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Diagnosing, Treating and Preventing Maskne – with help from Dermatology Consultants

Wearing masks has become the new normal for the past 18 months. For many of us, masking up has also triggered an increase in a skincare issue known as “maskne.” Maskne (mask + acne) is the result of a humid environment under the mask that allows for an overgrowth of bacteria and irritation of the underlying skin.

While frustrating to deal with, maskne can be prevented – and treated – with proper skincare and in-office procedures from our providers at Dermatology Consultants.


When dealing with a breakout, many patients are often quick to jump to traditional acne treatments. However, maskne requires more than a one-size-fits-all treatment. It’s important to seek guidance from a dermatologist or physician’s assistant who can effectively diagnose and prescribe the optimal treatments and products.

When patients are seen for maskne, their symptoms and any other changes they are experiencing (i.e.: hormonal changes) are discussed. From there, the next steps are determined, whether that is bloodwork for additional information, in-office treatments, medical-grade products or a combination.

Let’s explore some common culprits behind maskne and some recommended at-home treatments for each specific condition:

Acne Mechanica

This type of acne is exasperated by the skin having close contact with something – in this case, a mask. We often see this happen amongst football players, as the chin strap can clog and irritate surrounding pores. Acne mechanica patients must make sure they’re properly cleansing their skin with a mild cleanser, such as Alastin’s Gentle Cleanser. If you’re experiencing a lot of clogged pores, it can be helpful to try a cleanser with alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid like SkinMedica’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.

Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin surrounding the mouth area. It’s often hormonally driven and most commonly seen among women. And while it can often resemble acne, the treatments for perioral dermatitis vary greatly from traditional acne. We like to treat this condition with a gentle cleanser  (Zo Skin Health Gentle Cleanser is a good one to consider) and if it’s a severe case, oral antibiotics. With perioral dermatitis, you should avoid using retinols or Retin-A – which are often recommended for acne patients – as these products can irritate the skin further.


Mask-wearing can often result in red and inflamed skin for rosacea patients, as your skin reacts to the heat and moisture under the mask. For these patients, it’s important to give your skin breaks – while maintaining a proper at-home regimen. Use a gentle cleanser (Revision’s Soothing Facial Rinse is a favorite among staff) and other calming, cosmeceutical products that soothe the skin (Zo Skin Health’s Hydrating Crème is a great moisturizer for reactive skin). If the condition warrants further treatment, a provider might prescribe a topical like Soolantra.


Maskne patients often benefit from a combination of at-home products and in-office treatments that work together to provide optimal results. At Dermatology Consultants, we offer many in-office procedures that are effective in treating acne-related conditions.

PRX T33 Chemical Peel

Acne patients are often wary about chemical peels. But this treatment isn’t your typical peel: it’s a gentle, year-round treatment (not sun-sensitive) that can benefit all skin types. There’s no downtime associated with this peel, with most patients only reporting light skin flaking. In addition to acne, PRX T33 is also beneficial for texture changes, scarring, crepey skin and stretch marks.

We like to perform this treatment once a week for four weeks for optimal results. Patients who partake in the four-week treatment will receive a take-home kit that includes a moisturizer and glycolic acid.

At Dermatology Consultants, we also offer a variety of other chemical peels that are suitable for acne patients, such as the Zo 3-Step Peel for texture, the Vi peel for darker complexions, the Mandelic Acid Peel for inflammation and Beta Peels for overall skin enhancement. Learn more about our full offering of chemical peels on our website or schedule a consultation.

Frozen C Cryotherapy

Have an upcoming event this weekend and dealing with problematic skin? Frozen C may be your last-minute solution. This no-downtime treatment takes your skin down to a temperature of -78 degrees Celsius, killing bacteria both on and beneath the skin. This improves the appearance of acne by reducing the associated redness and inflammation.

Frozen C also treats the root cause of acne by shrinking pores and sebaceous glands, which reduces oil production. Non-invasive and gentle on the skin, this treatment may be performed as often as once a week.


Acne patients often struggle with scarring and pigmentation left over from previous breakouts. Enter microneedling, the ultimate retexturing treatment. Microneedling uses very fine needles to puncture the skin and stimulate collagen and cell turnover. This results in a plumper, smoother complexion.

We offer many types of advanced microneedling treatments with or without radiofrequency at Dermatology Consultants, such as SkinPen, Vivace and Morpheus8. Microneedling treatments are typically performed once a month for optimal results.

At-Home Products

The effects of these treatments are further enhanced with medical-grade products, which patients can purchase in our office and use at home. A basic skincare regimen includes a cleanser, antioxidants, daily sun protection, retinol and moisturizer. A trained provider will then layer in more specific products for your skin and its needs.

For breakout-friendly cleansers, our team loves to use the skinbetter science Oxygen Infusion Wash or Revision’s Brightening Facial Wash, alternated with a gentle cleanser. Skinbetter science’s AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads are also great for travel. For antioxidants, we recommend Revision’s Vitamin C+ Correcting Complex 30% for daytime and ISDIN’s Melatonik Night Serum for bedtime.


Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you have to endure acne-related conditions. In addition to putting on a clean mask every day, customized products and treatments can help treat current acne or prevent future breakouts.

Don’t suffer maskne alone: let one of our specialists at Dermatology Consultants help you put together a customized treatment plan that targets your specific needs and skincare goals. That way, when it’s time to unmask, you can do so – with confidence.


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