How to prevent and treat mask acne, or ‘maskne’

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Undoubtedly, the hottest new accessory of 2020 is the face mask — not just because they come in cute patterns, but because they save lives.

By now, most of us are familiar with the CDC’s recommendations when it comes to face masks (they should “include multiple layers of fabric,” fit snugly against the face and completely cover the nose and mouth, etc.).

But, what the organization (understandably) doesn’t account for is … what am I supposed to do about *gestures to face* all the acne my mask has wrought on my poor face?!

In The Know has put together a few tips on how to soothe your angry maskne (mask + acne) amid the global pandemic and how to properly care for your mask to avoid breakouts in the first place. Here’s what we recommend.

Credit: In The Know/Phoebe Zaslav

How to prevent maskne

Wash your mask properly.

First and foremost, it is crucial to actually wash your mask properly after each use. And I do not mean a mini dip underneath the faucet (yes, I am guilty of this). I mean really, actually, deeply cleaning it.

To do so, place your masks in a mesh laundry bag — so they don’t get tangled with your other clothes — before loading them into the washing machine.

Then, set the water temperature to high and add a detergent that contains disinfectant or even color-safe bleach to ensure you’re killing as many germs as possible.

Credit: In The Know/Phoebe Zaslav

If there’s makeup on the inside of your mask, you may want to scrub it with dish soap or a stain remover first before laundering as usual.

Dry your masks on the highest dryer setting or use direct sunlight to dry them. If you’re able to access an outdoor area or even a sunny window, it is best to allow masks to be exposed to sunlight to most effectively kill germs.

Of course, you should first check out the care instructions on your mask and follow them precisely. Machine washing is the way to go if you can, but if your mask has little appliqués or any fancy embroidery, hand washing with hot water and dish soap may be necessary.

Credit: In The Know/Phoebe Zaslav
Store your mask properly.

We all have a favorite mask — but she needs to be given a break sometimes, too, to preserve her quality and shape.

Try to have a few extra face masks on hand so they can be rotated — you should always always always have a fresh, clean mask on hand and ready to use.

If you’re going to re-wear a mask before you wash it, make sure you store it on a clean surface (for the love of all that is holy, don’t throw it in your purse or pocket) and take care to clean your hands before and after you take it off and put it back on.

How to treat maskne

So, it happened. You followed all of our tips and still, your face is erupting like Mount Vesuvius.

C’est la pandemic vie, unfortunately.

Still, this too shall pass — especially with a little bit of help from these trusted products.

Try incorporating a cleanser with Benzoyl peroxide — like our favorite Cerave face wash — into your daily skincare routine, followed by an astringent treatment, like Clean & Clear’s reliable formula.

You may also want to keep blotting sheets in your purse or wallet to soak up excess facial oil while out and about.

Credit: In The Know/Phoebe Zaslav

This powerful acne-fighting regimen should have your skin clear in no time.

If you enjoyed this article, check out more of our tips on curing your maskne.

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