ultimately be our “new normal”, but we at least have access to an arsenal of amazing products and procedures to help overcome the dreaded maskne that comes along with it.

There is more excellent skin care advice in the seventh edition of our practice magazine, Your Beauty, which just hit the stands.


To get your free copy, just fill out the form here, and we’ll pop it in the mail to you right away.

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