Maskne: preveting breakouts caused by facial coverings

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Maskne: preventing breakouts caused by facial coverings

Coronavirus brought a whole host of issues to the world stage. For many of us, our entire work and social lives changed and continue to remain stagnant while news unfolds. In addition, masks have become a necessary addition to the wardrobe but for some, are creating skincare issues they haven’t had to deal with for years.

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This newfound, common skin issue is what’s known as “maskne”, the dreaded breakouts that appear in and around wherever the fabric covers. Our skin was designed to breath and function with its own strong, natural barrier. Putting a piece of cloth over it each day greatly increases the chance for breakouts, clogged pores, and whiteheads. Here’s what you need to know to prevent it and take care of your skin if this happens to you.


While masks may be the number one thing that helps to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, for many, it’s wreaking havoc on the skin. The friction caused from tight straps tends to rub against the skin after hours of wear, causing inflammation, redness, and dryness. This combination may trigger the skin to produce excess oil to soothe stressed out and damaged patches. As the skin releases oil, the cloth covering of the mass catches that oil and holds it against the skin, clogging pores.

What’s more, we really are full of hot air and releasing our breath into the mask creates a humid environment that can take its toll on the skin around our nose, lips, and chin. Athletes have long been struggling with acne caused by the rubbing of helmet straps in these areas but now, many more are experiencing acne mechanica


Many essential workers don’t have a choice in selecting their mask and must wear industry specific coverings. However, if you do have the ability to choose, select a mask that is made from 100% cotton. Many masks trap heat and moisture whereas cotton is more breathable and can help release humidity throughout the day.

It’s vital to wash your mask as much as possible to remove the excess oil, dirt, makeup, and lotion that it catches throughout the day. If you work in an intense, high-stress or movement related environment, disposable masks may be an even better option.  


While it’s crucial to wear your mask around others, find times throughout the day to alleviate your face from it’s fabric covering. Take a short coffee break outside, go for a stroll, or sit in your car with your mask off. Allowing skin to breathe can greatly mitigate dreaded mask-related breakouts.


Your skin may not present the visible signs of maskne but could be irritated all the same. Itching, burning, and chafing can be brought on by wearing a taut, fabric covering day in and day out. Stressed out skin is prone to aging more rapidly or losing its luster, tone, and glow. You may notice that skin around the mouth and under the mask appears to lack its luster even though you aren’t spying any breakouts. This dryness and skin itching can be detrimental to our skin’s ability to bounce back and defend us against harmful microbes. It’s important to treat even unseen symptoms of wearing a mask all day long.


As the mask rubs against our face, it creates microtears that allow bacteria and dirt to enter, clogging pores, creating zits, and forming blackheads. If there is less dirt and grime in the area where the mask sits, there’s less likelihood for these microtears to become infected.

Wash your face with a very gentle cleanser, possibly fragrance free and enriched with prebiotics which make your skin’s immune system stronger, like our Remedy Cream to Oil cleanser, before you put on your mask, each time. Giving the fabric a clean surface to rest on can reduce the chances of breakouts in that area. After cleansing, sweep a nourishing toner across the face, taking special care to wipe the bridge of the nose, chin, and cheeks where the mask border sits. [ comfort zone ]’s Remedy Toner is soothing and refreshing. Stash some in your work bag to provide a refreshing cleanse during the day.

For skin that is especially acne-prone, pairing a natural face wash like the /skin regimen/ Cleansing Cream with the Enzymatic Powder creates an effective exfoliating cleanser. Combatting the build up of makeup, sweat, and grime caked on throughout the day is done more easily by gentle exfoliating the top-most layer of skin, then refortifying its natural barrier with a moisturizer.

It may seem counterintuitive to add moisture back to an area that will sit in humidity all day long, but a hydrating facial serum or day cream can help bolster the skin’s natural barrier, defending it against mask-induced abrasions. Our Active Pureness Fluid oil control product was designed with athletes in mind. This hydrating replaces moisture that was lost during the cleansing process without creating an oily or slick surface. An expert balance of vitamin C and mattifying powders helps soak up excess moisture while nourishing the face.

For problem areas, target the breakout with a tea tree face oil serum like the /skin regimen/ 1.0 Tea Tree Booster, . This natural ingredient is antimicrobial and often used in spas, gyms, and saunas to combat the spread of germs. When applied to the face, a product like the /skin regimen/ tea tree cleanses and soothes without creating product build up.

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Follow your skincare regimen before and after masking-up each day. It can be trying at the end of a hectic work day to go through each step, however, your skin is sure to thank you and your mask may be more bearable to wear once breakout zones are under control. 


For those with especially difficult mask-related skincare issues, consider adding a bi-weekly mask to your product lineup. The Active Pureness Mask uses key ingredients including green and white clays to extract toxins from the skin and soak up any excess oil. This mask works great for those living in hot, humid climates and during warm summer months.

It’s mattifying, clarifying powers are useful for those suffering with breakouts underneath their mask and can help restore this sensitive area back to a healthy balance. Those with sensitive skin may have even more trouble handling mask induced acne but should seek out sensitive skin care products that are both gentle and effective.

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On your quest to find a maskne treatment, there’s no one size fits all approach. Your skin is specific to your body and, just like your morning skincare routine works with particular issues, your maskne skin regimen will need to as well.

How to treat maskne involves careful consideration of your current skincare products and skin needs. If the skin underneath your mask is particularly red, dry, or irritated, try sensitive skin care products, like hydrating cleansers, gentle toners, and fortifying moisturizers from the Remedy product line. This line features prebiotics, which help bolster your skin’s natural microbiome by providing food for it to thrive off of. In its most natural state, your skin should provide a good defense against external elements and stressors. However, a cloth facial coving can totally throw its equilibrium out of whack. Probiotic skin care is helpful in restoring the balance and boosting the natural defense system.

For oily, acne-prone skin, you may need to use strong cleansers that specifically target sweat, grease, and oil. Active Pureness Gel uses 3% gluconolactone to break up grime and penetrate deeply into clogged pores. This effective gel cleanser was designed with athletes and exercise buffs in mind and can work just as well for mask covered areas that experience excess sweat, dirt, and moisture.


We may be inclined to really scrub the skin after we take our masks off at the end of each day, but this can add fuel to the fire. Go easy on breakout zones and irritated patches. It’s important to make sure they are clean, but harsh scrubs and chemically-laden products may just increase skin itching.

[ comfort zone ] features many silicate-free, fragrance-free, and natural origin products that use the power of mother nature to treat all sorts of skin issues, including maskne. Antioxidants like goji berry oil, lentil extract, and moringa oil replace nutrients that we can so easily lose throughout the day, especially wearing a thick, hot mask.[ comfort zone ] offers cleansers, toners, serums, and boosters that work wonders on sensitive, irritable, or acne-prone skin without any of the bad for you stuff.  

Continuing to wear a mask is an important step in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and eventually returning to a new normal. While it’s tempting to want to go without, sticking to guidelines keeps everyone healthy and safe.Purchase a new mask with breathable fabric and establish a routine for your skin. During down time, try to find activities that you can do without a mask, like walking in open spaces, sitting outside on your patio, or going for a bike ride. Also remember to sanitize your hands often, we recommend our hand sanitizing gel which keeps you safe while leaving your hands soft and nicely fragranced 

The stressors of this global pandemic certainly aren’t helping anyone’s skin and adding a thick, hot covering to already problematic areas is just another problem many are dealing with. Participate in self-care and take the time to treat yourself to high-quality skin care products, good organic food, and plenty of water. Staying healthy and having clear, glowing skin also relies on cultivating a healthy body, positive mindset, and low-stress levels. Here’s to hoping we can rid the global community of the virus and all the issues - including maskne - that come along with it.