How to Stay Safe from Mask Acne – CheMondis Explains.

Wearing a face mask is a crucial part to reduce the spreading of infectious diseases, especially the Covid-19 infection. In fact, it contributes not only to protect each individual from Covid-19 but drastically reduces the spread of the virus around populations.

We are all wearing the masks responsibly and some of you may have noticed that your skin is suffering a little.  The reason for this is that wearing a mask can potentially unbalance the skin barrier for people who have a high number of oil glands on their face.

You know the issue? This article might help you to stay pretty under the mask.

What Is Mask Acne?

Originally, acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a skin disease that occurs when dead skin cells and oil from the skin clog hair follicles. Main characteristics of this condition include pimples, oily skin, and most probably scarring. It primarily affects skin with a relatively high number of oil glands, including the face, upper part of the chest and/or the back.

Referring to that, Mask acne or “Maskne” is a disease that occurs when wearing a mask because your skin becomes irritated at specific areas of the face such as the upper lips, cheeks, and jaw. Not everybody is affected by mask acne. It seems that people with a high number of oil glands are more exposed to it than those with lower numbers. 

Causes of Mask Acne.

Mask acne might appear because of diverse reasons.

First, it might occur due to the material of the mask such as polyester lining for fabric masks and rough fabrics. In fact, polyester is not as absorbent as cotton and could lead to an aggregation of bacteria under the mask. Sweat during hot days could also get trapped under the mask and rough fabrics might be quite irritating for the skin which could fragilize the skin barrier.

Another reason might be the usage of the same disposable mask for several times. In fact, disposable masks are meant to be used only once and to be thrown away after usage.

Moreover, Mask acne could occur when reusable masks are not alternated and washed regularly. Therefore, it contributes to the proliferation of bacteria under the mask and favors the appearance of acne.

Different Ways to Treat Your Skin.

Fortunately, there are several ways to treat mask acne. Using different skin-care products containing specific ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, sulfur, salicylic acid. Also, Petroleum jelly products such as Vaseline are useful for the skin because of their healing properties.

What Are the Chemical Compounds and their Advantages?

Benzoyl peroxide or (BzO)2 is an oxidizer which is used as a medication. It is mostly used to treat acne, by killing bacteria underneath the skin, as well as helping the pores shed dead skin cells and excess sebum (oil). Indeed, Benzoyl peroxide is on the WHO List of Essential Medicines.

Salicylic acid is a lipophilic monohydroxybenzoic acid and a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) with molecular formula C7H6O3. Salicylic acid as a medication is used mostly to help remove the outer layer of the skin. As such it is used to treat acne.

Glycolic acid or hydroxyacetic acid or C2H4O3 is the smallest alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). This colorless, odorless crystalline solid is highly soluble in water. It is used in diverse skin-care products as a chemical peel. Once applied, glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This contributes to the exfoliation of the stratum corneum, exposing live skin cells.

Sulfur (specifically octasulfur, S8) is used in pharmaceutical skin preparations for the treatment of acne. It permits to kill bacteria, fungi, scabies mites and other parasites. Precipitated sulfur and colloidal sulfur are used in form of lotions, creams, powders, soaps  and bath additives  for the treatment of acne.

Other Ways to Fight Mask Acne?

Mask Acne could potentially be avoided by:

  • Using washable and alternating reusable masks or using disposable masks
  • Avoiding touching the face with your hands
  • Simplifying your skincare routine with efficient products containing specific chemical ingredients against mask acne
  • Avoiding a lot of products with fragrance inside for your face because it might lead to irritation.

Now It Is up to You.

Stress less about mask acne and remember to wear a mask contributes not only to protect you from infectious diseases but also protect other people! 😊 You have other tips against mask acne? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Thank you for taking the time to read the CheMondis blog.


  • Aslam I, Fleischer A, Feldman S (March 2015). “Emerging drugs for the treatment of acne”. Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs (Review). 20 (1): 91–101. doi:10.1517/14728214.2015.990373. PMID 25474485.
  • Bhate K, Williams HC (March 2013). “Epidemiology of acne vulgaris”. The British Journal of Dermatology (Review). 168 (3): 474–85. doi:10.1111/bjd.12149. PMID 23210645.
  • Tuchayi SM, Makrantonaki E, Ganceviciene R, Dessinioti C, Feldman SR, Zouboulis CC (September 2015). “Acne vulgaris”. Nature Reviews. Disease Primers. 1: 15033. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2015.33. PMID 27227877.
  • Dr. Dray – Tips for acne breakouts while wearing a mask:
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (1999): “Benzoyl peroxide”. in Re-evaluation of Some Organic Chemicals, Hydrazine and Hydrogen Peroxide. Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, number 71, pages 345–358. ISBN 92 832 1271 1  
  • World Health Organization (2019). World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 21st list 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization. hdl:10665/325771. WHO/MVP/EMP/IAU/2019.06. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

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