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Mask Acne Doesn’t Have to be the “NewNorm”

This new facial ‘pandemic’ that many of us are suffering from is the result of something called Acne Mechanica. This type of acne is caused by friction, increased heat and/or pressure. It is really common among athletes and dancers where sports clothing or protective wear can rub, and it is also exacerbated by sweating.

 Since face coverings rub and irritate the skin too, they can also result in this condition. So, if your skin is already prone to breakouts then wearing a face covering will amplify the condition. A mask also traps the breath which causes an increase in humidity and temperature in this region.

As the skin temperature increases as we’ve seen in some hot Dubai afternoons, that same combination of friction and heat accelerates oil and cell production making us sweat which can result in clogging and congestion on the skin. This warm, wet environment is the ideal breeding ground for Cutibacterium Acnes which is bacteria commonly associated with inflamed and infected breakout lesions in acne conditions.

Initially the skin may feel rough, but it gradually becomes bumpy, and then starts to develop more blackheads and painful lesions.

What are we to do about it ?

Firstly, those who suffer should be sure that they are wearing a clean mask or face covering each day. Reusable fabric face coverings should be washed and left to dry thoroughly.  

Trying to reduce bacterial build-up is beneficial for the skin but also ensures essential hygiene necessary for controlling coronavirus risks, too.

Avoid wearing make-up underneath a mask if at all possible. Makeup plus trapped heat is one way street to clogged pores.

A face wash with salicylic acid is an excellent choice as it reduces clogging and has an anti-inflammatory action, such as Dermalogica’s Clearing Skin Wash or try a balancing probiotic cleanser like Active Clay Cleanser

Next you want to create a barrier between your skin and your mask. Keeping skin hydrated with a light or mattifying moisturiser which will improve the skin’s barrier help regulate sebum production and reduce irritation. Dermalogica’s Active Moist is a great option. 

When choosing a spot treatment opt for a less drying formula like Dermalogica’s Age Bright Spot Fader, which can add to skin irritation when friction and rubbing are a concern. Breakouts are not the only concern though. Irritant contact dermatitis or eczema can develop in these pressure areas where masks or face coverings abrade the skin. Apart from red and sensitive patches, skin can even become raw and weeping. 

To ease discomfort and pain, restore your lipid barrier with soothing barrier products such as Barrier Repair, and keep your product regimens simple. Avoid artificially fragranced products, or those with astringent botanicals, as not only will they sting on application, but they can increase redness and aggravate the sensitivity.

Look out for beta-glucan from oats or oat kernel oil, which is excellent at reducing inflammation, soothing irritation and restoring the natural skin barrier. At Mojo Beauty Bar we offer organic facials, one type of organic facial we offer contains oats thus being the perfect remedy.

Vitamin B5, also known as panthenol, is particularly good at promoting healing of this tender skin thus consider a supplement for added benefits.


Support the skin with hyaluronic acid and plant oils rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and essential lipids such as avocado, sunflower and chia seed oil. Moisturisers, light facial oils and nourishing masques could all prove beneficial as the inflammation reduces.

It may be some time before we can be out and about without the need for face coverings but maskne doesn’t have to be the “newnorm”. Skincare should be the focus here.

Shop Dermalogica products at Mojo or better yet come in for consultation and a Dermalogica facial that is specially catered to you by our Dermalogica certified facialists. Ask for Grace or Marilou!

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