Face masks have become essential pieces in our wardrobe and it’s unknown when, and if, they will ever completely disappear. Wearing something over your face, especially in this summer heat, can result in clogged pores, irritation and more. If you’re suffering from the newly coined “maskne,” or mask acne, here are a few ingredients that can help on your journey to clearer skin.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a common product, but many people don’t know what it does or its benefits. It works as an exfoliant to diminish the appearance of pimples by loosening and helping expel the dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria. Feeling oily under your mask? Salicylic acid also helps to combat the oil lingering on your face and reduce the unevenness of skin tone. Those with dry or sensitive skin beware. It can be harsh on your skin, so it’s important to spot test a small area first before applying it to your full face.

Glycolic Acid

Don’t underestimate the power of glycolic acid. In addition to clearing up acne, it also reduces wrinkles, pores and hyperpigmentation by acting as an exfoliant. Much like salicylic acid, it can be harsh on dry or sensitive skin. If you have either skin type, try using a product with a lower concentration. Glycolic acid also increases your skin’s sensitivity to harmful UV rays, so be sure to apply sunscreen each morning and throughout the day if you’re outside for an extended period of time.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is commonly suggested to combat acne because it works to kill the bacteria that causes blemishes and gets rid of the dead skin that resides on the face. If you’re experiencing inflammatory acne like pustules, papules, cysts, and nodules rather than white heads and blackheads, this is a great option for you. Consider trying face washes or a gel with a medium concentration to banish blemishes.

Green Tea

Green tea isn’t just good for drinking, it’s great for skin too. This multifaceted ingredient helps to destroy acne by ridding your skin of the bacteria plaguing it, while also clearing up hyperpigmentation and maintaining collagen. The great thing about green tea is that it’s natural and gentler on your skin than many other products. It shouldn’t be overlooked when revamping your skincare routine to combat maskne.

It is important to try out these products slowly and spot test in case you may have an allergic reaction. If you find that a product isn’t working for you, try a new one, or you can make small changes to your routine that don’t cost money at all. Try switching the style of your mask so you’re not covering the same area of skin every time you go out. Many people who constantly suffer from acne wash their pillowcases frequently, why would you not do the same with your mask? If it’s on your face, make sure to keep it clean and bacteria-free. Your makeup could also be partly to blame, so consider going makeup free while wearing your mask to avoid clogging your pores. 

Try incorporating one or all ingredients into your skincare routine and your skin will thank you. Masks may last a while, but it’s important that your acne doesn’t.


Pablo Prichard, M.D., board certified plastic surgeon, former Chief of Plastic Surgery at Honor John C. Lincoln Hospital for 14 years, Medical Director for Plastic Surgery and is Senior Partner at Advanced Aesthetics Associates. Dr. Prichard serves more than 2,000 patients every year and has specialized in both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. For more information, visit drprichard.com and follow on Instagram @pabloprichard.