Unmask Your Best Skin Yet: How To Fix 5 Mask-Related Skin Problems

Posted by Dr. Patrick Proffer on June 15, 2021

For many Americans, masks and face coverings continue to be an everyday part of life. Even as mask mandates are ending, there are still many places in town where masks are required to enter, from banks to doctors offices.

Masks may have its perks, like keeping people from spreading germs, but they can wreak havoc on your skin. They can exacerbate skin problems or cause new problems to show up. It can be discouraging to have to comply with a rule that you know is causing you to experience skin issues! 

Good news: it IS possible to wear a mask and have healthy skin. You may need to make some simple adjustments to your skincare routine to eliminate skin issues caused by masking. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common skin issues associated with face coverings and how to address them!


1. Mask-Related Acne, Aka “Maskne”

“Maskne” may have a clever name, but it’s a frustrating reality for a lot of mask-wearers. Many people have developed zits all along their chin line, cheeks, and nose. So what’s the cause of this breakout?

Sense of bewilderment. Young woman in empty city street wearing protective mask. Girl with face mask feeling alone during a pandemic.

As you breathe, your mask holds in water particles. This is great for minimizing the spread of germs, but the extra humidity doesn’t do your skin any good. These trapped particles cause pores to open up and become clogged. Humidity isn’t something many of us are used to here in the Texas Panhandle, which makes this even more challenging on your skin. 

How To Treat Maskne:

If you wear reusable masks, be sure to wash them after every use. Disposable masks and reusables can both be changed throughout the day so that you’re not keeping the same dirty material on your face all day. 

If you get sweaty, take a quick mask break to wipe your skin with a cleansing wipe and replace your mask with a new one. 

Treating mask-related acne requires a great skin-care routine. Be sure to wash your face every night, even if you haven’t had a good habit of face washing in the past. (This is even more important if you wear make-up under your mask.) 

SkinMedica, which is available from the Spa at Proffer Surgical, offers a proven three-step anti-acne system that can be a great solution to stubborn acne from your mask.


2. Rashes

Have you ever taken your mask off only to find a sensitive red rash along your chin, cheeks, or nose? Some people, especially those with sensitive skin, may experience this almost every time they put on a mask.

Young woman scratching face on light background. Annoying itch

If you find yourself with a red facial rash that isn’t acne, you are likely experiencing a reaction to friction. That’s more likely than having an allergic reaction to the mask materials. Some materials are more scratchy than others, irritating skin each time you move.

How To Avoid Mask Rashes:

Try different mask materials in case the cause of your rash is an allergic reaction. Masks that are 100% cotton work well and are less likely to irritate your skin, compared to cheaper disposable masks.

If you have a skin rash, washing your face too frequently can cause more problems. Using a gentle cleanser like EltaMD’s Foaming Cleanser to clean your skin without causing further irritation. 

You may need to avoid some skin products while masking up, because fragrances, anti-aging formulas, and conditioning treatments can also become an irritant when combined with humidity behind your mask. 

Try to avoid the amount of product you put on when you know you’re going to be wearing a mask. It’s not like other people will see you without makeup anyway!


3. Dry and Flaky Skin

Another problem people often face with masks is dry, flaky skin. This problem becomes especially apparent when you put on makeup.

skin care concept. woman unhappy with her skin
Your skin could look fine without anything on it and look like a desert when you spread concealer over your cheeks.

This can happen because certain masks absorb the natural oils on your face that keep your skin soft and healthy. If you don’t apply moisturizer often, you’re at a higher risk for dry skin from masks.

How To Treat Excessively Dry Skin:

If your mask is leaving your skin dry and flaky, be sure to apply a moisturizer before and after wearing your mask. We love SkinCeuticals’ Daily Moisture cream for this common mask issue! 

Keeping moisturizer in your bag or at your workstation can help you consistently moisturize your skin and address dryness and flakiness. Choose moisturizers with ceramides that rehydrate skin and avoid any with high levels of ethanol, which worsens skin dryness. 

For some people, although certainly not everyone, make-up under a mask can create additional dryness. Avoiding makeup could help address this problem as well.

4. Dry, Chapped Lips

Just like dry skin, dry lips are unfortunately a common mask issue—and for the same reason as well. 

Lip augmentation. Beautiful girl touching her lips

While some people may experience less chapped lips because masks protect lips from harsh winds, you may find yourself with cracked or peeling lips more often on days when you have to wear a mask.

How To Treat Chapped Lips:

Treat chapped lips using high-quality lip balms or a product like Obagi Derma Power X Lip Essence.

Once your chapped lips have healed, you can prevent the problem from recurring by regularly applying petroleum jelly to your lips. You can do this after you wash your face, before and after you wear your mask, during mask breaks, and before bed. 

Be sure to avoid getting petroleum jelly on the rest of your face, as it can cause breakouts.


5. Tan Lines (or Sunburn!) Around the Mask

This one is really annoying. If you are required to wear a mask while working outdoors, you may find yourself dealing with tan lines—or even worse, sunburn lines! 

When you take off your mask, you never want the outline of your mask to remain.

How To Address Mask Tan Lines Or Sunburns:

The best way to deal with sunburn or tan lines around the mask is to prevent them. Applying sunscreen to your face on a daily basis is already one of the best things you can do for your skin. 

Your mask is actually preventing sun exposure to the sensitive skin of your face, so that is one thing you can be thankful for! But you still need to protect the rest of your exposed skin, including your forehead, cheeks, and the tops of your ears. 

Neocutis offers a great Revitalizing Day Cream that includes 30 SPF. 


Keep The Mask. Skip The Skin Problems.

Fed up with poor, aging skin? We know where you’re coming from. At the Spa at Proffer Surgical, we have talked with countless women and men who are at their wits end regarding mask-related skin issues. 

If wearing a mask is making your skin feel itchy, uncomfortable, painful, or unattractive, you are not alone. We understand the helplessness you feel about something that seems out of your control. 

Portrait of beautiful woman touching skin or applying cream

You will feel your best when your skin feels healthy. If your mask is getting in the way of healthy skin, let’s talk about your options. The Spa at Proffer Surgical offers medical-grade skincare products and rejuvenating facial treatments. 

Masking for work, school, or health concerns shouldn’t leave you with problem skin. And with our support, it won’t. Request an appointment today to find the skincare solutions to your mask-related skin concerns! 

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Topics: Skin care, Spa