Masks and acne

I’m having a horrible time lately with my lower face breaking out, especially my chin and around my mouth. I’ve had female co-workers (none of the few men at Hades Annex were involved in this conversation) say they’re having similar problems, across a range of ages, skin types, and makeup/no makeup.

I’m in the no-makeup camp myself, and wear cotton masks that get changed out each day. Maximum duration of continuous wear is about an hour, since I do take it off while between buses, and am only required to wear it at work when away from my desk (unless eating in the breakroom, but I still have to wear it to go to the breakroom). My supply gets washed in with white laundry each week, with hot water and “sanitize” levels of bleach (frequently with an extra rinse cycle so I’m not breathing that lovely “public pool” aroma). Others reporting this problem use reusables (no clue about their laundry practices) or disposables. The type of mask doesn’t seem to make a huge difference among my admittedly limited sample.

Is this a common problem, and does it have a reasonable solution? At 51, I think I should be past breaking out like this.

It’s common enough I’ve seen it called maskne. And yeah, it sucks. I stopped wearing makeup when we began working from home in March and my skin is in much worse shape now than when I wore make up daily.

On the plus side, very few people will see it these days.

I’m 62 and my doctor says I’m not the oldest person she’s seen complaining about maskne (I like that and am going to keep it for myself).

She thinks using a good moisturizer will help. All I have to say about that is I’d hate to imagine what my skin would look like if I wasn’t already using a good moisturizer daily.

At work most people are suffering with maskne right now. I have super sensitive skin and I am one of the few who are not having any issues. Here’s why:

I use the type of mask that ties up around the head and neck, not the kind that goes over your ears. Then I cut off the ties that go around the neck and sort of prop the head ties over my ears. This keeps the mast tight over my nose but allows the bottom to hang down just in front of my mouth, not touching the skin. Kind of like a Niqab.

No irritation and no maskne!

Actually that’s a nice approach to the way out of this situation. Can you name a material of your mask or share the place where you got it? I definitely wanna try it, cause I’m (or to be more exact my skin) is sick and tired from all of this mask situation.


This is my complaint too. The outbreak is along my cheek bones and chin. My age it should be wrinkles or pimples not both!

Just cotton. I don’t think it really matters what the material is really because it’s not touching your mouth/chin/jaw area. It’s only touching the nose and a bit of skin sort of under the eyes. They handed them out at work from the union so I didn’t buy it.

Keep in mind that a bandana-style mask that does not fit around your face, but hangs free at the bottom probably does much less good.

Right. The exhaled air is going out the bottom unfiltered, as it’s easily the path of least resistance.

I originally switched it like that because the regular way was playing havoc with my asthma. Warm, moist air is my kryptonite and my doctor (over a phone appointment) had me double my meds. Even extra drugs didn’t help much so I came up with this idea which helped a lot. The no maskne is just a good side-effect.

I can see using it considering your asthma, realizing that’s a serious medical condition. I can’t see recommending it to others for skin complexion. I see too many people as it is with loose masks doing little good. It’s a pet peeve of mine, being in a high risk group.

That said, since you’ve pinpointed the cause/solution, I wonder if some masks are better at moisture control than others?

Wearing a bandanna open at the bottom is providing virtually no protection for you or anyone else. The large droplets are being impeded somewhat, but there is nothing to stop lighter droplets from being inhaled or exhaled around the wide open sides. What you may want to consider instead is some kind of personal air filter mask, like this one: The small air purifier forces clean air into the mask and will help reduce any humidity from your breath. A solution like this will provide a high level of protection for both you and those around you.

I thought we’d determined here that that particular mask forces out a lot of unfiltered exhalations. There’s an older thread about it somewhere.

How much air escapes through the sides is going to be a function of how snugly the mask fits. If the purified air escapes out the side, so will your breath. At it’s worst, it’s going to be significantly better than a wide-open bandanna. And if the mask is snug to your face, the air should go out the mask just as your breath would.

It shows in your link, and in the other thread we saw that these are designed to filter incoming air, and to vent out the sides. So breathed air will vent out the sides, unfiltered. Some designs even have vent openings at the sides.

People with conditions that prevent them from wearing masks are required to be reasonably accommodated for employment or public accommodations, but I don’t think dropping effective mask wearing in public spaces is reasonable. (I don’t think bandana-style masks should be allowed.) The proper accommodation in most instances is going to be to not require to person to be in the public space. So, work from home, having a store employee shop for you while you wait outside/in your car, etc.

The mask it comes with is just a normal KN95 mask. If the mask fits snugly, then the air will go out the mask. If it’s loose, it will go out the sides. That’s the same whether or not you have the filter. And the filter is designed so you can attach it to other masks, so you can put it on a snugger mask if you like.

This a hijack, so I won’t continue to debate it here, except to say that I don’t believe it would only go out through the mask, as discussed in the other thread.

@filmore, I thought the same as you at first. It wasn’t immediately obvious in the ad till you look hard. See here: Coronavirus general discussion and chit-chat

In the reviews for the first one, one of the longer reviews says this:. “This actually comes with 2 masks that are basically lined all the way around with tiny exhaust holes.”