The Year Of Maskne: An Adult Acne Expert's View

New Year, New Beginnings, New Products!

I am determined to make 2021 a better year, personally and professionally.  Ok, every year starts like that, and this year it's especially poignant for everyone, but in my case, I let this year get to me a little too much, and there are some things I just need to correct.  Uh... like everyone else!  lol


Professionally, restarting this blog is one of the ways I'm correcting a long-term wrong.  I'm super excited to reconnect with old readers and connect with new!  

Products and Techniques to Fight Maskne - product recs to rid of breakouts from wearing masks from Daniela, the Acne Whisperer

I've also been using facial-lockdown times to catch up on my do to list for my business growth plans, work on my websites, etc.  I've also been experimenting with some new products.  Exciting things to come!

But I have not been without stress.  I've been very lucky to have my online business and Eval by Email® skincare coaching service to get me through, but I lost my assistant in June, and with as many hats as I wear, I got behind in my work, even with the extra time.  My family also moved away, so that's added to the ubiquitous COVID isolation.

Holiday Stress?

This holiday season may not have had the hustle and bustle of store shopping, multiple trips to grocery stores for giant feasts, and trying to juggle all of this with school, work, etc. of other years, but there was plenty of stress to go around nonetheless.  And we all know what stress means to acne-prone skin!

Every January I get innundated with new clients because after finally being able to take a rest, people start paying more attention to themselves, and start looking in the mirror.  For other Estheticians, those who don't specialize in acne, this time is a lot more quiet.  With the holiday season being busy with clients getting their beauty on, buying gifts and gift certificates, January and February is their slow time.  My business? Different story.  But that's every year.

One difference this year - COVacne!

Most people call it "maskne", of course, but I call it "COVacne" because it's obvious to me that more is involved than just the physical wearing of masks.  There is no question that friction and heat from mask wearing play the greatest roles, but there has to be meaning in the fact that for so many the acne also gets bad in areas otherwise designated as "hormonal"; the jawline, sides of the chin, inner cheeks, and lower central forehead.  Stress must play a roll, too!

The answer to maskne or covacne from Daniela, The Acne Whisperer

What to do?

There are two things going on in COVacne:  

1. Oil over-production from:

    a) stress hormones and 

    b) pore lining responses to friction and heat

2. Chronic inflammation in pore linings from:

    a) stress hormones and 

    b) pore lining responses to friction and heat

We need to control oil and bring down inflammation.  Thing is, normally a major part of bringing down inflammation is taking away the object that's being all irritating and bothersome.  That's not possible when it comes to masks right now. 

The best we can do is control inflammation as much as we can through cooling the skin with ice-tapping on individual blemishes every night, or a cold towel for a few minutes over larger breakout areas, and actively calming with the right ingredients in our skincare. 


Instructions for Ice Therapy from Daniela's Facial Studio.  
Relevant products are available at

We also have to take care that our products are not too stimulating, even if they were totally fine back in what my friend calls "the-time-before".  This means products should have no citrus or peppermint oils (I can promise that my Citrus-C Toner has very, very minimal citrus, but it would be totally ok to switch temporarily to my Soothing Hydration Toner until we no longer have to wear masks every day, but you don't necessarily have to).  We want to avoid too many botanicals in one product if you happen to have seasonal allergies (e.g. pollen, grass, trees), because I believe the body can react to botanical ingredients in this case with sensitivity, and if you have very oily skin it's better to go with a more gentle foaming wash than your usual stronger wash - you can always control oil by adding clay mask an additional day per week.

Related:  Allergies and Adult Acne

Speaking of masks!

What I've seen around the internet of solutions to COVacne have mostly been centered on three main ideas:

Lining face masks with lubricating products may not be the best way to prevent mask related breakouts, i.e. "maskne".  Find out more on the AcneWhisperer Blog.

  • Killing bacteria, which I don't believe is really the main problem in the formation of acne underneath the mask.  Heat and friction are.  Bacteria will only become a problem after inflamed pores have become so swollen that an air-free environment develops inside pores and acne bactera become free to proliferate.
  • Providing some sort of barrier between the skin and the mask including applying either petroleum jelly or Aquaphor® to skin that will be underneath the mask, which I don't agree with at all because with heat being part of the problem, the last thing we want is to suffocate pores. Even though petroleum jelly doesn't clog pores, it can block them, preventing proper emptying of the skin's own oil and dead skin cells (which make up blackhead material).  Well, I have a much better idea for this, which I will get to in a moment.
  • Focusing on the fabric of the mask, namely using silk instead of cotton or paper.  Takes care of the friction, maybe the heat.  This is actually a very promising idea, one that I'm looking into.

What about the stress??

Well, basically, stress breakouts here would be treated the same as when they've occured at any other time, which is with cooling, calming, and oil control.  We can take care of everything at once in one swell foop! :)

Can we make this easy and simple?  YES!

Here's what a simple anti-COVacne regimen would look like:


Wash, Tone, Serum (massage in well), slather SPF, apply FerroRosa ShineFix Blotting and Setting powder evenly over your entire face (especially if you're oily), then a little more over breakouts.  Next, apply a light coating of powder to the inside of your mask, concentrating on parts corresponding to your breakout areas.  Then, using your finger, q-tip, or small brush, add a little extra powder to the inside edges of the mask and the elastic bands.  You may find it helpful to repeat application in the middle of the day.  Experiment.


ShineFix Setting Powder - a unique anti-inflammatory, anti-shine, blotting and setting powder from Daniela's Facial Studio, featured on The AcneWhisperer Blog.
FerroRosa ShineFix Powder  
A unique, oil-control, anti-inflammatory powder featuring tapioca starch, calamine, zinc oxide, and other soothing ingredients, with a slightly beige tint.


Wash, Tone, Serum (massage in well), nighttime lotion (unless otherwise directed if you're using an acne medicine, please feel free to consult with me).  Before bed, apply a thin layer of Daniela's Overnight Acne LotionMask (coming soon!!) which will be available in a 1.7oz airless pump, perfect for being able to apply small amounts of LotionMask one pump at a time wherever you need it - no need to only spot treat, since this lotion is oil absorbing, moisturizing, and calming, all at the same time. That means you can smooth this onto entire larger areas for prevention, not just treatment!

NEW Overnight Acne Mask to fight maskne, covacne, and other acne breakouts, only from Daniela's Facial Studio, home of the AcneWhisperer Blog!
Coming Soon!  Overnight Acne LotionMask
Absorbs oil, calms and hydrates, all at the same time! 

Apply enough to see the product  on your face while still being able to see your skin underneath.  Leave on all night.  In the morning, rinse very well before washing with your cleanser.  It should rinse easily without having to use something like a washcloth.  Anything you miss will be cleaned away completely by your cleanser.  And that's it!  

If you don't see any improvement after a few days of this routine, we should talk about what skincare and makeup products you're using.  Also remember that if your stress is super high, your acne clearing may become more of an uphill battle, and you acne will need stronger measures.  Contact me!

Next Week :  Announcing another amazing new product!  Hint:  No more worries about what's getting onto your face from your hands or arms!  Stay tuned!

Your acne problem has a source, and clearing your skin requires finding that source and either eliminating it or healing it.  You can start right now by filling out my Eval by Email® Online Skincare Consultation Form created specially for ages Gen-Y to Baby Boom!

Eval by Email, Virtual Skincare Coaching specially designed for acne sufferers ages 24 and up.

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