5 Tips To Fight Back Against Maskne…and Win!


So, just when we figured out how to deal with the acne of our youth and get the clear skin we all craved, we all got smacked in the face with another gift from 2020: maskne.

If you haven’t suffered from this mask-induced, pore-clogging nightmare – good for you. For the rest of us who have found that masks are creating a whole new strain of acne that typical breakout clearing methods just aren’t working for, keep reading – because this one’s for you.


What’s The Deal With Maskne?

I’ve asked myself this questions time and time again as I’ve discovered yet another zit growing under the surface of my skin like Leviathan.

Fact is, masks are creating a breeding ground for skin bacteria for a couple of clear reasons (pardon the pun):

1. Your Skin Can’t Breathe (as well):

I have found that letting skin breath is one of the best ways to help skin balance ph-levels all on its own. Letting your skin be naked when you’re not doing anything and staying away from skin-clogging products with ingredients like silicone help, too. But, when you’re wearing a face mask that is a.) pressing against your skin, where sweat and makeup can mix and become besties and b.) reducing fresh air circulation, we are limiting our skin’s natural ability to breathe.

2. You Sweat More:

Maybe this is just me, but when I wear that mask, I sweat more underneath it than I do when I don’t wear it. Even if I don’t put any makeup on, this means your skin is sweating and can’t air out. Again, just allows for a lot more pore-clogging, skin suffocating, bacteria breading breakouts to occur.

This is especially true if you are doing things while wearing your masks that increase your heart rate and make you sweat more, either from a very active job or from short workouts like pilates.

3. You Stress More:

Stress can really impact the skin, as we all know, and having to be out in the world right now, wearing a mask, and facing all of the additional stressors that 2020 has brought to our lives, is stressful.

Plain and simple, stress absolutely effects our skin and that means: maskne.

So, What Can We Do About Maskne?


As soon as I started having flashbacks to my college days of adult acne, I started busting out my arsenal of acne-fighting products, only to be discouraged when… they weren’t really working.

I knew it was time to get creative and figure out some new ways to deal with my skin (and brought back some old ways, too).

1. Lighten Up:

I love using layers of serums and moisturizers every night, often trying new products all the time, both from brands that send them to me (I LOVE YOU!) and from all the beauty boxes I subscribe to.

But, lately, I’ve been really careful to stick to very lightweight products and limiting myself to just a couple at night. Sometimes, I’ll just do a thin layer of one and that’s it. The more I slather on, the less my skin can breathe and the more I wake up with a pizza face. No thanks.

It’s time to lighten up, ladies. Here are some tips:

  • Keep hair off your face to reduce oil transfer
  • Don’t wear makeup whenever you can, especially under your mask
  • Lighten up your skin care products – aka avoid those heavy winter creams

Here are some of my favorite lighter products that still work well. Affiliate links are used below:

2. Treat Skin Daily:

This is something I’ve done before, but got out of the habit with when it wasn’t necessary. Now, I have to be vigilant. This is war, people.

Every day I do a thin layer of salicylic acid gel all around the area that the masks lays, including the bridge of my nose. This goes underneath everything else, so it sits right on top of the skin.

Every night, I do the layer of salicylic acid gel or a benzoyl peroxide and then I do a spot treatment by Mario Bedascu that I find to be HIGHLY effective. It looks weird, but it works! You do NOT mix the solution and then dip a Q-tip all the way through to the bottom. Dab the Q-tip on your active zits or where you feel them rising up from the depth of your skin. You’ll look like you have chicken pox, but it’s okay, it will work.

Then, KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF YOUR FACE. The dab treatment will help with this, too.

Also, I’ve started using some little acne patches during the day on specific areas where I know something is growing, but can’t see it yet.

All of these solutions are pretty affordable and will last awhile.

3. Exfoliate More:

That’s right, start sloughing off that top layer off skin. I love using a cleansing brush at night when I wash my face. A good clay mask is great for drawing out impurities. And, of course, a cleanser with a gentle exfoliant helps, too.

Do this every day to help encourage skin turnover and purge impurities that are causing breakouts.

Then, layer on your acne gel, followed by a light cream and be done.

4. Glycolic Pads are my LIIIIIIIFE:

Listen, I love these things. I am ADDICTED. I’ve used several brands and they all seem good, so grab what is on sale. I’m sharing brands I’ve tried below, but I’m sure there are more good ones.

You just swipe these all over, except not too close to your eyes. They tingle a bit. Wait two minutes. Then, follow with your day lotion.

That’s it. So easy, so good. So exfoliating.

But, don’t use these every day or you could start to dry out. Every other day is good.

5. Watch Your Diet:

No fun, I know. But, when I start eating more sugar, gluten, garbage food, take out, and all the other things that taste absolutely delicious – I pay for it, with my skin (and my hips, but that’s for a different post…).

If you are breaking out, it’s time to start reducing the inflammatories in your diet and start chugging the water. Buy yourself a cute water bottle and just carry it around like it’s your child.

Sounds easier than it is, I know, but the minute I start removing things like dairy, sugar, and other foods that create inflammation for me, I start to see my body heal itself, my skin included.

Remember, you can’t trade in your body for a new one. Take care of it.


That’s it. Nothing is going to be 100% effective in strange times like this, but I am finding that this new routine is helping a great deal.

Do not take maskne lying down. We can fight back! Of all the things we have had to deal with this year, maskne does NOT have to be one of them!

I’d love to hear your tips for how you are fighting back against maskne! Share them in the comments below!

Have a fabulous day,



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  1. December 22, 2021 / 12:10 am

    This is such a fabulous post. So informative and detailed .Very helpful! Cheers!

    • Erica
      December 28, 2021 / 1:04 pm

      Thanks Sofia – I hope it helps you win the fight against maskne!

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