The pandemic has taught us that time is precious, our health is invaluable, and our loved ones are the most important gift in the world. But it has also left us with one more thing: maskne. Mask-induced acne is a very real (and very annoying) condition that we had never faced before. 

What Is Maskne?

Maskne (mask-induced acne) is a general term for several skin conditions that are caused by wearing a face mask. As The New York Times states, “maskne is the new acne”. And it’s not something to be dismissed. Maskne is a mixture of irritation and acne caused by wearing a face mask for prolonged periods of time. Aside from causing new breakouts, face masks can also worsen existing skin issues. These conditions may include acne, rosacea flare-ups, contact dermatitis, folliculitis, redness, irritation, and more. More on each condition below:

  • Acne: It occurs when pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and dirt. This clogging can cause pimples, whiteheads, and/or blackheads.
  • Rosacea: If you already suffer from rosacea, then maskne can worsen your condition by causing flare-ups, which can lead to redness and pimples. 
  • Contact dermatitis: It occurs when the person is allergic or sensitive to the mask’s material. It can cause red rashes, irritation, and blisters. 
  • Folliculitis: It’s an infection of the hair follicles that causes bumps that look like acne breakouts. 

Aside from these possible skin conditions, mask-induced acne can become even worse when we add in the fact that it’s already summer. You have a pool of heat, humidity, sweat, and dirt sloshing around under your mask. In simple terms, it’s the perfect breakout recipe.

According to Healthline, maskne occurs because of clogged pores. On any given day, you have oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria on your face. “But when you wear a mask, these substances can build up more and block your pores. A mask also traps humidity due to your breathing and sweating, which may increase the risk of acne.” If that weren’t enough, masks can also cause friction, which leads to chafing and irritation. None of these factors contribute to having perfect, smooth, acne-free skin. 

How Can You Avoid Maskne?

The “new normal” isn’t here yet, and we will still be required to wear face masks for the foreseeable future. So the real question here is what can you do to avoid maskne? Even though maskne won’t be 100% avoidable, there are a few ways in which you can reduce your exposure time and avoid maskne as much as possible. 

1. Reduce Your “Mask Time”

Sadly, this might not be possible for healthcare workers or anyone who is required to wear a mask to their daily jobs. But if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who can work from home, then limiting the time you spend outside or with your mask on is a great way to reduce the chance of maskne breakouts.

2. Don’t Wear The Same Mask Twice

If you’re wearing a disposable mask, such as a surgical mask or a KN95, then you should be aware that the FDA states that “all N95 respirators cleared by the agency are labeled as "single-use," disposable devices.” You can use them more than once if disinfected properly, but the masks lose effectiveness after the first use. So if you are wearing one of these masks, try to not wear them more than once to avoid a risk of both infection and breakouts. 

If you’re wearing a cloth mask, then you must wash it after every use. We recommend having several and interchanging them as the week goes by. This way, you will have a fresh mask every day. 

3. Wash Your Face

Adopting a skincare routine is one of the best ways to ensure you can limit or even avoid mask-induced acne. And it doesn’t have to be complicated - a basic skincare routine is all you need to remove grime and muck off your face to avoid breakouts. Our best recommendation here is to try Navan TrueClear™ 3 Step Skin Clarifying Set. You get our TrueClear Skin Clarifying Supplement, aimed at treating skin from the inside out, our TrueClear Gentle Facial Cleanser, a gentle foaming cleanser that exfoliates dead skin cells and removes excess oil and impurities, and our TrueClear Clarifying Acne Cream, which penetrates deep into the pores to treat and clear existing acne while preventing future breakouts. It’s a complete skincare regimen that can help heal current breakouts and prevent future ones from forming. The best part is that it’s only 3 steps long, so it’s simple and easy to follow!

4. Say Goodbye To Makeup

At least temporarily! Heavy makeup can be occlusive and heavy on the skin, potentially clogging pores all by itself. Add in the mask and the occlusion is multiplied. You would be wearing a face full of makeup, bacteria, sweat, and dirt all trapped inside a face mask. So we’re sad to say that the best option here is to prioritize your skin’s health and break up with makeup. You can, however, use eye makeup! That small bit of your face is still visible even while wearing a face mask. 

5. Switch Out Your Mask

One of our best maskne tips is to wear the right type of mask, like the Navan Anti-Acne Face Mask. Our graphene material anti-acne face mask is made with an award-winning material that provides scientifically advanced protection. It has been proven to be stronger than steel but thinner than paper. The mask is designed with a hexagonal carbon atom design that cuts and kills viruses and bacteria on contact. And it also allows your skin to breathe, providing an airflow that prevents sebum to become oxygen-deprived and clog your pores. It has a three-layer protection design with a snug-fitting nose flap and adjustable ear loops, so it can fit all sorts of face shapes and sizes. 

The Navan Anti-Acne Face Mask is not only cool, light, and comfortable enough to wear all day long. It is also durable, with its ability to be reused and washed up to 30 times! With the right face mask, you can say bye-bye to maskne once and for all. 

6. Use a Mask Freshener

We already discussed that wearing a mask triggers skin inflammation, irritations, and breakouts. So how can you avoid bacteria and moisture from becoming trapped and wreaking all sorts of havoc? By using a mask freshener! Navan Anti-Acne Mask Spray can help draw out harmful toxins, balance skin pH levels, provide an antimicrobial effect, and soothe the skin. 

Its ingredients include dead sea minerals, which help draw out toxins and balance pH, orange peel, grapefruit peel, and tangerine fruit extract, which work as powerful antioxidants, hypochlorous acid, which acts as an antimicrobial, witch hazel extract, which can help tighten pores, and glycerin, a superstar ingredient that moisturizes the skin. The best part is that a simple spritz is all you need, and it’s safe to use this product daily! It will be a welcome breath of fresh air that deodorizes your mask while helping soothe and treat your skin.

The Takeaway

Masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean that maskne has to be, too. By following our simple maskne tips you can get the necessary treatment for current mask-induced acne conditions or even prevent mask-induced acne outright. At Navan, we’re convinced that healthy skin starts from the inside out. That’s why we’re focused on providing high-quality products that treat acne conditions from within and without. Browse our full collection and discover the products that suit your skin best!