Dealing with Maskne, Bacne, and Similar Breakouts

Susan Hoff
September 21, 2022

While masks are no longer required, many people still deal with the effects.

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"Maskne" became a new and prevalent skincare annoyance during 2020-2022 and, while masks are no longer required in many areas of the world, those with compromised immune systems or those at greater risk often prefer to still wear them when venturing out. 

Maskne refers to breakouts, rashes, and irritations that result after wearing a mask over your face for an extended period of time.  Maskne can show up in the form of eczema, a rash or irritation from the mask rubbing on the face, but most commonly is used to refer to acne breakouts. 

Bacne (back acne), on the other hand, is a term that’s been around for a while is acne that develops on your back. It happens when sweat, oil, dead skin cells and bacteria get trapped in your skin's pores. Backpacks, sweaty shirts or sports equipment can create friction on your back and worsen back acne.

“Acne mechanica”, as it most commonly ends up being, occurs wherever prolonged contact is maintained and bacteria is allowed to thrive and remain touching the skin. You’re not alone in your skincare struggles..but how do you fix these breakouts and prevent them from even happening in the first place? Not to worry! Our simple steps and skincare tips below will help clear the way to similarly clear skin!

  1. If you are a regular mask or hat wearer, make sure to wash your face masks and hats and change them out after every day of wear. Treat them like you would your underwear and don’t reuse the same one every day - yuck! You definitely don’t want built up bacteria and oil rubbing against your face all day. 
  2. If you regularly workout and are experiencing bacne, make sure to change immediately out of sweaty gear and clothing. Shower ASAP after finishing your workout and make sure to wash your clothes well after every use.
  3. If the area under your mask, hat, sports bra area, or similar is very itchy, you likely have eczema or a rash rather than acne, and should try to change the fabric or the type of mask you use because you may be irritated or allergic to the fabric. Try a gentle, unscented detergent and look for materials that are natural and breathable.
  4. Cleanse your face and body with a gentle wash twice a day — morning and night — to keep the acne at bay. 
  5. If your skin is not yet irritated or has calmed down, try using a scrub once a week to remove dead skin cells (which can block up pores and cause breakouts).  Exfoliation will stop pores from becoming clogged and can help remove clogs that have already formed. 
  6. Don’t wear makeup when wearing a mask or workout out, especially avoiding heavy foundations, primers, and powders. If possible, don’t wear any kind of makeup at all and stick with a non comedogenic SPF for protection only. Allowing your skin to breathe is crucial for avoiding breakouts!

Oath & Grind By Susan Hoff
Run fast, spin hard, lift heavy, work out like crazy. Whatever you do, Oath & Grind is the destination for all things fitness, nutrition, and life.
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Oath & Grind by Susan Hoff is a luxe lifestyle community that blends fashion, fitness, and nutrition to serve as aspiration—because everyone can start a healthy habit, regardless of their age or physique.