The Skin Behind The Mask

Say goodbye to “maskne” once and for all! Whether you are a healthcare professional, an essential worker, or if you wore a mask for the first time in your life at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, this face-covering has become a part of our daily routine.  You’ve probably experienced some of the uncomfortable side effects masks can have on your skin. Our dermatologist and skincare staff at VIDA have been super busy helping patients adjust their skincare routine to daily mask-wearing. Additionally, if you are in a hot, dry place like Tijuana or SoCal, the toll a mask takes on your skin can even worsen during the summer months. 


Masks are great when it comes to protecting us from spreading a virus, but they can quickly cause skin problems, from rashes and small breakouts to clogged pores, irritation, and full-on maskne. Do not freak out though! It is possible to wear a mask and have healthy, beautiful skin. According to our skincare expert, dermatologist Dr. de la Fuente, there are simple steps you can take on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis to help your skin stay fresh and radiant, even as you continue to wear a mask. Whether you need to get a facial to complement your routine, see the dermatologist, get rid of your mask acne, or get a deep cleanse with a Hydrafacial, your skin and your mask can co-exist. Here’s how! 

Why does wearing a mask affect your skin? 

If you had your skincare routine under control but ever since you started wearing a mask you see rashes, pimples, and even raw patches of skin, you might be wondering what changed. Well, you are not alone and there is no need to stop being safe and wearing a mask to restore your skin’s health.

As a general rule here at VIDA, we treat skincare problems holistically. In this case, we know it is because you are wearing a mask. There is a simple explanation as to why your skin is reacting after wearing a mask: the combination of heat, moisture, and friction generated beneath your mask. 

As Dr. de la Fuente explained, in simple terms, the constant rubbing from a fabric against your skin acts as an irritant, which can make sensitive or acne-prone skin react. In addition to this, masks are so great in preventing the spread of Covid-19 (or other viruses, like the flu) because they “filter” our breath. The inconvenient aspect of this is that this heat and humidity can accumulate sweat, dirt, and oil. 

Sweat, dirt, oil, and rubbing can make even the least reactive skins feel irritated. 

Fear not, the entire VIDA team is going through the same and we’re here to help under the guidance of our dermatologist. 

Dr. Alberto de la Fuente, Dermatologist. 

5 dermatologist tips for radiant and mask free skin:

1: Get a clean mask every day. Let’s start with the basics. A dirty mask can only worsen the effects on your skin. Dirt, oil, and bacteria from grabbing the mask to take your mask on and off and putting it on after having a meal can create an environment that is perfectly pleasant for acne and irritation. The solution could not be simpler: wear a clean mask every day. This does not mean that you should get single-use masks, unless you are a healthcare professional you can keep a rotation of fabric masks. Dr. de la Fuente suggests buying 5 to 7, so you can rotate them and always wear a freshly washed mask. 

2: Wash your face am & pm and consider a deep cleaning facial. Again, our skincare expert suggests going back to the basics: wash your face before putting on a mask and wash it again at the end of the day, when you’re home and you won’t be needing it until the following day. For those of you with very sensitive and dry skin, Dr. de la Fuente recommends a gentle face cleanser like XX, so you can clean your face from dirt and pollution without using harsh ingredients that can irritate it even more.  If your problem is oily skin, opt for a face wash with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Use upward circular motions with your fingers to thoroughly clean your face as you wash. You’ll see that this simple action can go a long way in removing excess oil and unclogging your pores. 

If wearing a clean mask on a clean face is not working, consider paying a visit to the medispa for a deep cleansing facial. Deep cleansing facials are a great tool to remove any gunk that you cannot get rid of with normal cleaning and allow your skin to start fresh. 

3: Become a skin minimalist. A good tip is to minimize the amount of makeup you apply when you are going to be wearing a mask. Dr. de la Fuente suggests opting for a lightweight tinted SPF or moisturizer instead of a full face of makeup with primer, foundation, and setting powder. Piling up too many products can make your skin prone to breakouts and irritation. Do not skip the moisturizer though. As our dermatologist recommended, the right moisturizer is key to protecting your skin from irritation, dryness, and yes, even excess oil production. 



4: Visit the dermatologist. Unsure of what moisturizer is formulated for your skin type AND daily mask-wearing? Come see Dr. de la Fuente ASAP. Most of the patients we have seen for maskne and other mask-related skin concerns, obtain the most benefit after adjusting their skincare regimes under professional guidance. We’ve seen patients who hadn’t seen a pimple in years, who had very dry skin, and all of the sudden, their cheeks and chin felt super oily and were getting breakouts frequently. Dr. de la Fuente says this is to be expected since having a mask on all day changes your skin’s environment. A visit to the dermatologist where you can go over all the products you are using is probably the single most effective action you can take to preserve your skin’s health under a mask. 

In addition to changing your products, recommending what to add and what to remove, such as changing a heavy moisturizer for a lightweight moisturizing gel, a dermatologist can give you prescription-strength topical treatments to combat mask-wearing skin side effects. Some of the most effective active ingredients like tretinoin and high percentage azelaic and salicylic acids are prescription-only and best when used under professional guidance. Investing in a dermatologist visit once or twice a year is investing in long-term benefits that you can see every single day. 

5: Get on a Hydrafacial regimen. Maybe you are doing everything right: you are wearing a clean mask every day, washing your face, and using the products your dermatologist prescribed, and still, from time to time your skin acts up. What can you do in that case? Step up your routine with a specialized treatment like a HydraFacial, best when performed every 4 to 6 weeks. HydraFacial is a patented treatment that cleanses and nourishes the skin while extracting dirt and debris from your pores. The Hydrafacial is performed in 3 simple steps: 

-Cleanse + peel: deep cleaning and very gentle exfoliation and resurfacing.

-Extract + hydrate: painless, non-irritating extractions are combined with specialized moisturizers to hydrate the skin. 

-Fuse + protect: the treatment finishes with antioxidants and peptides that help the skin glow naturally.  

This deep cleaning and hydrating procedure is safe even for the most sensitive skins and is the ultimate add-on to help maintain your skin clean, healthy, radiant, and maskne-free. 

Protect your skin while protecting yourself!

A mask does not have to mean sacrificing your beautiful skin. It just takes some patience and a skincare expert like a dermatologist to get rid of maskne once and for all! Call us at +1(619) 738-2144 to schedule a dermatologist consultation with Dr. de la Fuente or to schedule a Hydrafacial today. 

Dr. De La Fuente

Dr. De La Fuente is our board-certified Dermatologist practicing at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Cosmetic Dermatology, Laser treatment & Non-invasive procedures, Medical Dermatology and Surgical Dermatology. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Dermatology, Mexican Board of Dermatology, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, American Academy of Dermatology.