The coronavirus is not going anywhere anytime soon. It has brought about many changes to people’s lives. It is now compulsory to wear a face mask in public. The masks prevent us from touching our faces. They also prevent us from breathing in respiratory droplets that may carry a virus.

It is possible that the mask can cause skin irritations and acne breakouts. Friction or rubbing, heat and moisture trapped underneath a mask all can cause the skin barrier to break down. This may lead to acne breakouts – acne mechania and skin irritation or redness –irritant dermatitis.

mask causing breakouts


  • Usually affects people who wear a mask for prolonged periods of time.
  • It is a type of acne that is caused from friction, heat and a lack of air
  • May appear as tiny white shallow bumps.


  • May be caused by a reaction from the fabric, dye, or soaps used to wash the reusable mask.

Whatever type of mask that you may be using , the problem arises from excess moisture and heat from our humid breath. It’s like wearing exercise clothes for too long after exercise.

Changes to our diet due to lockdown and stress may affect our skin as well.


  • Wash reusable masks often, that is EVERY time you wear it.
  • Use a gentle cleanser twice a day. For tips on cleansing read this.
  • If you are prone to breakouts, use a face wash or toner that contains salicylic acid. Also use a cotton mask (softer) as opposed to a rough fabric.
  • Do not scrub your face.
  • Try to minimise the amount of makeup worn under your mask. Switch from a heavier foundation to a lighter BB OR C ream. Accentuate your brows and eyes.
  • Hydrate your skin with a simple moisturiser. Heavy creams can lead to breakouts
  • Don’t forget to use a lip balm under your mask.
  • Silk is the gentlest fabric on your skin. It causes the least friction.
  • Steer clear from strong active ingredients eg. Chemical exfoliants and retinol.
  • The key is to maintain a healthy skin barrier. Use a cica cream, or aloe vera especially if you are prone to dry skin.
  • If you are prone to redness and eczema, apply a cold compress in the evenings afer removing your mask and cleansing.

Skin is unpredictable. We can do all the right steps and still experience breakouts.

Aim for HEALTHY skin rather than PERFECT skin.

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