Of all the “new normals” created by the coronavirus pandemic, the face mask might be the most ubiquitous. And we’re not talking about the luxurious spa treatment face mask; we’re talking about the loop-over-the-ears and look-like-a-ninja-with-just-your-eyes-showing face mask. We get it; these cloth face masks are necessary life-savers and an essential component of our new COVID reality.  BUT, they aren’t exactly a friend to our skin. The need to wear a face mask for hours on end, day after day can lead to a variety of skin problems, including dry patches, rosacea, eczema flare-ups, and “maskne”- or, ugh – acne caused by mask wearing skin irritation.

“Maskne” is real.  But there is good news: we can fight it!  Making simple changes to your skincare routine can help reverse those effects and prepare you for what is in our foreseeable future that requires facing the world in a cloth or plastic face mask.

“Maskne” and Other Skin Issues Caused by Face Masks

The main reason so many people are experiencing “maskne” (especially for those who haven’t dealt with acne before) is due to the humid environment created by wearing a cloth or plastic face mask for an extended period. Essentially, face masks are designed to contain your breath so that any droplets you expel do not threaten the health of others. As a result, the face covering creates a warm, moist environment that traps bacteria, dirt, and oils which can clog your pores and lead to acne.

Other skin complaints include redness, dry skin, itching, flaking, and even cracking. These skin conditions are also triggered by humidity and the physical irritation of the mask fabric rubbing against the skin.

Preventing and Treating “Maskne”

You might be frustrated with “maskne”, but you can’t ditch the mask. So, the next best way to prevent and treat breakouts is with a consistent skincare regimen and good mask hygiene.  Follow our tips, below!

Regular Facial Cleansing, Mask Laundering

By now, we’re all used to handwashing several times throughout the day. If you are experiencing facial breakouts due to masking, wash your face several times a day as well and give your skin a break as much as possible.  Even a 10 minute walk in fresh air with your mask off (if you can safely and socially-distanced accomplish it) will help.  If you are back to work, keep a pack of facial wipes at your desk so you can periodically swipe your face and remove any debris build-up. When you wash your face, be sure to use a gentle cleanser since harsh products can further exacerbate any skin issue. Keep your cloth masks clean and have an ample supply so you always have a fresh one on the ready (plus, you can always be mask fashion-forward!).

Prevention and Detox

Above normal skin cleansing, now more than ever you want to invest in high-quality skin care products that detox and purify skin.  Collagen masks are excellent treatments to combat the damaging effects associated with wearing a protective face mask every day.  Not only do they detoxify the skin, but they have the added benefits of soothing the skin, depuffing and fighting inflammation, and firming and toning your skin so you’re still able to achieve your skin goals despite the bummer of cloth masking.


Additional washing contributes to dry skin, which can then lead to further acne breakouts and other skin irritation. Keep your skin firm, healthy, and hydrated by following cleansing with a high-quality moisturizer or facial oil.


Keep in mind that stress is also a major trigger of acne and other skin issues. So, in addition to enhancing your skincare routine, make sure you are honoring your body and your mind by reserving moments to meditate, rest, and recharge. It is natural to feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed by the uncertainty and fear of a worldwide pandemic. However, taking the time to honor these feelings can ease their intensity.

KNESKO recommends giving yourself a complete self-care reset by indulging in a detoxifying charcoal treatment mask. Each Black Pearl Detox Mask from KNESKO is packed with activated bamboo charcoal and collagen and charged with Reiki energy to help rid the skin of mask-inducing breakouts and shore up your endurance to face the pandemic with clear eyes… and clear skin.

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