Skip to main contentSkip to footer

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Read our full commerce guidelines here.

What the experts recommend for maskne - prevent spotty breakouts from your face mask this summer

We asked skincare experts about what to do about maskne...

face mask acne
Leanne Bayley
Leanne BayleyDirector of Lifestyle & Commerce
Share this:

We don't know about you but wearing a face mask for a long period of time has really wreaked havoc with our skin.

The term, coined by Elizabeth Arden’s Consulting Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, is used to describe the breakouts you might get as a result of wearing a face covering. You see, keeping your skin clean is key for solving stressed skin problems, and a mask tends to elevate issues.

RELATED: Shop the best silk face masks for people with maskne or sensitive skin

When you're wearing a mask and breathing/talking, it tends to trap in lots of hot air behind it - something many of us find uncomfortable. This trapped air creates a humid, warm environment on the skin under your mask, where bacteria can thrive. But what do the experts suggest for maskne? 

Invest in a silk face mask and apply a barrier cream

The world-famous Dr. Dendy Engelman said: "A lot of patients I’ve been seeing both virtually and socially distanced in person are complaining of Acne Mechanica – or Maskne, a term which I coined. This can be due to the physical friction of the mask on the skin, creating skin occlusions and disrupting the skin’s microbiome. Add to that the humidity and the wearing makeup under your mask, it results in clogged pores and blocked follicles that develop into acne and blemishes."

darphin aromatic cleansing balm for maskne

Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm, was £35 now £24.50, Darphin

**Save 30% on Darphin's bestsellers until June 27; offer applied automatically. And you can also save 20% off everything else at by adding code SUNSHINE20 at checkout


She added: "My advice for helping to prevent mechanically induced acne is firstly, looking at the type of material of mask you are wearing. The best fabrics to help reduce friction are Silk and Tencel, which both have the lowest friction wear and glides across the skin without irritating it.

silk face mask

SLIP reusable silk face covering, £39, Selfridges


"For any parts of your skin that the mask touches that do rub, I would apply a physical barrier such as Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, £28, to help minimise the contact on those areas where the mask is touching."

elizabeth arden

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, was £28 now £25.35, Amazon


"Secondly is to ensure your skin is well moisturised to keep your skin health intact. When you return home and remove your mask, cleanse and use a toner with salicylic acid, which is a natural anti-inflammatory to help minimize acne forming and decrease congestion. Then using a probiotic skincare booster to encourage good skin bacteria and support skin's natural defenses such as Elizabeth Arden Superstart Skin Renewal Booster. This provides daily support to the surface layer of the skin, helping to boost skin’s ability to renew itself, while ultimately optimising the results of the entire skincare regimen."

Opt for a spot-clearing product

Dr. Dennis Gross's new treatment, the Breakout Clearing Gel, can assist in maskne woes. It can be used twice daily as a spot treatment and it produces fast results to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and redness. Formulated with salicylic, glycolic and phytic acids as well as monk’s pepper, Dr Dennis Gross Breakout Clearing Gel exfoliates the skin, removing impurities and debris that can lead to acne and breakouts while helping to balance the complexion. This also includes niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, which has been proven to help reduce redness, eliminate inflammation and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time.

dennis gross

Breakout Clearing Gel by Dr Dennis Gross, £40, Space NK 


In addition, use a face mask two times a week to draw out bacteria, dirt and other toxins that be me causing spots. We love the BodyBlenz 2 in 1 Mask + Scrub Exfoliating Capsules, which are made with mix of organic essential oils that help promote smoother, clearer skin.

face mask bodyblenz

2 in 1 Mask + Scrub Exfoliating Capsules, £11.51 / $15.99, BodyBlendz


'Put the fire out' 

At the beginning of lockdown, skincare trailblazer Kate Somerville - the woman Taylor Swift and Meghan Markle have on speed dial - launched the DeliKate range and it couldn't be better timed to deal with COVID-19 times. This range is designed to 'put the fire out' and it is an innovative recovery and soothing system that calms sensitised skin and rebuilds the skin’s protective barrier. The DeliKate Recovery Cream is an SOS calming cream formulated with skin-soothing peptides and three essential ceramides to help reduce visible redness while hydrating and restoring skin’s protective barrier. Clinical results: 96% reported that the DeliKate Recovery Cream soothed dry, irritated skin after 1 week of use.

kate somerville

DeliKate Recovery Cream, £69, Kate Somerville


Choose a cleanser that's gentle

According to Murad, the Prebiotic 4-in-1 MultiCleanser is a super gentle gel to oil than can be used on wet or dry skin to gentle melt away makeup and cleanse the skin from impurities while nourishing with prebiotics for balanced, hydrated skin. great for sensitive or irritated skin as a result of wearing a mask. This will soothe and hydrate while also effectively cleansing!

murad 38

Prebiotic 4-in-1 MultiCleanser, £38, Murad


Choose a mineral-based foundation

Dr Zainab Al-Mukhtar recommends that skin should be cleansed morning and evening. "Make sure you use a cleanser which is correct for your skin type. For example, Obagi Gentle Cleanser for dry or sensitive skin, or a salicylic acid-based cleanser if you are particularly acne-prone. The goal when you cleanse is to remove all the impurities from the skin, particularly makeup, oil and dead skin. Their removal will help brighten the complexion and allow active skincare ingredients to penetrate more for a better treatment outcome with acne."

She added that it's worth looking inside our makeup bag: "Often traditional make-up brands contain a complex mix of chemicals which can sometimes irritate sensitive skin types. Mineral make-up is typically free of oil, fragrance, and preservatives, making it ideal for oily or acne-prone skin. My recommendation would be bareMinerals foundation, which can provide a buildable coverage and yet not clog pores."


bareMinerals Original Foundation, £23.30, FeelUnique


Pat dry, don't rub your face

Skincare specialist Dr. Jaskaren Midha advises going makeup-free under your mask. "If you can, go makeup-free as this will allow the skin to breathe - if you can’t manage to stay clear of the foundation, make sure you thoroughly remove all traces of makeup once you take the mask off. After washing the skin, try not to rub the surface, patting dry with a towel rather than rubbing. A good moisturiser at this time is also essential to put back any lost moisture into the skin."

face halo

Face Halo Modern Makeup Removers - pack of 3, £18, LookFantastic


Ditch the sugar 

Thankfully there are many things that can be done to treat acne, and whilst it’s not usually caused by simply diet and lifestyle alone, these factors can also affect the skin dramatically. "Eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking lots of water can have a significant impact, as can cutting out alcohol, caffeine and sugar," says Dr Veraitch.

"The key to treating acne at home is controlling the oil production and effectively removing dead skin," explains Dr Veraitch. "Ensuring you have a skincare range that is oil-free and avoiding serums is essential as the oil in those products will only exacerbate acne. Look for cleansers which are non-foaming as these will stimulate oil production and ensure that your makeup is non-comedogenic as this will allow your skin to breathe and will help prevent your pores becoming blocked."

no to sugar

Say No To Sugar, £5.75, Amazon


Try a skin-soothing facial mist

Charlotte Vøhtz, founder of Green People, suggests trying a "light, hydrating facial mist is an easy way to deliver instant relief to stressed, sore skin and is great for replenishing depleted facial moisture levels. A little spritz of Green People’s light-weight Toning Hydrating Mist goes a long way and delivers a fresh, fragrant burst of Orange Blossom and Rosewater which helps to cool the skin when you’re feeling frazzled."

As well, the mist is also made with Marshmallow root, a skin-calming extract with emollient-like properties. This natural ingredient relieves skin redness and helps to protect the skin’s natural supply of hyaluronic acid.

green people

Green People Toning Hydrating Mist, was £17 now £11.83, Amazon


Don't stress

"Some people find that they pick their spots as their anxiety increases and, by removing this trauma to the skin, the skin can start to heal," advises Dr Rekha Tailor. "Relaxation can go a long way in treating the physical symptoms that are visible on the skin. Try incorporating breathing exercises into your routine. This can have a very positive and powerful impact in improving the skin condition."


Start a free 2-week trial on Headspace


HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.

More Skincare And Fragrances

See more