How To Prevent Mask Acne

Mask acne is a type of acne that occurs when the pores beneath your mask are clogged. These types of breakouts often happen in areas where you wear a mask, such as around the nose and mouth. 

This problem is even more common now because everyone wears a face mask to protect themselves and others from Covid-19. 

The best way to prevent this from happening is by using a moisturizer with salicylic acid every day, removing your makeup at night, and wearing natural masks instead of those made from synthetic materials.

Disposable vs. Reusable Masks For Acne

It seems like masks are a part of everyday life for all of us now. While they may keep germs out, they keep bacteria in. While this bacteria is certainly less harmful than Covid-19, it’s still a hassle. 

The best way to prevent mask acne is by washing your face before you put on a new mask. This ensures that the pores are clean and devoid of dead skin cells or bacteria, clogging them up if left alone. 

If there’s no time for an initial wash, make sure to wipe down the area with alcohol after removing it, so as not to leave any hard-to-remove makeup behind. 

You can also opt for a disposable mask. These are best for always having a clean mask, but they are not suitable for the environment.

How to prevent mask acne

It’s easy to get a pimple on the part of your skin where you wear your next new face mask. This is called “mask acne.” If this problem sounds familiar, make sure to wash off any makeup before putting on a new one; otherwise, the pores will clog up and be unable to breathe.

Also, use a moisturizer with salicylic acid every day, and don’t forget about disposable vs. reusable masks when making future purchases. 

You may also want to try out natural, or even homemade masks, for an alternative way of avoiding breakouts caused by synthetic materials that most stores carry nowadays. No matter what, though, remember not to go to bed with your makeup on!

Apply Acne Treatment Products To Affected Skin

Using an acne treatment product with a higher concentration of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid is ideal for this purpose, such as Proactiv’s green tea triple lipid complex and Neutrogena’s rapid clear spot gel

Since applying treatments to your face with a face mask on can be difficult, please make sure to cleanse and dry your skin prior to dressing it with a topical agent. This will ensure the product can penetrate the pores and not be wiped off by sweat or dirt from a mask. 

If you don’t use an acne treatment, then simply cleansing with warm water should do just fine, as it can remove any excess oils that could prevent deep pore penetration of ingredients in masks, such as Bentonite clay. 

If you’re worried about irritation, try applying a thin layer of cucumber slices over your face to soothe irritated skin before using a facial mask.

Remove Makeup Before Going To Bed

Before going to bed, remove your makeup. This will help prevent clogged pores, blackheads, and acne. 

If you are wearing a lot of makeup, it may be helpful to use an oil-based remover that takes more time, but helps dissolve the oils in the skin better, making it easier for your cleanser or soap/water to take it all off!

Drink Plenty of Water To Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day for hydration purposes. When you are dehydrated, your body will do whatever it can to retain moisture in the tissues. This includes holding onto sebum (oil) and not letting go of clogged pores, leading to acne production. 

This issue is even worse when wearing a mask, as you are not allowing your skin to breathe. 

In addition, drinking plenty of water will help the body flush out any toxins from the day and reduce inflammation that can lead to acne issues. All of this together will help your skin stay clear of acne issues.

Avoid touching your face as much as possible 

The skin around the mouth and nose is very sensitive and prone to whiteheads, so it’s essential to wash your face thoroughly after a workout or any other time you get dirty. 

You should also avoid touching your face when brushing teeth, drying off with a towel, combing hair, etc., because these daily activities will damage the top layers of skin, preventing acne from forming in that area! 

Finally, always clean your hands before applying makeup because dirt particles on the fingers can quickly transfer onto the makeup tools and then rub them into the pores while performing your beauty routine. 

This would lead to blackheads and zits developing around those specific areas where makeup has been applied (for example, eyes).


While wearing a face mask has been instrumental in slowing the spread of Covid-19, they can lead to acne, due to clogging pores with oils, bacteria, and dirt. 

We recommend always washing your face after wearing a mask in order to mitigate acne breakouts. If you have suffered from chronic acne since you began wearing a face mask using a facial cleanser will help them get better results without spending much money on expensive treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I wash my face mask?

It’s a good rule of thumb to wash your face mask about once a week. However, if you wear it every day, you should wash your mask at least twice a week. If you are around many ill people, such as in a hospital, you should wash it daily.

What is the best face mask to prevent acne?

The best masks for facial acne are made out of natural cotton and have copper and silver particles. These masks help kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses on contact. Make sure to use a mask that has at least 20% or more copper and silver particles. These masks are very inexpensive, so it is easy to find them online.

Can face masks damage your skin?

If you wear a mask, it can irritate your skin. The skin will chafe and become raw. It is like rug burn. Over time, wearing a tight-fit mask can cause the skin to break and become inflamed. To prevent this, make sure you do not wear a tight-fitting mask for extended periods of time.

Originally Published: November 07, 2021

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.

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