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Masks are an invaluable measure in limiting the spread of COVID-19, helping us stay safe in the face of a global pandemic. However, frequent or prolonged mask wearing can lead to ‘maskne’, a phenomenon where previously trouble-free complexions become prone to acne, especially for those with an oily skin type.

If you’ve been experiencing uncomfortable side effects like maskne, redness and chaffing, you’re not alone. The good news is there are steps you can take to care for and help minimise discomfort from maskne. Taking the time to implement skincare for maskne by incorporating a facial cleanser and moisturiser with ceramides can help manage skin prone to maskne.

What is maskne?

You’ve likely heard the term being thrown around, but exactly what is a maskne-prone complexion and what does it look like? This term doesn’t have a scientific definition, but instead refers to new instances of skin prone to oiliness and mild acne in correlation with frequent mask wearing. Maskne blemishes can include whiteheads and larger inflamed pimples and occur most commonly around the mouth, chin and cheeks where the mask covers the face. These blemishes are often accompanied by redness.

Why does maske happen?

Face masks seal in warm, moist air with little opportunity for air circulation around your delicate facial skin. Bacteria can also become trapped under your mask. These factors combine to create conditions that can trigger skin prone to clogged pores and blemishes.

Some masks also subject the skin to friction and pressure, which can trigger redness, chaffing and discomfort over time. Mask edges rub up against the face during speech, and tight-fitting areas around the nose can put pressure on the skin.

With prolonged and frequent use, friction from your mask can lead to sensitised skin causing a damaged skin barrier. If your symptoms are not manageable, we recommend speaking with a healthcare professional for further advice.


How to prevent maskne?

Wearing a face mask for prolonged periods will never be a pleasant experience, but making a few adjustments to your usual skincare routine can go a long way to help minimise mask-related skin side effects.

Follow the below tips from the CeraVe skin experts to reap the benefits of ceramides and other targeted ingredients to help minimise the effects of maskne and optimally care for your skin.

Strip back your skincare and beauty regime

Maskne skincare should be as simple as possible, with a focus on gentle formulas and chemical exfoliating ingredients to help minimise clogged pores and blemishes. Seek out comforting, minimalistic formulas and treat your skin gently during your skincare regime to minimise any further friction. If you usually use active skincare or retinoids, pausing these ingredients may be a good idea while your skin is off balance.


Use a gentle face mask

When you're thinking about how to cleanse skin prone to maskne, look for a formula that can simultaneously help avoid clogged pores and hydrate your skin.

If your skin is on the oily side, we recommend opting our CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser. Harnessing all the benefits of salicylic acid for oily and acne-prone skin, this formula helps remove dead skin cells and excess sebum before they can clog your pores, with the added benefit of ceramides to support your skin barrier.

If you have combination or normal to oily skin, we recommend using our CeraVe Foaming Cleanser. Enriched with three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, this cleanser foams to clean deeply while hydrating and respecting the skin barrier.

Strengthening your skin barrier with a non-comedogenic moisturiser

Your skin might feel dewy under your mask, but wearing a mask can also dry out your skin depending on your circumstances. We recommend protecting your complexion by using a light moisturiser on mask wearing days. Be sure to allow time for your moisturiser to absorb before donning your mask.

Your mask still leaves a large portion of your face exposed, so it’s important to use a moisturiser with SPF if you’ll be getting any sun exposure. Our CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion with SPF 15 combines sun protection with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to provide moisture and support for the skin’s barrier.

If you're experiencing maskne and dry skin without sun exposure, we recommend the CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion, a lightweight facial moisturiser with MVE 24 hour hydration.


For those with oily skin, our CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream pairs well with the CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser to target bumpy, blemish prone skin. Enriched with salicylic acid, this cream will help minimise the clogged pores that can evolve into blemishes.


Maskne tips for those who have to wear masks all day

Due to long hours wearing masks, certain workers are at increased risk of maskne and other mask related skin conditions. Here are our mask-wearing tips:

  • Avoid wearing makeup under your mask.
  • Try to take your regular mask-free breaks, when and if it's safe to do so.
  • Change your mask regularly and especially as soon as you notice it has become damp.
  • Cleanse your face gently as soon as possible after removing your mask.
  • Wash reusable masks after every use or everyday.

Health and safety measures can be just as taxing on the hands as they are on the face. Read our article How to Care for Dry Hands: Moisturising Tips to learn how to protect your hands from the effects of frequent sanitising and washing.

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