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Banish a maskne breakout

Face masks are a must-have, but the spots are an unwanted accessory. The struggle with 'Maskne; is real, so we called the experts to find out how to banish the breakouts.

woman in face mask screaming

Masks are the new ‘must-have’ accessory – by law rather than in a Michael Jackson 90s trend revival. But one hideous side effect is the breakout of spots. I’m starting to look like a prematurely ageing teenager right now and it’s not pretty.

The hot weather makes the inside of your mask feel like a greenhouse, so it’s time to adapt. We consulted self-confessed skincare nerds Lina Ryan of the Bridge Street Skin Clinic in Hungerford and Christina Cullen at Aspire Clinic in Reading for their top tips to keep our faces blemish free.


Asian and Black beauty model

CHRISTINA: If you’re happy to go without make-up, then do. Make-up will clog pores and sit on the mask, so if you’re taking your mask on and off, dirt and bacteria sitting on the mask is going straight on the skin again. 

LINA: Can’t live without foundation? Make sure your foundation is oil-free. Switch to mineral based make-up, it’s great in hot weather and gentler on the skin.


CHRISTINA: We’re seeing so many people with breakouts on the chin and jawline area. A clean mask means clean skin, so only use your mask once before disposing of or washing it.

LINA: When you have a breakout, there’s a temptation to cleanse more. Don’t. It strips your skin and can make it more vulnerable. If you’ve only popped your mask on for a few minutes while shopping it’s not necessary. However, if you have had it on for several hours during work or travelling, I would recommend to cleanse you skin when you can. 


LINA: If you struggle with break-outs add in salicylic acid to your evening regimen. This is helps to clear out your pores as it can break through oil and it works as an anti-inflammatory agent and make sure you exfoliate you skin regularly. Again, avoid oil-based serums and heavy day-creams if you know you will be wearing your mask for a prolonged time.

CHRISTINA: Invest in your skin, you’ll wear it everyday for the rest of your life! Learn as much as you can about your skin type and choose products accordingly. Not sure what you should be using? Book a free consultation with a skin expert. If nothing else, a basic cleanse, tone and moisturise, twice a day is essential. We’d recommend at least one other time when you come in from work or being out.


Beauty model lying in water

LINA: It’s important to keep hydrated as this helps the lymphatic system to clear out toxins in our bodies. You can keep your skin hydrated with a hyaluronic acid serum, most of them are water based, so they are brilliant for hydration without clogging pores. 

CHRISTINA: Definitely drink more water, it will only help. Dehydrated skin will look dull, dry, and fine lines and wrinkles will increase; so water will only help this. For super hydrating products we recommend Vitamin C. Not only is Vitamin C a potent antioxidant, which protects the skin from the damage caused by harmful free radicals found in pollution and UVA and UVB rays, it also reduces fine lines and wrinkles and retains moisture. At Aspire, we recommend the Obagi Professional C range, everything your skin needs from cleanser, serum, and a peptide complex to a polish and mask. 



LINA: Firstly, clean your mask everyday, so if you have a fabric mask you should wash it after each day (even if you only had it on for a few minutes) as bacteria can grow. Think of it like underwear! Also, always use a very mild non-bio detergent and NO fabric softener as this can very easily irritate skin. I recommend silk masks as that is the most gentle on skin. If you find a multi-layered silk mask that would be the best.   

CHRISTINA: If you are using a reusable mask, make sure it is cotton and not synthetic. Natural fabrics are kinder to the skin. Remember that breathable fabrics can filter the air in, so an extra layer of tightly woven cotton may be necessary.


LINA: Medik8 Surface Radiance Cleanse (£18) is brilliant or Medik8 Blemish Control Pads (£27) would be suitable too. If your acne is moderate to severe you might need an additional cream to combat the bacteria, we have seen fantastic results from our Obagi Clenziderm range. But you would need to book an appointment for that, but all our initial appointments are free and can be done over video or phone. 

Obagi Clenziderm MD

CHRISTINA: The Obagi Clenziderm range (£145) is specifically formulated to treat acne. The kit contains three products: Daily Care Foaming Cleanser, Pore Therapy (helps unclog pores and clears away dead skin cells with 2% salicylic acid) and Therapeutic Lotion – a lightweight acne treatment with 5% benzoyl peroxide (BPO) uniquely formulated to help clear acne.


Image: HydraFacial

CHRISTINA: The Hydrafacial (you can read my review here) is the perfect six-step treatment that gives a lymphatic drainage, deep cleanse and exfoliation, a peel and microdermabrasion, extraction, hydration and rejuvenation and will leave the skin glowing. If the mask has caused a more severe breakout, go for the Dermalux LED Light Therapy – a relaxing, pain-free treatment with no downtime. The LEDs trigger a variety of skin-enhancing processes and the blue light is calming on the skin and a powerful antibacterial treatment.

LINA: We are still waiting to be able to get the green light to go ahead to perform facial treatments (read my review here), at the moment we have been told it will be 15 Aug, at the earliest. But our skin peels are great for acne skin as they exfoliate and works anti-inflammatory. You will get best results of a course of three with three weeks in between. You’ll see results after just one two. 

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