Dealing with COVID-19 over the past year has brought several terms into our lexicon, including social distancing, pandemic, and asymptomatic carrier. Add another one to the list: maskne. This is acne that develops under areas of the face that are covered by a mask. 

The technical term is acne mechanica, which refers to skin irritation from excess heat, moisture, and pressure against the skin. Much like you may have experienced during your teenage years, there are simple ways to counter this phenomenon. 

Bronx Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has four ways to say goodbye to maskne and hello to clear skin.


  • Wash Your Face


Use a soap-free cleanser (like Cetaphil) or a daily face wash that’s designed to clear skin by removing the dirt and oil that cause breakouts by clogging pores. 


  • Use Moisturizer


A moisturizer, which should be fragrance-free, will act as a protective barrier between the mask and your skin and will also keep the skin hydrated. 


  • Avoid Makeup Under the Mask


Wearing makeup underneath your mask can add to the problem of clogged pores to go along with the oil, moisture, and friction that your skin is already trying to combat. 


  • Have the Right Mask and Wash It


If you’re using a cloth mask, make sure it’s 100% cotton; that will allow the skin to breathe more easily through it. You’ll also want to wash your mask daily (or switch it out for a new one) because sweat, bacteria, and oil will build up on the masks, especially if you touch them often. 


To learn more about Bronx Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and all of the services they offer, visit