N95 face mask breakouts and how to beat them

Posted on: January 20, 2021


Living in the new normal has changed our routines a whole lot. Over the past few months, we’ve seen major lifestyle changes - everything from travel, work, social interactions, and yes, mask wearing! But with regular N95 mask usage, your skin experiences rashes, irritation and inflammations from pores that get clogged due to moisture build-up. All this can trigger reactions in your skin and cause mask acne or maskne.

Let’s go skin deep so you get to understand what causes it. Maskne is the kind of acne that is triggered by regular usage of N95 face masks and can come in many forms like bumps, breakouts, pimples, inflammation, redness etc. It is also called acne mechanica which is caused due to repetitive friction, rubbing, stretching, squeezing on the surface of the skin. It is also different from other kinds of acne because it shows up mainly in the area where the mask sits against the face.

A little rundown of how maskne occurs

Once you’ve got your face N95 mask on, it almost feels like the heat has been turned up on the covered portion of your face. The increased humidity and sweating in this area leads to oil buildup and clogged pores which in turn forms a breeding ground for pimple-causing bacteria. In healthy skin, there is always a normal amount of bacteria and yeast that live on it but when pores get clogged due to humidity, moisture and excess sweat, that’s when the organisms surge into acne-causing bacteria, leading to breakouts with whiteheads, blackheads, painful pimples and pus-filled bumps.

All it takes is treating your skin right and a mix of careful precautions to keeping your skin maskne free.

1. Set a before and after routine.

Always remember to start and end your day with a clean slate and this goes for masks too! Before putting on your mask and after taking it off, make sure to wash your face with gentle skin care products. Throughout the day, your skin builds up bacteria, pollutants, dirt, dead skin and other unwanted debris, if you go without washing your face, these particles will continually cover your face, along with your face mask. That’s why regular cleansing is important for clean, clear and maskne free skin!

2. Don’t forget to clean your mask.

Apart from using face care products to tackle maskne, it is equally important to wash your Non disposable mask as well. Do this not just to prevent the spread of germs but also to rinse out the accumulated bacteria, sweat, oil and all other grime that gets soaked into the fabric of the mask.

Health care officials recommend washing your face mask every time it is used, since bacteria can stay on it for up to 7 days. Plus cleaning your mask is a pretty simple task, all you need to do is soak the mask in hot water and laundry detergent to eliminate unwanted bacteria.

3. Mask up wisely!

It is definitely better to wear a mask that fits snugly on your face. This prevents saliva or any other respiratory droplets - ones that come from breathing, talking, sneezing, coughing - from getting in the air and potentially transmitting other people. However, a mask that is too tight can also trap in sweat and bacteria inside, excessively increasing your chances of getting maskne. But one that is too loose won’t do any good either. The best choice for a mask is one that fits comfortably.

4. Keep makeup to a minimum

One of the plus points of wearing a mask is the need for minimal makeup. If you are prone to maskne, then less is more when it comes to wearing makeup under your mask covering. So ditch the heavy, pore clogging foundation and concealers and just let your skin breathe. Even ultra-light make up needs to be thoroughly washed off at the end of the day. Make sure you are scrubbing it all off with the correct skin care face wash. If you have normal to oily skin then the CLEAN & CLEAR® foaming facewash is perfect for you. It removes make-up and treats the pores to a deep cleanse, whisking away impurities without stripping the skin off its natural oils. If your skin type falls between dry and sensitive, CLEAN & CLEAR® Pimple Clearing Face Wash is tailored for you. It goes skin deep to hydrate, smooth and nourish all the while rinsing off debris and makeup.


Now you know that maskne, although a very pesky condition, doesn’t have to be the end all for your skin. With the right skin products, maskne won’t stand a chance! Just remember to always wash your hands, face and mask - 3 simple rules to getting that maskne free, clean and clear skin.