Maskne Fighting Skincare Faves

Disclaimer: Products featured in this post were sent complimentary for review. 
All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

Breaking out under your mask seems to be as common as pairing dress shirts with sweatpants for a Zoom call. The most common skincare grievance since the pandemic struck seems to be the ever-present pimple party that's popping up on the lower halves of our faces.

"Maskne' (formally referred to as Acne Mechanica) is skin irritation caused by friction and heat. That means the fabric face coverings we've all become accustomed to wearing indoors is acting like a sauna for dirt & bacteria to snuggle up inside your pores. So those bumpy breakouts you're seeing  may not be from stress or hormones (unless you're me. In which case it's a triple threat, baby!). While it's super common and therefore nothing to be ashamed of, it's still understandably annoying. And damn tricky to treat!

Lucky for you, I've got a few tricks of my sleeve when it comes to tackling tough breakouts. These are some of my all-time favourite products for making pimples peace out. From BHAs to AHAs, and some other maskne must-haves.

Reversa Acenx Purifying Cleansing Gel - $23 CAD  

First let's talk about one of my favourite skincare ingredients; Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). Though you might know it best as Salicylic acid, the most common type of BHA. This is a chemical exfoliant that does a phenomenal job in the fight against acne because it works to clean the surface of the skin and inside the pores. Truly, this is the deep-cleaning ingredient we're all searching for.

This Reversa cleansing gel is one of my favourite because it is formulated with 2% salicylic acid, and witch hazel to soothe any redness & irritation that tends to come hand-in-hand with breakouts. It was an absolute staple for my hormonal acne, and continues to be for bouts of maskne.

*Another great cleanser option is the CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser, which clocks in at just $17 CAD. However, it's become such a pandemic favourite that it's almost impossible to find on the drugstore shelves. If you can get your hands on it, consider yourself (and your skin's instantly renewed texture) incredibly lucky.

Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic - $20-$38 CAD

Perhaps you've heard of another common chemical exfoliant ingredient called glycolic acid. It just so happens to be one of the most popular Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) on the market. While similar to BHAs, AHAs are superstars for treating the skin's surface by minimizing the appearance of pores & fine lines, and evening out the overall tone & texture. 

If you're been a long-time reader, you already know why Glow Tonic is a product I cannot live without ( in case the monogrammed bottle didn't make that obvious).  Not only does this glycolic acid toner help shrink the most stubborn spots, I love it for how it practically wipes away my texture to reveal a healthy glow. 

Something to keep in mind around AHAs is that they can cause irritation if not used properly. While  Pixi Beauty's formulation is fairly gentle, I still tend to limit my usage of this toner to every few days (and only in the morning) because of my skin's sensitivities.

Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask - $24.95 CAD

Using a mask to fight maskne? Sounds counterproductive at first glance I know, but I can assure you this is a great solution! Especially if you only suffer from the occasional breakout. 

This Vichy clay mask is a long-time favourite of mine because it works in just 5 minutes to deep clean your pores without drying out your skin. The combination of Kaolin and Bentonite clay works incredibly well at absorbing excess sebum and mattifying your complexion. Use it as a spot treatment, or apply it all over for a cleanse comparable to a spa treatment.

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches - $12.99 CAD

Even though my bathroom shelf is fully stocked with acne fighting ingredients, I still tend to self-sabotage by picking & popping. I know, I know, it's a bad habit. But I know I'm not the only one who does it.

Thankfully the skincare world has brought us a trendy new product just in time for our pimple pandemic; acne patches. Admittedly it was a bit hard to navigate which version was the best because the market is pretty saturated with a wide variety of these stickers. But let me tell you, these Cosrx patches are a total bargain and THEY WORK. For lack of a better term, they suck the whitehead out to reveal itself on the patch, like a teeny petri dish. If you're the type of person who loves to analyze a freshly peeled Biore strip, you'll be grossly fascinated by these.

I decided to put them to the ultimate test; a volcano-esque cystic pimple that has started to brew under the surface of my skin. The kind that radiates with pain before it emerges. I slapped one of these patches on it before bed, and I kid you not, it had come to the surface to a manageable whitehead by morning. If you've ever dealt with one of these bad boys, you know how satisfying this moment is. After a one-two punch with my cleansing routine, it was practically gone the next day.

Miracles come in a 3-pack for $12.99, folks. 

More Maskne Fighting Tips

  • WEAR SUNSCREEN. I cannot stress this enough! Whenever you are using acids like AHAs or BHAs, your skin is much more susceptible to damage from the sun's UV rays. Make sure to include a sunscreen in your morning routine of at least SPF 30 (year round; not just in the summer months!).
    I personally love the CeraVe Daily Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 because it's super lightweight on your skin & your wallet.

  • Some might find that using both AHAs and BHAs together can ultimately be too drying. For this reason, I personally like to alternate by using one in the morning (AHA toner) and one at night (BHA cleanser). If you're new to chemical exfoliants, start with a patch test and take things slow. Start by using only once or twice a week, and gradually increase frequency as your skin becomes more tolerant. 

  • Go au naturale more often; skip the heavy makeup if you wear masks for extended periods of time. Your full-coverage foundation is too expensive to be wasted by wearing it underneath a face covering anyway.

  • Wash your masks regularly. This should be a no-brainer, but putting on an already-used face mask not only increases your chances of another breakout, but you're also putting yourself at risk of contracting COVID. You wouldn't reuse a condom, right? The same logic applies here, folks.

What are your maskne fighting techniques? Do you have any acne-solving products you swear by? Share in the comments; you might just help someone else!


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