Maskne, the acne breakouts you get around your chin and mouth from a protective face mask, is a small yet infuriating indignity. As if it's not enough to be in a pandemic, to lose a job, and have to strap a protective cover to our faces every time we leave the house (which I'm so happy to do for the safety of myself and others) but now we have to battle the red, angry zits laying siege to our chins, too. First responders, medical professionals, and essential workers have it worst of all, reporting rashes and aggressive breakouts due to wearing heavy masks and gear through the heat and cold for hours on end. Articles about mask-induced rashes and acne spiked around April, but it's now been nearly a year with no end to the masks in sight.
Fortunately, I may have stumbled upon the answer to our collective maskne woes. Cult favorite beauty brand Averr Aglow has developed a spray-on, antibacterial formula specifically to combat maskne. After using the Averr Aglow Maskne Face Spray ($19) on my own masks for several weeks, I can say that my own maskne is nearly vanquished.
How It Works
A quick refresher on what exactly causes maskne: spending any amount of time behind a face mask creates friction, sweat, irritation, and bacteria buildup that can lead to breakouts. Couple that with the anxiety and tension of the year, and you might just be experiencing some of your worst breakouts ever. I know I am, anyway.
Like most great inventions (and beauty products), Averr Aglow's maskne spray is simple in design. Using a lineup of familiar ingredients like soothing cucumber, and antioxidant-heavy grape seed extract, the spray is applied either directly to your face or the inside of your masks to stop bacteria from growing and calm irritation.
Once you've spritzed either your mask or your face with the mist, just wait a few seconds for it to try before masking up. My bottle lives by the front door (and extensive mask collection) as a reminder to use it, and I'll occasionally throw it in my bag for a re-up if the mask will be on for more than a couple hours.
The spray doesn't just help eliminate maskne, either. Chamomile, a lead ingredient on the label thanks to its anti-irritant properties, has also been shown to help combat free radical cells that can speed up the aging process.
For those of us with hormonal acne, my greatest nemesis, maskne can feel like a real low-blow. Hormonal acne likes to manifest on the jawline and chin, coincidentally the exact spots a mask covers. The result is the collaboration no one asked for: hormonal and mask-induced breakouts all in the same place.
I've been using the Averr Aglow spray pretty consistently since around November 1 and started noticing results almost immediately. It took about two weeks to fade old maskne, but the antimicrobial/antibiotic ingredients stopped new ones from forming practically right away. The biggest difference I've noticed is how my skin looks several hours after a mask-on workout. If I'm wearing mask with no spray, the sweat gives me jawline and chin zits within just a few hours almost every time. Using the spray greatly reduced my post-cardio pimples, though one or two still manage to surface regardless of my cleansing and prescription medication (you know the joke that's like, "I do my skincare but my skin doesn't care"? Welcome to my world.)
And it's not just me who's into spritzing this everywhere. My skincare-obsessed brother nearly ripped it out of my hands when I showed it to him, and used it the entire week of Thanksgiving with similar results. "I feel like I'm always panting under the heat of my mask which probably contributes to breakouts," he told me. "They're very minimal the days after I use this, which is such a relief." And speaking of heavy breathing, one of my favorite parts of the spray is how fresh it smells. It's described as a crisp, floral scent but to me, it smells like a Northern winter forest. Even if this spray hadn't worked as well, I'd keep using it just for the cozy, pinecone smell in my mask and the feel-good ethos of the brand—Averr Aglow donated 1,000 maskne sprays to frontline workers when it launched.
Solving your problems in 2020 can feel like Whack-A-Mole, with some new issue cropping up as soon as you've dealt with the old one. Thankfully, this delicious and effective spray gives you ones less thing to worry about.