11 Best Maskne Treatment Products: Your Ultimate Guide

Maskne treatments

123rf.com Roman Samborskyi

Wearing masks on the daily during the COVID-19 pandemic has been saving lives (yay!) but it’s also been subjecting our cheek and chin skin to something of a beating (boo!). Skin problems in the area your mask touches your skin have been unaffectionately nicknamed “maskne.”

And if you’ve found that the skin in your “mask zone” has developed chronic acne, redness, bumpiness, changes in texture, itchiness, or just general sensitivity, you’re not alone. Better yet, you’re not helpless either. Because we’re going to tell you what to do to clear that all up. Here are our tested and researched absolute best maskne treatments and OTC products that clear up that skin and give you back that glow.

What are the best maskne treatment prouducts?

Differin Regemin Kit Maske treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Prescription strength
  • Works on all skin types
  • Scientifically proven
Price: $29.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Celderma undermask maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Protects chin from mask
  • Hydrates skin
  • Fights blemishes naturally
Price: $6.45 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Zitsticka Press Refresh Mask Maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Tons of anti-Maskne actives
  • Skin soothers to balance skin
  • Targeted shape sheets
Price: $36.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Exuviance daily acne peel maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Contains high-potency Salicylic Acid
  • Treats with Alpha Hydroxy Acid
  • Super exfoliating peel
Price: $40.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Mighty Patch bundle maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Covers and conceals
  • Protects while it treats
  • 2 kinds of patches deliver 2 kinds of treatments
Price: $23.38 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ALLAXDO silk masks maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 100% mulberry silk
  • Won't irritate enflamed skin
  • Customize your fit
Price: $38.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Skinmedica maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Strong botanical ingredients
  • "VITISENSCE Technology"
  • Fragrence Free
Price: $142.40 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
La roche posay effaclar duo maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High-potency
  • Two acne fighting ingredients
  • Retinol alternative
Price: $29.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Raya sulfur masque best clay masks Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Acne fighting
  • Detoxifies and unclogs pores
  • Sulfur fights acne
Price: $20.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
fleur and bee detox mask maskne treatments Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Detoxes and purifes skin
  • Contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Balances skin's natural oils
Price: $18.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
andLAB hydrating face masks self care gifts for mom Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Clean beauty ingredients
  • Perfect hyrdation for acne-prone skin
  • Promotes collagen production
Price: $24.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Differin Regimen Kit, Clear Skin Set

    Pros:
    • Only recently available OTC
    • Reduces risk of acne scars and dark marks
    • Studies show can reduce acne up to 87%
    • Great for Maskne
    • Great for Hormonal Acne
    Cons:
    • Can cause dryness and flakiness
    • Will work on sensitive skin but can cause issues
    • Will make skin more sensitive to the sun

    Differin Gel is a holy grail acne treatment option, and as such, a frontline go-to maskne treatment product. Differin, the brand name for adapalene, was until very recently a prescription-only acne medicine. It contains a prescription-strength retinoid scientifically proven to “provide up to an 87 percent reduction in acne lesions after 12 weeks, which will continue to improve with further use.” Yeah, it’s that good.

    The Clear Skin Kit shown here provides you with a foolproof daily regimen that will wipe out maskne and get you ready for outdoor hangs, zoom meetings, and any other place you need to show the lower portion of your face.

    The first step of the 30-day regimen kit is the cleanser included, which is gentle but geared toward acne-prone skin that’s been exposed to grime, leading to clogged pores. Then there’s the Differin Gel itself. You apply a thin layer after cleansing once per day, sort of like a serum. Then follow up with the included moisturizer, which has “UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection in an oil-free, lightweight, formula that won’t clog pores.”

    Some people’s skin can be quite sensitive to strong retinoids at first, so you might want to try applying the actual gel every other day at first, and work up to every day. Common side effects are flaky, dry skin. That will pass, but it’s hard to push through that step. So if you can be patient, you might have better luck going slowly and letting your skin acclimate. 

  2. 2. CELDERMA Undermask Hydrogel 4 Pack

    Pros:
    • Hydrogel keeps fabric from rubbing against your hormonal acne zone
    • Panthenol and Licorice root naturally hydrate skin
    • Tea Tree and Allantoin fight bacteria and inflammation naturally
    • Super cheap to try
    Cons:
    • Panthenol can, rarely, be irritating to some people
    • Adds fragrance to inside your mask (could be +/-)
    • Doesn't let your chin breathe

    You gotta wear a mask! But all that cloth rubbing on your sensitive cheek and chin area (the hotbed of hormonal acne action) is bad news for your skin. We recommend trying the CELDERMA Undermask Hydrogels that come 4 to a pack on Amazon. This uniquely shaped hydrogel stick-on is made to keep the harsh cloth of your mask from coming into contact with your face.

    The hydrogel includes a skin-friendly, acne-fighting of ingredients. Licorice root and panthenol come together to boost your skin’s healthy hydration, while allantoin and tea tree extract some together to fight blemishes.

    Panthenol can very rarely be irritating to some people’s skin, but in most cases, it simply turns to vitamin b on contact and absorption of the skin. You likely already have heard of tea tree oil as a great anti-bacterial when it comes to acne. Allantoin, if you haven’t heard of it, is derived from grass of comfrey and wheat sprout, and is a great natural anti-inflammatory. 

     

  3. 3. ZitSticka Press Refresh Exfoliating and Hydrating Sheet Mask for Acne Prone Skin

    Pros:
    • Includes AHA, BHA, salicylic, glycolic, lactic, and hyaluronic acids
    • Niacinamide, allantoin, and cooling hydrogel will balance out actives
    • Targeted chin shape can be used alone to combat maskne breakouts
    Cons:
    • Each mask costs about $7
    • You need to buy with the upper face piece even if you only want the chin piece
    • Can cause slight stinging

    ZitSticka is a newer name in anti-acne skincare, but they’re making a splash all over social media, and everyone who hasn’t tried their products yet shouldn’t deny themselves the pleasure. I for one am a huge fan of their Hyperdade Microdart Patches to Dade Post-Zit Dark Spots.

    These targeted ZitSticka Press Refresh Sheet Masks for Acne-Prone Skin are “drenched in AHA & BHA exfoliating acids and skin soothers to unclog pores, refine uneven texture, and bear hug acne-prone skin,” according to their PR. In addition to the AHA and BHA wonder twins of exfoliation, other must-have acne actives include salicylic acid, glycolic, lactic, and hyaluronic acids to really pack an anti-pimple punch.

    These masks won’t over-irritate or over-dry your skin, however, even though they’re chock full of active ingredients since they’re also balanced with important skin soothers like niacinamide, allantoin, and cooling hydrogel. 

    I love that the masks come in two pieces, so if you’re experiencing maskne-related breakouts only, you can only use the bottom half of the mask and that will target all the areas you need. 

  4. 4. Exuviance Daily Acne Peel

    Pros:
    • 2% Salicylic Acid (that's a powerful potency!) treats and prevents blemishes
    • Alpha Hydroxy Acid smooths texture and reduces excess oil
    • Gentle enough to use 1-3 times daily for awesome exfoliation
    Cons:
    • Could be over-drying
    • Should follow with gentle hydration
    • May be too much for sensitive skin types

    The rate at which your skin cells are turning over is a seriously important part of your skin’s general health, texture, and appearance. Encouraging quick cell turnover is an excellent way to fight acne, and yes, specifically maskne.

    When the cloth or surgical mask rubs up against your skin, or holds oil, dirt, and moisture up against your chin, those prores are getting clogged and old skin cells are building up, causing the dreaded maskne effect. This Daily Acne Peel by Exuviance is strong enough to encourage faster cell turnover while being gentle enough to use every day. 

    As the product description says, “Treat acne and target younger looking skin in just one step. Maximum strength 2% Salicylic Acid helps clear and prevent new blemishes while an advanced Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) blend formula targets smoother skin texture and reduced oiliness.” Salicylic acid is the frontline treatment for when your skin cells are clogging pores which is the main culprit it most maskne problems. 

    Use this treatment once daily with a cotton ball and you can kiss your weird malfunctioning cell turnover goodbye!

     

  5. 5. Mighty Patch Original and Micropoint for Blemishes Bundle

    Pros:
    • The patches subtly conceal maskne from view
    • The patches protect pimples from rubbing against the mask while they're being treated
    • One patch drains pus, the other dries and disinfects
    • Good for all skin types
    • Never test on animals
    Cons:
    • Can only treat maskne, not prevent it
    • The microdarts feel pokey
    • Need to change after 6 hours

    When I was in my awkward teen years, and then in my awkward adult acne years, we did not have anything like the new and quickly proliferating acne stick-on patches that have gained popularity all over the world for their awesome ability to drain pimples of pus, all while protecting and hiding them. So jealous! But now, at least, in my awkward maskne years I can reap the benefits of these miracle stickies. 

    Mighty Patch is one brand of acne-fighting sticker patches, and there are many others. We’ve also brought up the ZitSticka brand as a good choice. Mighty Patch is one of our favorites, however, for being one of the first to make the leap from K-beauty to sell anti-acne patches to American consumers, and for always offering very good products for very reasonable prices.

    This Mighty Patch Original and Micropoint for Blemishes Bundle is great because it comes with the original hydrocolloid patches, which you can place over your offending maskne spots to shield them from further irritating contact from your mask, and all the while, the hydrocolloid technology will be draining the pimple of its offending pus. Double genius. 

    The bundle also comes with a micropoint patch option, which also does the work of subtly covering offending blemishes, but the micropoints gently deliver acne-fighting salicylic acid deep into the zit, shrinking, while protecting. We suggest switching off between the two types and seeing what works best on your own unique brand of maskne. 

  6. 6. ALLAXDO Natural Mulberry Silk Reusable Face Masks

    Pros:
    • High quality silk, yet machine washable
    • Slides over enflamed skin without irriation
    • Can be adjusted over ears without discomfort
    Cons:
    • Light material can stick to face when you breathe in
    • Some inconsistenies with sizing reported
    • No pocket to insert filter

    Experts say that the best material for troublesome skin is silk. And more than that, 100% mulberry silk is the best way to go. If you’re struggling with maskne, or a yucky skin reaction of any kind caused by wearing your COVID mask, switching to silk will likely go a long way in your recovery. 

    This pack of five 100% mulberry 19mm Silk Charmeuse masks is washable, custom-fittable, and can work for any gender. Plus they feel smooth, breathable, and look fancier than your run-of-the-mill cotton or surgical mask. 

  7. 7. SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator

    Pros:
    • Proprietary blend of botanical actives
    • Vitis Flower Stem Cell Extract, Peptide Complex, and Polysaccharides from French Polynesia
    • Fragrence free, oil free, non-comodegenic
    Cons:
    • Quite expensive
    • Not much comes in the bottle
    • Strong chemical odor

    When asked about the most important products in an arsenal for maskne treatments, NYC Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Englemen told Refinery29 that “It is incredibly important to support the skin barrier right now,” and that “Moisturizing will protect hydration from escaping the skin and shield the skin from bacteria and contaminants.” Let’s hear it for the moisture barrier, y’all!

    Here’s a best-of-the-best luxury option to spoil your skin healthy: SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator. It’s a “high-potency rejuvenating facial moisturizer Developed with exclusive VITISENSCETM Technology featuring potent antioxidants found in Vitis Flower Stem Cells Extract.”

    And even though this luxe SkinMedica product is a total splurge, it’s totally worth it to treat your skin to a healthy protective barrier while you need to keep exposing it to masks and viral loads, and all the other crap we all have to deal with every day now. Englemen says she loves SkinMedica “because it melts right into the skin.” We love it because it instantly smooths lines and wrinkles, soothes our skin, protects our moisture barrier, and makes us feel like freaking queens.

     

     

     

  8. 8. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment Cream with Benzoyl Peroxide

    Pros:
    • High percentages of active ingredients
    • Includes benzoyl peroxide and LHA
    • Includes frontline acne-fighting ingredients for when retinol isn't an option
    • Works as a spot treatment
    • Widely available
    • Affordable
    Cons:
    • Not good for sensitive skin
    • Can cause burning, redness, itching and flaking
    • Differences between new and old formula reported

    First of all, La Roche-Posay is one of my top two go-to “drugstore brands” I recommend to folks who want amazing skin without department store or Sephora prices. It’s generally affordable and generally available over the counter in chain stores and Amazon. Yet the brand has quality ingredients and delivers ooh-la-la results. It’s also the number one skincare brand in Europe. Ok, end of cheesy sales pitch! 

    I’m recommending La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Cream as a great treatment for maskne, because the “dual action” the name mentions is the powerful combination of micronized benzoyl peroxide and micro-exfoliating LHA. According to Healthline, “Benzoyl peroxide works to treat and prevent acne by killing bacteria underneath the skin, as well as helping the pores shed dead skin cells and excess sebum (oil).” It works best for inflammatory (i.e. red, angry) zits. LHA also called Lipohydroxy Acid and sometimes “fruit acid” is proven to be very effective at slow, deep penetrating exfoliation in skincare products.

    The combination of these two acne-killing ingredients applied daily in a thin layer over affected areas (your maskne zone) will show improvement in a matter of days. Take caution, though, because some people’s skin can be sensitive to benzoyl peroxide, and this product has a high-ish percentage (5.5%). If you notice redness, try applying every other day to start. 

  9. 9. RAYA Bio-Sulfur Masque Deep Pore Cleansing Facial Treatment Mask for Oily Acne Prone Skin

    Pros:
    • Mixed clay formula deeply cleans pores
    • Sulfur is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant to help prevent blemishes
    • Conditions skin with vitamin B
    • Can be used as an acne spot treatment
    Cons:
    • Not effective for every user
    • Quite expensive
    • Can be very drying

    You might be wondering why you’d want to use a clay mask that incorporates what most of us think is a super stinky ingredient – sulfur. Perhaps it’s because sulfur has been used for centuries in healing baths clear back to the Roman times, but more recent research has shown this mineral to be a powerful acne fighter because of its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. That means if you’re fighting constant breakouts, this sulfur-infused mask might actually prevent future breakouts. Bonus. 

    Because it’s easily spread and a little goes a long way, people with acne issues can use it on their face, chest and shoulders to keep breakouts at bay and have clearer more beautiful skin. If excess oil is an ongoing problem, you might want to consider a mattifying oil control moisturizer like this one, along with a blemish inhibiting cleanser.

    Want to know more about sulfur and skin care? Check out this article for some interesting specifics.

  10. 10. Fleur & Bee Prince Charcoal Detox Mask

    Pros:
    • Clay and charcoal draw impurities out of skin
    • Botanicals soothe skin
    • Balancing properties
    • Feels like a spa treatment
    • Gentle enough to do multiple times per week
    • Vegan, cruelty-free
    • No harsh ingredients
    • Non-drying
    Cons:
    • Can make skin look worse before it looks better
    • Can cause irritation in those with sensitive skin
    • Can tingle/feel a bit like burning if you leave it on too long

    If you have oily skin, clogged pores, or buildup of any kind that’s exacerbated by wearing your face mask, you’d be wise to make a good charcoal mask part of your weekly skincare routine. I can recommend Fleur & Bee’s Prince Charcoal Detox Mask from personal experience, as I had the opportunity to test it. I love that it’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified. 

    Ok, so the general purpose of a charcoal mask is to purify the skin and draw out toxins. So here’s a warning: don’t use this mask the day before or the day of a big event thinking it will make your skin look its best for your big day. It WILL make your skin look good. But not instantly. First, the charcoal will purify your skin by encouraging all kinds of yucky junk to come up out of your pores. So it’s not uncommon for your skin to look a little more red and bumpy for a bit before it looks better. That’s what happened for me when I used the Prince Charcoal Detox Mask. But a day or two later, my skin felt fresher, smoother, and definitely renewed. 

    Fleur & Bee uses good quality activated coconut charcoal, kaolin, and bentonite clays to purify and detox (yay). But the mask also contains green tea, a powerful antioxidant for skin, and reishi mushroom, which works as an anti-inflammatory. Extra score. 

  11. 11. andLAB NIACINAMIDE 2% + B5 HYDRATING FACE MASK 5pcs

    Pros:
    • Clean ingredient commitment
    • Contains nacinimide and vitamin B5
    • Yes to more collagen!
    Cons:
    • Sheet masks aren't as eco-friendly
    • $5/mask
    • Leaves skin feeling a tad sticky at first

    Sheet masks feel luxe, deliver serious hits of active dermatology ingredients, and feel cooling on the skin. One of my favorite secrets about sheet masks? They are absolutely idiot-proof. They are so easy to use and deliver near-instant results.

    andLAB sent me some of their new NIACINAMIDE 2% + B5 Hydrating sheet masks to try and I ended up loving them. After just one use, my face felt a little sticky at first (which is super normal for serum sheet masks) but after everything soaked in I couldn’t believe how plump and hydrated my skin felt. And remember, hydrated is very different than oily. Acne-prone skin needs to be hydrated just as much as other skin types. And this formula is perfect for acne-prone skin.

    I love their clean ingredient commitment. They are even specifically certified as “100% safe for expecting mothers.”

    Their genius formula helps to keep skin clean, hydrated, and even helps promote collagen production.

     

What is maskne?

Maskne is a term unaffectionatly coined during the COVID-19 pandemic for breakouts caused by wearing a face mask. It mostly refers to all types of acne, but can also encompass contact dermatitis, and other forms of sensitive skin issues.

What causes maskne?

"In most cases, maskne is the result of clogged pores," according to Healthline. "You already have oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells on your skin. But when you wear a mask, these substances can build up more and block your pores." Masks also trap humidity from your breath which creates a yucky environment for bacteria to thrive. Rubbing and friction from your mask can irritate and even break the skin barrier and cause even worse problems.

Should I stop wearing a mask because of acne?

Short answer: no! Long answer: absolutely not! Mask-wearing is too important in stopping the spread of the deadly coronavirus. There are all kinds of different things to try, and so many of the best treatments are included in our list above. If all else fails, talk to a dermatologist. But wearing a mask is worth it!

See Also:

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