Coronavirus Dermatology

Facemask Hacks for “Mask-ne” Acne, Fogging and Other Problems

June 1, 2020

Facemask Hacks for “Mask-ne” Acne, Fogging and Other Problems

The pandemic has brought a new accessory to our lives: facemasks. When wearing a facemask for the first time, or for extended periods of time, four problems can come into play: “mask-ne” acne, perioral dermatitis, friction irritations and – for those with glasses – fogging.


You might be getting some acne-type eruptions. That’s not unusual with any barrier on the skin because you’re blocking pores where you have oil glands. We see this in baseball and football players from helmets. Anytime you have material blocking the pore, you can get an acne-type reaction.

Solution: If you have a little touch of acne from the mask, try applying topical acne treatments after showering or when you get home. Not wearing makeup under your mask can also help.

Dermatitis From Certain Facemask Materials

If you have a scaly or red bumpy rash around the mouth, sometimes with clear fluid discharge, that’s irritant dermatitis. This type of rash can occur because some masks have synthetic, plastic-type materials that can be irritating to the skin.

Solution: If you experience this irritation, try over-the-counter cortisone or call your doctor for advice. This is less likely to occur with cloth facemasks, so try some different types to see what works best for you.

Friction and Irritation Caused by Facemasks

The type of material or friction from wearing a facemask can also cause skin irritation – including behind the ears where straps go. People who work in health care and those who wear masks all day long may have this challenge – the more you wear the mask, the more you’re going to see it.

Solution: If you have to wear your mask for longer periods, experiment and find a mask that doesn’t irritate your skin. Try one with ties rather than elastic if straps irritate your ears. You can also try attaching straps to a paperclip behind your head to relieve friction behind your ears.

Fogging of Glasses While Wearing a Facemask

If you wear glasses, you’ve probably encountered fogging, or your breath steaming up your glasses.

Solution: Some optical offices have sprays that make your glasses less likely to fog. Medical facemasks have aluminum strips you could push down against the bridge of your nose and that can help. It’s all about the sealing of the mask.

Facemasks can be hassle and sometimes even irritating, but it’s very important to wear this accessory when you’re in public – and it does get easier with practice. If you experience any physical irritations, try these solutions or call your primary care doctor or dermatologist for help.

  1. Ramya

    How to make a difference with mask, new variants are stickier, attaching to our body cells and getting entry through nasal and throat areas. while talking, and coughing more virus in droplets, which are more contagious, Always re think the mask which we are wearing is sufficient enough, some are using cloth masks, it should be made with high thread count cotton material, minimum of 3 layers, in between layer of Filtering material like polypropylene it should be customized with right materials. If one does not know the quality of mask.The next alternate to use as a better choice is Surgical mask.The best choice of surgical mask is with tieing threads in the back lather elastic loops to ears. Mask should be tightly fix the face not allowing air to move out from any side. Some times air fogs the eye glasses, that means air flowing out, mask should be tightly fixed. There are few hacks that can increase the filtration, if one want to use ear looped surgical mask, first one knotting the ear loops and tucking in the extra pleat on the side simple trick will increase efficacy, use ear guard or pull the both loops back and fix with hair clip, which helps in mask to covers face and nose tightly. Some times better to wear a double mask,that does add an extra layer, so that upper one fixes inner mask tighter against face. As long as the material and fit are adequate a single mask is enough. Make sure that one got a right mask with right fit. Keep wearing mask, maintain distancing where ever possible, we will all get through this together.

  2. PatientMD

    Telemedicine is making a very positive contribution to healthcare during the pandemic and is being used in a variety of ways. Thanks for sharing this informative article.

  3. KL

    Agreed on the topical hydrocortisone and steroids. I also have to do antibiotics for 1-3 months for perioral dermatitis from the mask wearing. I second seeing a doctor if you get a rash near your nose chin or eyelids. It can get painful quickly.

  4. Mj

    I was diagnosed with perioral dermatitis that was made worse by hydrocortisone creams and steroids. If the rash is bad, check with your physician. I now have dermatitis from wearing a mask and am on antibiotics for 30 days.

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