How to Treat and Prevent Maskne

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Over the past year, our inner and outer worlds have shifted. In many ways, both internal and external, we've been compelled to handle new challenges and find new ways of taking care of ourselves and others.

Masks keep us and others safe, protecting against the spread of COVID-19. Masking up when in public and in enclosed spaces is both self-care and community care. But the rubbing of fabric against our skin, combined with the trapped, moist air, organic particles, and any makeup we might add to the mix, can cause irritation. Maskne is real! 

Self-care is particularly essential during pandemic times. Sometimes that means giving ourselves a little extra time in the morning as we prepare for the day, slowing things down when we wash our face in the evening, or elevating our overall skin care routine into a feel-good ritual.

Maskne is technically acne mechanica, the same type of acne a football player might get where their helmet rubs. These breakouts often happen when our skin is subjected to friction or pressure, and can be a complication of preexisting acne or occur on their own, simply caused by mask usage. And during any Montana winter, seasonal exposure to cold, dry weather, and use of scarves or buffs, can often aggravate sensitive skin conditions — making this year's potential for maskne even greater. But from choosing the right fabric, to finding our ideal skin care routine, Sageborn is here to help you navigate mask usage with confidence.

Choosing a mask

Natural fabrics, especially layered cotton, can filter out particles better than many synthetic materials. Natural cotton masks with at least two layers offer protection against the virus, while being breathable and comfortable. Cotton is also reusable and earth-friendly compared to disposable or synthetic masks. Your mask should have a snug, comfortable fit, fitting closely but not pinching across your nose, down the sides, and under your chin. A good fit is vital to protecting your health and reducing skin problems from irritation, where the mask might rub or shift positions. You're also more likely to touch your face to adjust an ill-fitting mask, which can transfer germs to already acne-prone skin.

Mask care

Wash your cotton mask regularly after use to serve the dual purpose of eliminating debris and oil, and cleaning out potential viral particles. Choose a natural, fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip the fabric softener, so you're not exposing your facial skin or your lungs to chemicals.


If you'll be wearing your mask in public most of the day, consider going makeup-light — or makeup-free — on the area of your face which will be underneath your mask. In combination with the mask's fabric, extra makeup can create a thick barrier that makes it more difficult for your skin to breathe.


If you must wear a mask for an extended period without the opportunity to wash your face, prepping with a simple toner can help freshen pores and prevent acne problems. Choosing a toner with witch hazel is great, like our Refreshing Botanical Facial Mist — a unique blend that hydrates, refreshes, calms redness, and smooths, with the added benefit of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to let your skin and facial hair dry before masking up.


It's important to exfoliate the skin at least once a week, so dead skin cells can be sloughed off. We recommend using our Montana Clay Facial Mask as an exfoliant — it's a simple yet potent combination of pure minerals and powerful antioxidants. This blend helps gently draw toxins from the skin while improving complexion, and is perfect for all skin types.


No matter what your skin type may be, moisturizing can be key to a healthy, maskne-free complexion! We recommend daily moisturization as part of a regular skin care ritual. Our Anti-Aging Carrot Seed Facial Moisturizer helps to heal and nourish the skin, preserving a natural, youthful glow for normal, dry, and mature skin types. Even just a thin layer of the right moisturizer can help protect your skin by serving as a barrier against friction or irritation from the fabric of a mask. Opt for a lighter moisturizer if you have oily or acne-prone skin, and a thicker formula for sensitive or eczema-prone skin.


For existing maskne/acne, spot treating blemishes can help the face heal. Our Healing Blemish Treatment is uniquely powerful and non-drying, made from just four organic ingredients. Unlike more common acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide, which can bleach and stain a mask, our blemish treatment is gentle on both skin and fabric.

Daily habits

The goal of a skin care regimen is to help your complexion be at its best. When we stick to a routine, we give ourselves time to notice changes and troubleshoot problem areas. Positive results come with consistency, so give yourself a few weeks, and you'll begin noticing the benefits of your routine. With consistency, we can give a long-term, lasting boost to the health and vitality of our skin. 

Self-care is particularly essential during pandemic times. Sometimes that means giving ourselves a little extra time in the morning as we prepare for the day, slowing things down when we wash our face in the evening, or elevating our overall skin care routine into a feel-good ritual. Whatever your routine, we encourage you to enjoy the moment and be mindful of the experience. Explore using a mantra, such as "I make time to nourish my mind, body, and spirit," or setting an intention for your physical being which carries you through your day. Be mindful of the experience you create for yourself through cleansing and hydrating your skin, and enjoy the moment. You deserve it — and your skin deserves it, too.

How To Moisturize

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