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MASK UP! How to Avoid and Treat MASKNE!

If you live in NSW, you’ll be acutely aware that we can no longer leave our homes without wearing a face mask. Of course, no one wears a mask for longer each day than our extraordinary health care workers, who have been constantly masked for months. Now they are highlighting for all of us the skin condition unfondly referred to as "Maskne" or Mask Acne.


This month we spoke with Pharmacist and Founder of QED Skincare, Shoshana Eisner, about Maskne. Is it real? What is it? What can you do about it? And, ideally, what can you do to prevent it if you are going to be wearing a mask more often?

Is Maskne real?

Unfortunately, yes it is. And there are actually two types. Maskne A occurs in people, like our healthcare workers, who have been wearing facemasks consistently for more than 4 hours a day who are suffering stubborn pimple breakouts around their mouth and chin. Maskne B – refers to small pimples and irritation where the rim of the mask and straps touches the skin and can happen to anyone. There are actually two very different causes for what can both look like pimple breakouts.

What causes the two forms of Maskne?

Breathing whilst wearing a mask for a long time creates an extremely humid zone around your nose, mouth and chin, which is the leading cause of Maskne A (regular pimples around your mouth, nose and chin). Maskne B is caused by the constant rubbing of the rim of the mask and straps. It tends to be sore, sometimes itchy and may have small pimple-like blemishes. It is definitely more common in people who already have eczema, dermatitis or rosacea. Unfortunately, both are made worse the longer you wear a mask.

How to treat Maskne?

Maskne A pimples are treated the same way you would treat adolescent pimples.

  1. Use a spot treatment regularly on the pimples. I recommend using QED Skincare’s 5-Minute Facial Clay Mask Detox + Clarify formulated with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic ingredients to heal pimples fast and make them less painful and prominent.

  2. Throughout the day, use a toning spray on the lower part of your face to reduce oil flow. I recommend QED’s Balancing Mist, it smells gorgeous and refreshing, but most importantly, it slows down oil production.

  3. Once you are done with masks for the day, cleanse the affected area well. If your skin is breaking out badly, I recommend using an anti-acne cleanser in that area like the Clarify Shake to Activate Cleanser, which is formulated to speed pimple healing and reduce oil production.

Maskne B, caused by friction, needs a little more TLC. You need to use a soft healing barrier product around the areas of irritation. The Ultra-Sensitive Face Balm dabbed into the skin before you mask up and repeatedly throughout the day is formulated for precisely these situations.

What else can I do to prevent Maskne?

  • Change your mask frequently;

  • Don't reuse disposable masks;

  • If you're wearing a mask regularly, invest in a quality, comfortable, breathable fabric mask – buy a few and wash them often. Mimco have a great cotton mask that is easy to wash, very comfy to wear and also supports a Women's charity;

  • Don't stop moisturising under your mask. If you have very sensitive skin, you are more at risk of Maskne B, so increase your moisturizer; and

  • If it gets really bad, make an appointment with your GP

Definitely wear a mask, so you are safe, but with a few steps, you can head off Maskne. For more information about QED Skincare, visit


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