Maskne: the what and the why

Face masks are now part of our daily life and will be for some time to come, many Asian countries who already understand the perils of infectious airborne viruses coupled with mega-city pollution, masks are de rigueur.

The Why

ACNE MECHANICA - Is the medical term for acne breakouts caused by wearing masks, friction along with rubbing against the skin by a mask is to blame for this new irritating (sorry!) phenomenon. As if a pandemic was not enough to navigate, 2020 is turning out to be a true Annus horribilis. 

Skin friction and irritation can push bacteria into the skin, creating micro-tears, therefore allowing a route of entry for bacteria and dirt. Add a splash of heat, sweat, and breath that also get trapped inside your mask, into the mix we now have the perfect breeding ground for: 

  • Increase in sebaceous secretion
  • Hyperkeratinisation
  • Inflammation
  • Pimples or acne cysts
  • Extreme dryness
  • Itchy, raw skin.

In summary, your protective skin barrier is compromised and weakened.

Allergic contact dermatitis – Some manufactured masks may contain a chemical that causes an allergic reaction. Formaldehyde and bronopol can be found in polypropylene surgical masks. Existing skin conditions can be worsened by wearing a mask including:

  • Rosacea – Worsened by heat and stress, mask-wearing can increase flare-ups.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – causes scaly plaques and inflamed skin.
  • Folliculitis – When yeast or bacteria infect hair follicles.

The WHAT - to do:

Cleanse – Your skin before wearing a mask, preferably one that is

fragrance-free this helps to prevent dirt and oil from being trapped on the skin surface, which causes the dreaded breakouts.

Hydrate and moisturize – Hydration and moisture are super important, acting as a barrier between your face and your mask helping to reduce friction. 

Make-up free – Wearing makeup under a mask causes clogged pores and yes you have guessed it -breakouts! Makeup will also mark your mask, perhaps sticking to eye makeup is the go!

Wash, rinse and repeat – If wearing a cotton mask wash it after each use, the surface of the mask contains dirt and oil and may become a breeding ground for bacteria from your nose and mouth. 

Fragrance-free – Fragrances often found in washing powder, liquids, and fabric softener, can irritate your skin further.How TANU can help

  • Significantly reduces sebum production - unblocking pores, preventing blackheads, and reducing pimples and acne.
  • Gentle exfoliation - Accelerates the turnover of skin cells for gentle exfoliation, clears pores, and stimulates new cell formation.
  • Barrier Function Boost - Phytoceramides, Essential Fatty Acids, Fatty Esters synergistically replenish the skin's lipids and ceramides to aid in the reduction of water loss, helping maintain a strong barrier function.
  • Protects - Anti-microbial and anti-viral, anti-septic, and anti-bacterial properties protect the skin from invasion.
  • Calms Inflammation - Unique compounds such as Calophyllolide, Carnosic Acid, Chamazulene, Faradiol Esters, Bisabolol, Punicic Acid, and Matricine act as anti-inflammatory agents. 
  • Abundantly rich in antioxidants - Enabling homeostasis of the skin by keeping the microbiome in balance by kill off “bad” bacteria, whilst stimulating the growth of “good” bacteria. 


I started getting this red flaky, skin around my nose due to wearing a mask so much. It started to get itchy and became much bigger. Nothing really helped, tried the sensitive skin serums, etc. but guess what Tanu has healed it in a matter of few days. I applied Tanu on it once a day and it’s subsided substantially and there’s no itchiness and flaky skin anymore.

Until next time

be human, be kind, be you


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published