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How to prevent ‘mask acne’ while wearing your face mask



MINOT, N.D. – Wearing a mask can be uncomfortable. Whether it is disposable, reusable, cloth, or medical grade, wearing masks for long periods of time can pose problems of their own. Despite keeping us safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maskne, or mask acne, has become a problem for some who have to wear masks for long periods of time, but what exactly is mask acne? Nurse practitioner Ann Welch describes what is going on underneath your mask.

“Because it is holding in more heat, it’s harboring bacteria, it’s collecting all that sebum or that oil, and is causing people to have more of an acne break out,” said Welch.

Wearing the same mask over and over again can create a build of bacteria and dirt leading to acne breakouts. The simple solution would be to only wear disposable masks right?


“Formaldehyde is used as a preservative on masks. and formaldehyde is a very common irritant on our skin. and we have a lot of people that have what we call contact dermatitis or allergic dermatitis from that formaldehyde,” said Welch.

Dermatologists recommend that you wash your face masks as often as you can and to also wash your pillow cases.

They also recommend using a laundry detergent free of dyes and fragrances and to avoid fabric softener.

Washing your face twice a day with gentle facial cleanser helps, too.

“When you read that label that’s what the two terms you are looking for, fragrance free and gentle skin cleanser,” said Welch.

Regardless of the masks you wear, make sure you are paying attention to your skin’s needs and to take care of it the best you can.

If you have any questions or concerns about mask-acne please consult your dermatologist or physician.