Dr. Pimple Popper reveals genius one-step hack for preventing maskne

How to spray your maskne away! Dr. Pimple Popper reveals genius one-step hack for preventing acne caused by your face mask

  • The dermatologist, whose real name is Dr. Sandra Lee, shared an expert tip for preventing maskne – acne caused by face masks – on her TikTok account 
  • She explained that you can prevent blemishes caused by the protective face covering by spraying the inside with a salicylic acid-based product 
  • The ingredient ‘cleans out the oil and debris within your pores’, she revealed
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a huge increase in the number of people complaining about ‘maskne’ 
  • Several social media users – especially medical workers who wear masks all day – have shared images of their mask-induced acne  
  • In May, several skin experts, including Dr. Lee, explained to DailyMail.com what causes maskne and the best ways to treat it  

With face masks now considered a must-wear wardrobe item for many people across the US, there has been a huge increase in the number of cases of ‘maskne’ – painful pimples caused by the protective gear. 

But now, reality TV’s favorite dermatologist, Dr. Pimple Popper, has shared an easy one-step hack for preventing maskne without having to seek professional help. 

The Los Angeles-based skin expert, whose real name is Dr. Sandra Lee, took to TikTok last week to share a simple tip for avoiding face mask-induced pimples, revealing that wearers who are suffering from maskne should spray the inside of their protective covering with a salicylic acid-based product to help prevent spots. 

Quick trick: Dr. Pimple Popper has revealed a simple hack for preventing maskne – blemishes caused by wearing a face mask 

Spray it away! The reality TV star, whose real name is Dr. Sandra Lee, explained in a TikTok video that she spritzes the inside of her mask with a salicylic acid-based spray

In the quick clip, Dr. Lee is seen spraying the inside of a disposable blue face mask with a product from her own SLMD Skincare line, the Salicylic Acid Body Spray ($37.99) while noting that she uses the trick on her own masks to prevent maskne. 

‘Spray it on the inside of [your] mask [and] fan your mask to dry it a little,’ she suggests in the video, before adding: ‘Salicylic acid cleans out the oil and debris within your pores, preventing acne.’ The trick, although simple, sparked a slew of praise from her TikTok followers, with many thanking her for coming to the rescue of their struggling skin. 

Omg! Thank you!! I work at a hospital and a pharmacy so I’m constantly wearing one and my skin can’t breath! I battle with cystic acne as it is,’ one person wrote. 

Another chimed in: ‘Thank you for this! My mom already has very bad cystic acne and having to wear a mask all day building cars was making it worse.’ 

‘Thank you so much!!!!! I have been struggling with acne due to my mask like I was 15 again,’ a third wrote, prompting another to agree: ‘Thank you for this. For someone who has had little to no acne, Ive been so frustrated over this maskne.’ 

‘Damp mask is useless even when it’s dried after,’ another wrote. 

However, for anyone wearing a reusable face mask made from cloth, the trick would no doubt work just fine, without compromising the effectiveness of the mask as far as preventing the spread of COVID-19 in public – although medical professionals may not want to risk trying the hack on disposable coverings.

Others noted that you could likely spray the product directly onto the skin and wait for it to try before applying the mask, suggesting that this may also work to prevent maskne.  

Dr. Lee’s hack comes after she opened up to DailyMail.com about the best ways to treat maskne – while revealing exactly what aspects of mask wearing causes pimples and blemishes to appear.   

Since the beginning of the pandemic, hundreds of mask wearers have taken to social media to complain about their battles with maskne, with some sharing images of the blemishes that have appeared around their chin, mouth and cheeks as a result of wearing the protective gear.  

So, Dr. Lee and a handful of other leading skin specialists shared their tips and tricks for dealing with the breakouts, while revealing the most likely causes of the mask-induced pimples.  

Take your pick! Salicylic acid sprays to help prevent maskne

Spray your maskne away: SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Body Spray (left, $37.99), Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Body Spray (center, $25), Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing All Over Toner (right, $19.50)

Do you have ‘maskne’? Skincare experts reveal how face masks are leaving people with horrendous acne – and explain what you can do to prevent it 


Maskne is a new term that has been coined to describe an increase of blemishes and zits that is caused by wearing a face mask, and tends to only affect the parts of the face that are covered by the protective gear.

According to celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau – who counts Lili Reinhart and Demi Lovato among her clientele – the type of blemishes that are caused by mask wear are known as acne mechanica.  

‘The only difference between acne mechanica and regular acne is the cause; while regular breakouts tend to be hormonally-driven, acne mechanica is caused by friction (a physical disruption to the skin),’ she explained to DailyMail.com 

‘When something is constantly rubbing up against your skin, the combination of friction, heat, and pressure can be a trigger for breakouts.’

Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler added that those who are naturally prone to acne are much more likely to suffer from ‘maskne’ – and in some cases wearing a face mask may precipitate the onset of adult acne.  

On the rise: More and more people have been complaining about maskne since the start of the pandemic, with some sharing images of their blemishes online 

New term on the block: Social media users coined the term maskne to describe the mask-induced skincare problems 


Dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee – AKA Dr. Pimple Popper – explained that ‘occlusion’ is the main cause of maskne. In other words the humidity and the heat that occurs under the mask while you are wearing it blocks your pores and increases the chances of a breakout.  

‘The mask, the humidity under there, the oil produced on your skin, also compounded by the fact that you’re wearing makeup under there will promote the blocking / occlusion of your pores and increase the chances of a breakout,’ she said.  

‘Also the actual mask pushing on your skin is physically occluding your skin directly. Perfect storm for a pimple. If you already have pretty oily skin you’re probably halfway there.’ 

Renee added that the friction caused between the mask and your skin is also to blame for increased breakouts, noting: ‘The friction responsible for acne mechanica is also the culprit behind most irritation caused by protective face masks. 

‘In fact, red, bumpy, rashy skin is a common precursor to acne mechanica. All of these are also signs of inflammation, which can wake up your skin’s pigment cells and cause lingering pigmentation long after the erythema (redness) has subsided.

‘When an object is consistently being rubbed across your skin, it can also disrupt your protective moisture barrier. If something is rubbing against your skin all day, it can create tiny blemishes.’ 


Avoid wearing makeup under your mask 

One of the main things that Dr. Lee recommends is to avoid wearing makeup under your mask at all costs. She explains that you can still apply cosmetic products above the mask line, but any skin that is covered by the material should be left free from any makeup. 

‘This may be weird at first as it was for me to get accustomed to, since it’s not usual for you to only put foundation on your upper part of your face, and likely there’s such a routine like applying blush and lipstick – you should do away with this while you are wearing a mask,’ she said.

‘Also this soils the inside of your mask, and will certainly necessitate you cleaning it more often.’ 

Problem solvers: Dr. Lee explained that the humidity and heat under the face mask aggravates the skin and causes more blemishes 

Take care: Celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau urged people to wash their face covering as regularly as possible in order to prevent ‘maskne’ 

Cleanse on the go: Dr. Lee added that you should clean your skin as soon as you remove your face mask, even if you just use a wipe while out and about before getting home 

Clean your face as soon as your take off your mask – and prioritize chemical exfoliants

Even if you can’t wash your face immediately, Dr. Lee suggests using something ‘easy and convenient’ to cleanse the skin when you remove your mask. 

She explained that you can use wipes to clean your skin on-the-go before you are able to get to a sink and wash your face. 

Dr. Lee added that focusing on products that contain chemical exfoliants will help to tackle any existing blemishes, while also preventing any additional spots. 

‘Use a resurfacing wipe like my SLMD Skincare Resurfacing Acne Swipes ($35) which contain glycolic and salicylic acid, effective exfoliants to keep the skin clean and importantly keep the pores clear of excess oil, dead skin, and debris,’ she said.

‘Chemical exfoliants like glycolic, salicylic, lactic acid are key during these moments.’ 

Renee agrees about the importance of acids when it comes to treating ‘maskne’, saying: ‘Work a serum with salicylic acid into your routine two to three nights a week. Salicylic acid is unique in that it has the ability to cut through oil and really get into your pore lining.’ 

Dr. Wexler added that you should be careful not to strip your skin of its natural oils when washing it, explaining that the best thing to use is a ‘gentle cleanser’. 

She also chimed in: ‘Use a lightweight or oil-free moisturizer (something with hyaluronic acid) before you put your mask on to serve as a barrier protecting as that can be cooling and prevent your skin from getting too inflamed from the heat and humidity that the mask causes.’ 

Implement a proper nighttime skincare routine 

Renee explains that cleansing and treating your skin properly every evening is incredibly important.

She urges anyone suffering with ‘maskne’ to cleanse their face before bed, and also consider using a face mask that specifically targets blemishes and clogged skin.  

‘Properly cleansing your face before bed is always important,’ she said. 

‘Start by cleansing your skin with a gentle, antimicrobial face wash that contains ingredients like salicylic acid or tea tree extract. 

‘After cleansing, use a face masque like the Rapid Response Detox Masque ($65.50). Its antimicrobial properties kick in after just five minutes while hydrating ingredients soothe the skin to counteract friction caused by wearing a face mask.’ 

Use natural antibacterial ingredients   

Renee added that you should also look for products that contain natural antibacterials.

 ‘Wipe an antibacterial toner like the Rapid Response Detox Toner ($41.50) over the affected area once or twice a day,’ she said. ‘Look for ingredients like salicyclic acid, lactic acid, tea tree oil, and manuka leaf extract.’ 

Wash your face covering as often as possible 

‘If you’re wearing a bandana, scarf, or reusable cloth mask when you go out, be sure to wash it regularly,’ Renee urged. 

‘Not only is this the best practice for good hygiene, but it will also prevent oil and dirt from being reintroduced onto the skin.’  

Ramp up your quarantine skincare routine with these products 

Get a real routine in place

Take control of your complexion: Renee Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Kit ($132.50)

Banish blemishes: SLMD Acne System ($50)

Cleanse: The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleanser (left, $9.99), Tatcha The Rice Wash Skin-Softening Cleanser (right, $35)

Treat and hydrate: Glow Recipe Pineapple C Bright Serum (left, $49), Augustinus Bader The Cream (center, $265), Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial (right, $80)

Treat yourself to a face mask 

They’re the sheet! Joanna Vargas Glow to Go Mask Set (left, $75), Dr. Jart+ Dermask Micro Jet Clearing Solution (right, $9)

Mask on! Wishful Thirst Trap Cocoon Mask (left, $9), Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask (right, $12)

Slather it on: Image Skincare Purifying Probiotic Mask ($45)

Sweet dreams: Laneige Hypoallergenic Cica Sleeping Mask (left, $34), Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask (right, $45)

Revitalize your skin with an at-home peel 

Perfect peel: Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($88.50)

Feel the peel: Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel ($95)

Stock up on serums 

Stress-free serums: Babor Stop Stress Ampoule Concentrate (left, $49.95), Phyto-C Superheal O-Live Serum (right, $135)

Soothing: Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum ($250)

Banish blemishes – and blue light: Rodial Glycolic Booster Drops (left, $45), Goodhabit Rescue Me Glow Potion Oil Serum (center, $80), Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Serum (right, $250)

Banish those blemishes with on-the-spot treatments 

Zap those zits: Renee Rouleau Anti Bump Solution (left, $49.50), SLMD Salicylic Acne Spot Treatment (right, $25)

Patches for morning, night, night out: Cosrx Clear Fit Master Patch (left, $6), Peace Out Acne Healing Dots (center, $19), Starface Glow Star Hydro-Stars (right, $18)

Care for your skin from the inside out 

Healthy habits: NeoCell Collagen Protein Peptides (left, $39.95), Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies (right, $19)

Inside out: Glow Habit Good Skin Dietary Supplement (left, $13), Hum Nutrition Mighty Night (right, $40)

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