Keeping your face healthy when wearing a mask and goggles

Keeping your face healthy when wearing a mask and goggles

Have you heard of Mask-ne ?

Neither had we! Until we’ve all started experiencing it due to the corona virus pandemic!

So let’s talk about why people are starting to experience acne and skin irritation due to wearing masks lately …

Acne is a condition that is caused when the pilosebaceous unit (follicles) in the skin become blocked, inflamed, and bacterial hotspots. It can range from a few pimples to severe cases. There are many factors that contribute to causing acne such as hormones, environment, cosmetics and lifestyle.

Although absolutely necessary, mask wearing exposes your skin to many of these factors which acne could thrive off, such as moisture, heat and bacteria. Add makeuo, friction and irritation in the mix and you have yourself an even worse case of ‘iso-skin’ !

So how can we help at Skin Revival? …

HOMECARE! As your skin changes, your homecare may also need to slightly change. We offer product consultations to prescribe the correct product to you. Ensure you are both cleansing and hydrating your skin daily, especially after a day of mask wearing to remive bacteria! There are some serums that can repair irritation and work on un-clogging the pores also.

DON’T TOUCH! Touching your skin adds so much unwanted bacteria. Don’t be tempted to pick or squeeze either, instead, look into a
TREATMENT that can help with acne and inflammation such as …

  • LED light therapy
  • Resurfacing enzymes
  • Hydrating infusions

Prolonged wearing of masks and goggles can cause adverse skin reactions such as acne, contact dermatitis and pressure effects, as well as exacerbating any underlying skin conditions.

Keep your facial skin care regime simple

Use a mild skin cleanser (or soap substitute) or micellar water at the beginning and end of each day

  • Avoid toners, which can dry out the skin
  • Moisturise regularly
  • Simple formulations are best. Avoid fragranced products
  • Start with a less greasy lotion before progressing to a greasier cream if tolerated
  • Your sunscreen can be your moisturiser
  • Anti-aging skin care products containing glycolic acids or retinoids can be very irritating, especially when the skin barrier is damaged or compromised.


  • Apply a moisturising lotion at least 30 minutes before mask wearing to lubricate and reduce friction between the skin and the mask
  • Try and minimise time wearing a mask as much as possible and give your skin a break for 5 minutes every few hours


Contact Dermatitis

Increased temperature, moisture and friction cause skin barrier damage and make the skin more susceptible to irritation. This may cause mild redness and dryness where the mask touches the skin. Allergy from masks is very uncommon. Irritant contact dermatitis is nearly always the cause.

  • Change brand or type of mask if irritant contact dermatitis occurs. Try a softer variety.
  • Put two layers of gauze or tissue inside the mask where irritation occurs. It is essential that the mask is re-fitted after this.
  • Treat irritant contact dermatitis with moisturiser, not too greasy at first.
  • Consider using a greasier moisturiser at night
  • With more sever irritant dermatitis, low strength topical steroids can be used, starting with 0.5%-1% hydro-cortisone cream available over the counter, or 1% hydro-cortisone ointment if the skin is dry.
  • If allergy is still suspected, refer to a dermatologist for patch testing.

Acne can be caused by occlusion from masks blocking oil glands and hair follicles. Sebum (oil) will be enhanced by increased temperature in the facial environment.

  • Avoid greasy skin care products. Go easy on moisturisers
  • Use a mild cleanser. Consider products with salicylic acid or anti-bacterial agents such as benzyl peroxide gel, or azelaic acid. They may be marketed as ‘acne cleansing gels’
  • Why toners may help to dry out the skin in this instance, some experts feel that the drying effect can be excessive and harmful to the skin barrier.
  • Avoid comedogenic or occlusive make up. Mineral makeup may be preferable.


Pressure from the mask can cause skin indentation

  • Most indentation will resolve spontaneously
  • Use of a hydrocolloid dressing may help protect the skin eg Duoderm
  • Apply compresses with three to four layers of gauze soaked in cold water / normal saline applied to the skin for around 20 minutes every 2-3 hours
  • With severe indentation, compresses with Betadine diluted by normal saline at a ratio of 1:9 can be used on the face, with a medical dressing afterwards. Moisturisers can be applied to intact skin while prescription topic antibiotic ointments may be used if the skin is broken.
  • Avoid using hot water, ethanol or other irritants
  • If pressure from goggles is the main problem, switch to a visor

May be caused by various skin conditions or may be simply due to friction from the mask. Itching from longer loose fine fibres on the side of the mask has occurred in some cases. These can be identified with a magnifier and side light and snipped off. Dry skin is itchy skin.

  • Treat dry skin
  • Oral antihistamines can be trialled


Increased temperature, moisture and friction cause skin barrier damage. This may subsequently lead to dry skin.

  • Ensure moisturisers are used before and after wearing a mask


Rarely, urticaria may be caused by pressure from masks, particularly in people with underlying dermographism (where there is histamine release causing skin whealing in response to light pressure.)

  • Avoid tying masks too tight
  • Try different types or brands of masks
  • Take antihistamines before use such as fexofenadine, cetirizine or loratidine, all available over the counter.


Information contained in this document is provided by The Australian Collage of Dermatologists