Combatting Face Mask Acne “Maskne”

The “Maskne” struggle is real but there are ways to fight it!

by CRS Team | Fri, 14 Aug 2020

If you have felt personally victimized by 2020, don’t worry—you’re not alone. There is no question that this year has taken a physical, mental and emotional toll on our society and the world as a whole. Changes in daily routines, diet, stress, exercise, as well as a more sedentary lifestyle from staying at home due to the pandemic, have all culminated in reported increases in adult acne that ranges in severity. Furthermore, the regular use of face masks, while necessary in preventing the spread of COVID-19, has also been associated with increases in facial acne, also known as “maskne.”


Since the use of face masks will likely be a part of our everyday look for the indefinite future, it’s important to know the facts about face mask acne and more importantly, how to tackle this type of breakout head on. Keep reading on for tips on treating maskne and preventing this pimple peril from invading your pretty skin.




Since you have to breathe through your face mask, it inadvertently creates the damp and humid conditions that are optimal for accumulating oils, dirt and makeup on your skin and trapping them under your mask. As a result, you’re left with unwanted bacteria that helps clog pores and can ultimately lead to a bout of maskne. Likewise, the friction caused by having a mask on your face for extended periods of time can irritate hair follicles, leaving them red and inflamed.




Since maskne, and acne in general, is a consequence of bacteria and clogged pores, using products with beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to help clean out your pores by removing dead skin cells and kill acne-causing bacteria. Salicylic acid is perhaps the most commonly known BHA and is an active ingredient in many skin care and cosmetic products. Also, be sure to seek out moisturizers that say noncomedogenic, meaning they don’t clog pores, or that are oil-free—which most times are not mutually exclusive. Your face is already producing more oils under your mask than usual so oil-free moisturizers can be effective in combatting that issue directly.



That really depends on how often you were washing your face in the first place. Generally speaking, you should be washing your face at least twice daily, moisturizing daily and exfoliating at least 2-3 times a week. Regardless of the current need for face masks, your skin care regimen should always include cleansing, double cleansing [insert link with double cleanse blog], exfoliating and moisturizing. Each step of this process serves a different purpose for your face and helps maintain a baseline for your skin under any conditions.

  • Cleansing removes oil, makeup and pollution from the day

  • Double cleansing cleans your skin after you’ve removed the daily skin stressors mentioned above

  • Exfoliating helps remove any lingering dead skin cells and further open up clogged pores (this is the only step that doesn’t need to be done daily)

  • Moisturizing helps restore hydration in your skin and restore the skin barrier to keep it healthy



Wash your masks frequently! Think of your mask like your underwear—you wouldn’t re-wear it without washing it first! Researchers recommend washing your masks daily with soap and hot water to remove bacteria and microorganisms that are present on or underneath your masks after use. Additionally, make sure the mask is dry before reusing it as the dampness on a mask can also cause bacteria to form.


Lastly, don’t let maskne bring you down—your skin is delicate and probably fighting off more stress than it’s used to. It might take some time, but you can (and you WILL) restore your skin to its former glowing glory. But if you need some help along the way, check out the list below of maskne-fighting products recommended by Cynthia Rivas and step-by-step instructions on how to use them. ♡


Step 1: Double Cleanse (every night, first use a cleanser that will breakdown oil and makeup.  Next choose a treatment cleanser that will address your skin type or needs such as dryness, oiliness, acne or dehydration.  The 1st cleanser takes off the day, the 2nd cleanser actually cleans and treats your skin.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

Soap free cleanser

Contains BHA

Great for all skin types

iS Clinical Warming Honey

This dual-action cleanser hydrates while honey, an antimicrobial ingredient, helps kill bacteria

Step 2: Exfoliate (2-3 times a week at night)
iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliating Masqu

iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque

This exfoliating treatment contains BHA and enzymes that dissolve dead skill cells

Gently massage this masque onto moist skin for about 2 minutes or until the microbeads start to dissolve 

Do not rinse, leave masque on for 10 minutes and then rinse clean

Step 3: Masque after you exfoliate (2-3 times a week at night)

iS Clinical Hydra-Intensive Cooling Masque

This intensely calming and hydrating treatment contains resveratrol, a natural compound considered to have anti-inflammatory capabilities similar to anti-oxidants.

Leave masque on for 10 minutes and then rinse clean

Step 4: Use exfoliating pads once a week at night

Sanitas Brightening Pads (once weekly at night)

This exfoliating treatment pad contains AHA and BHA

Swipe brightening pad all over your face, neck and decollete (you can give an additional pass over breakout-prone areas)

DO NOT rinse off

Step 5: Moisturize (choose the appropriate moisturizer) 

Restorsea All Day Every Day Lotion

Medium Weight, Reduces Redness, Normal & Dry Skin Types, Gently Exfoliants and Brightens

Restorsea Rebalancing Lotion

Light Weight, All skin types, Oil Free, Shea Butter, Gently Exfoliants and Brightens

Sanitas Vitamin C Moisturizer

Very Lightweight, Brightening, Good for Normal, Acneic and Oily Skin Types

iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum

Hydrating Serum, Acneic and Oily Skin Types Can Use Alone As A Moisturizer, Brightening