Maskne tips: causes and solutions

Pedro Catala of TWELVE Beauty

Now that many of us are wearing masks on a daily basis, we're getting frequent queries about "maskne" — the skin irritation that can result from frequent and prolonged mask wear. 
For a thoughtful perspective on its causes and the best products to look for to both prevent and address it, we asked Dr. Pedro Catalá — founder of TWELVE Beauty — to share his thoughts in a guest blog post. Read on for Pedro's point of view.


Maskne is something that many of us are struggling with. And actually, while people tend to call it “maskne,” I prefer to call it “mechanical acne”: this specific type of acne comes mainly from the friction of the tissue of the mask against our skin. Many of you that might have had a little bit of rosacea or dermatitis, or similar conditions, may also be finding that the symptoms are getting a bit worse. 

What’s happening is that the friction of the mask is combining with the summer heat, sweat, and humidity (both outside and inside the mask, due to breath and saliva). As a result, skin starts producing more sebum and keratin, which end up inside the pores. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, which can then lead to acne.

What to do?

First, focus on effective cleansing in the morning and in the evening. When you choose a cleanser, remember that oily formulas can penetrate more effectively than other formulas. I developed my Clementine Cleansing Balm for this reason: an oil base can more easily dissolve the oily matter that gets deposited inside the pores.

Next, use a light hydrating serum like the Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum. This is helpful for a few reasons. We tend to lose a lot of water in our skin during the summer months, and masks exacerbate this situation; a hydrating serum can help replenish the water we need in our skin without feeling too heavy during the hot days.

This particular serum also contains an extract called Epilobium that grows organically in the Alps. Both Epilobium and the polysaccharide in the formula are rich in specific antioxidants that help kill “bad” bacteria while stimulating the growth of good bacteria, keeping your skin’s microbiome in balance. 

Finally, remember that your skin’s barrier is hydrolipidic: it contains water and oil. So as often as you can, combine a serum with a good facial oil to bring healing nutrients to the skin. If it feels like too much to do so during the day, at least use an oil like Intelligent Frontier Facial Oil with your hydrating serum at night. Dryness can be a problem for many people both during the summer and during times of stress, so please be thorough with your skincare routine, especially in the evening when it may be easier to do so.


Want to get this info in video format, complete with Pedro's charming accent? He shares these and other summer tips on our IGTV.

PS Want a mask that minimizes maskne in the first place? We now sell our #1 favorite mask, and the one that our whole team wears. Check out the Aplat mask here.

Any topic discussed in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please check with your doctor.

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