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  • Writer's pictureAdelle Tracey

Mask friendly Makeup & Skincare to help prevent 'Maskne'

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we've all been regularly wearing a mask and may have experienced differences in our skin because of it. Sensitised skin and 'Maskne' are a direct result of wearing a mask for prolonged periods of time. I have been lucky enough to never have suffered with acne, however I have experienced 'Maskne' breakouts during the brief period where I was able to travel to compete abroad wearing full PPE.

Luckily, I found a good routine which seemed to reduce my symptoms and allow me to wear makeup, while wearing a mask intermittently without breaking out. So I thought I'd share these simple habits, non comedogenic makeup recommendations and long-wear tips for anyone who might be wearing a mask intermittently. For anyone who may be working on the front line or wearing a mask for a prolonged period, I strongly recommend avoiding wearing any makeup under PPE.

Just to be clear, although I am in the process of taking my VTCT level 2 skincare, I am not a dermatologist. Therefore if sensitivity, soreness and acne breakouts persist I would recommend seeking medical advice.

What is 'Maskne'?

'Maskne' is mask- induced acne, usually occurring along the jawline, nose and cheeks cause by friction and the comprising environment under the mask. It is different to acne because it isn't linked to hormonal fluctuations, it is a direct link to the physical disturbances of the skin. Below are some of the reasons why skin can feel sensitive and acne prone under a mask:

  1. The fabric sitting close against the skin can cause occlusions or blocked pours.

  2. Friction of the material can cause micro-tears in the skins surface.

  3. Skin cells aren't able to shed as easily due to restricted airflow, causing further blockage.

  4. Breathing creates a warm environment where bacteria thrive. This combined with restricted circulation, sweat and oil leads to blackheads, whiteheads and acne developing.

  5. Trapped heat and friction can cause lips to become chapped.

How to prevent 'Maskne' and sensitive skin

  1. If you are not working on the front line and need to wear a disposable mask, opt for a silk mask which is much more gentle on the skin. (Slip reusable silk face covering - £39 is fab.)

  2. Go without makeup under your mask if your going to be wearing it for a prolonged period of time. If you are wearing it intermittently and want to wear makeup see non- comedogenic options below.

  3. Try not to touch your face and wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

  4. Use a fragrance free detergent to wash your mask and change or wash regularly.

  5. Clean your phone with disinfectant wipes. This will also kill any bacteria on the surface which could be contributing to the cause of acne.

  6. Stay away from heavy artificially fragranced products that might cause irritation.

  7. Cleanse skin with a gentle jelly or milk cleanser and avoid foaming cleansers that can leave skin feeling tight. Use lukewarm water.

  8. Carry a mist in your bag to refresh skin with a calming mist. I love HERITAGE STORE Rosewater & Glycerin (118ML) - £7.99

  9. Apply a unscented lip balm to reduce dry or cracked lips. Dr. Lipp's Original Nipple Balm is amazing as a solution to cracked, dry lips - £12

  10. Use a light moisturiser to support the skin barrier in being less reactive to the environment under the mask.

  11. Drink plenty of water, this will help to support the immune system, keep skin hydrated, encourage blood flow and flushing of toxins. I find using a really nice reusable water bottle encourages me to drink more!

  12. Use a cooling Jade facial roller or ice roller to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. Roller pro face massage roller - £27.99.


These are all suitable for mature, dry, sensitive, oily and combination skin.

CerVe SA smoothing cleanser - £12

Glossier Milky Jelly cleanser - £15

Emma Hardie Moringa Light Cleansing Gel - £34


These are all suitable for mature, dry, sensitive, oily, combination skin.

To calm - Dermalogic redness relief essence - £35

To minimise pours - Medik8 pour minimising Tonic -£25

To brighten - Pixi clarity Tonic - £18


These are all suitable for mature, dry, sensitive, oily and combination skin.

For dryness & texture - Eucerin Urea Repair - £11

For brightness - Dr. Sam flawless nightly serum - £39

For lightweight hydration- Beauty Pie Triple hyaluronic Acid - £15.83 (membership price)

For soreness - Zelens D power mini - £45

For lightweight comfort - IT Cosmetics Confidence in a gel lotion - £11


Dr. Lipp's Original Nipple Balm - £12

Malin + Goetz lip moisturiser- £11

Mario Badescu Lip balm - £5

Lanolips Lip Ointment original - £10


A great way to have a quick refresh and get moisture into the skin when it is safe to remove the mask.

  1. HERITAGE STORE Rosewater & Glycerin (118ML) - £7.99

  2. Skin in Motion Cool it Mist - £20

  3. Jane Iredale Smell the roses Hydration spray -£24

'Mask Friendly' Makeup


Non comedogenic just means it won't block your pours, therefore if you want a base that provides coverage but you are conscious of 'Maskne' I'd recommend investing in a BB cream, tinted moisturiser or CC cream. Below are some of my favourites which I also wear on race day as they are sweat proof and breathable.

1. NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil BB Cream - £10

2. IT Cosmetics Your Skin but better CC+ Cream with SPF 50 (available in 40 Shades) - £32

3. Jane Iredale Glow Time Full coverage BB Cream with SPF 17 -£39.95

4. Skin In Motion Work It Tinted moisturiser - £25

5. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20 - £28


In warm conditions I personally prefer to use cream blushers and bronzing products. I always set my makeup with a light layer of powder but I do feel creams look more natural on the skin, even in hot conditions similar to the environment created from a lack of air flow and breathing in a mask. Here are a couple go-to's I love that are really durable and look natural on the skin. I also like mixing them with a lip balm to create a hydrating lip look.

  1. INIKA Certified Organic Lip & Cheek Cream - £20.50

  2. Jane Iredale In Touch Cream blush 'Chemistry' - £24

  3. Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze in 'Deep Maple Eh? - £28

  4. Huda Beauty Tantour Cream Bronzer - £26

  5. Beauty Pie Super cheek cream blush - £25 (members pay £8.06)


To make sure your makeup does not transfer onto the mask it's important to set the makeup. The best way to do this is by using a setting powder in the area of contact (nose, chin and mouth). Setting spray's can also be used if you want a more 'dewy' finish or prefer using a mist over a powder. Here are some of my absolute favourites, tried and tested with a mask and on race day.

1. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder - £22

2. Elf Dewy setting mist - £ 19.99

3. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder Travel Size - £20

4.Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Genius Loose Powder - £33

5. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray (30ml) - £12


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