Mascne – The Ultimate Guide


As if 2020 couldn’t get any worse, we now have ‘mascne’ (or maskne, mask-ne) to contend with – breakouts on cheeks or chin caused, or exacerbated by, the wearing of a face mask.

Dermatologically, mascne comes under the umbrella of ‘acne mechanica’, which is where breakouts are caused by heat, pressure or friction on the skin, and/or insufficient air exposure, which traps sweat, oil and dirt close to the skin.

While the skin understandably doesn’t love being covered up by a mask, needs must right now, so here are some simple skincare tips to try to prevent ‘mascne’.


The first stage of avoiding mask-related breakouts is to make sure your skin is squeaky clean at the start of the day, otherwise the oil, dirt and bacteria on your face will be trapped by the mask during the day.

Avoid cleansers that are too intense or drying, as these can compromise the skin’s barrier, which it’ll need now more than ever. Try something simple like the best-selling COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser or Mad Hippie’s Cream Cleanser.


Prevent pores from becoming blocked with sweat, oil and dirt by exfoliating the skin more frequently – perhaps three times a week, rather than once or twice.

The easiest way to do this is by using a toner with AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), BHA (salicylic acid) or PHAs (polyhydroxy acids).

Try Evolve’s Liquid Radiance Glycolic Toner if you’re after AHAs, or the Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner if you want BHA. Can’t decide? The COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner has a bit of both.

If you have sensitive skin, Benton PHA Peeling Toner is a great option.

Moisturise & Protect

It’s important to keep the skin moisturised still. Consider a moisturiser that contains ceramides, which actively help strengthen and repair the skin’s protective barrier, such as the COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream.

For an extra treat, put some Huangjisoo Centella Repairing Sheet Masks in the fridge and apply after cleansing in the evening for a refreshing, spa-like experience.

Caring for your mask

If you’re using a cotton, linen or silk mask, wash it daily; if you use disposable masks, replace them regularly, and always allow masks that are going to be worn again to air out properly.

While, of course, following the appropriate guidance for the situation you’re in, whenever you are a safe distance from others, for example at home, or in a park, remove your mask to air it out, and the skin it has been covering.

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