What To Do If Your Surgical Mask Is Giving You Acne

So the latest health directive now is to wear a mask when you are out in the public, to curb the spread of COVID-19. Whether to wear the mask when you exercise is a topic for another time, some people have figured out by now that mask wearing can create havoc on the skin. In particular, a pattern of acne mapping in atypical areas such as the cheeks, nose, and chin areas suggest that your new, unusual breakout could well be caused by your face mask.

According to Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of the SW1 Clinic, it’s not so hard to understand why mask wearing wouldn’t cause acne for some folks. “Afterall, it is uncomfortable, you breathe into it, it gets sweaty and with mask shortages worldwide, you probably re-use even your disposable masks as much as you can” says Dr Low.

Should you then ditch your mask to save your skin? No, not unless you want to get a fined or worse, in Singapore. And no, you definitely shouldn’t risk your life because of some blemishes on your face. What you should do instead, is to get some control over the breakouts, by revisiting your isolation skincare routine. Here are some skincare tips that Dr Low has suggested.



Dr Low doesn’t suggest over-cleansing, especially if you have acne, but if you just got home, it wouldn’t hurt to cleanse your face gently again. She suggests an acid-based facial wash such as Skin Laundry III, which is a mild concoction of alpha and beta hydroxy acids.


Rather than pimple creams, it would be better to mitigate bumps with an antibacterial toner, such as Clear Tonic. Soak a clean cotton pad with it and swipe across entire face. “The whole aim of this is to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin so that pimples are less likely to form, so wipe over the entire face, or masked area of the face a couple of times a day after cleansing” says Dr Low.


If the acne is more severe, use bigger guns to unclog pores such as Sapphire Balancing Clarity Serum, which contains salicylic acid, that can dive into pores to dissolve trapped grime.

Lastly, if mask wearing is giving you acne, and if you are one of the privileged ones who have the option to work from home, stay at home as much as you can, and you won’t have to wear a mask that much.

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