What Is “Maskne”? And How Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy Can Help

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What is “maskne”? It is a new term describing the acne caused by wearing masks. It is also simply referred to as “mask acne.” The CDC is recommending everyone to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially when out in public, and says that “your cloth face covering may protect them. Their cloth face covering may protect you.”1 This current health crisis and the need to cover our faces has led us to this new medical condition, particularly for health care and front-line workers who work long hours and wear one, two or even three masks as protective barriers daily. Dermatologists describe maskne as “acne mechanica,” the type of acne caused by repetitive physical trauma to the skin, usually by rubbing or scratching. Having to wear a mask for protection has created the perfect storm of oil, sweat, heat, bacteria and friction now called maskne.

Preventing Maskne

Can I prevent maskne? There are many ways to try to avoid getting mask acne. It is important to wash your face before and after wearing a mask with a gentle cleanser. You should moisturize your skin after cleansing to prevent dryness and, if possible, avoid heavy cosmetic use or wearing makeup under a mask. There are many options for face masks available out there. A 100% cotton one would be best if choosing a cloth type and washing daily after each use. It is also important to dispose of and not reuse disposable masks. But with rising summer temperatures, and especially for those who must wear masks for work, it may be difficult to prevent getting maskne.

There are already several cosmetic websites offering products to treat maskne online. There are also standard single-therapy agents to treat acne commercially, but Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy has so many more options to help our patients. Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy has many formulas that allow our patients and provider’s access to choose between bases and combine different active ingredients to potentially fit all patient needs.

Depending on patient-specific needs, a facial cleanser formulation may be recommended:

  • Salicylic acid, niacinamide and NataPres ® cleansing pads
  • Salicylic acid, mandelic acid and NataPres facial foam cleanser
  • Salicylic acid and glycolic acid facial foam cleanser

Potential Compounded Options for Maskne

There are many options when choosing a base to compound with. PracaSil®-Plus gel has properties that nourish the skin, and when used as a base, it may promote faster relief and recovery. This base also provides moisture and protects the skin’s barrier. It is rich in skin-friendly fatty acids and lipids. PracaSil-Plus is commonly selected as a delivery vehicle in compounded medications for scar therapy but may also be prescribed in formulations for patients with other skin conditions, including acne.

For patients who have minor skin irritation, itching, redness and mild blemishes, physicians often recommend these formulas :

  • Naltrexone and pramoxine topical gel in PracaSil-Plus
  • Ketotifen and naltrexone topical gel in PracaSil-Plus
  • Naltrexone, aloe vera and beta glucan topical gel in PracaSil-Plus

Our anhydrous topical gel base WO6 ® can be compounded with a 180 beyond-use date (BUD) by default, just like our PracaSil-Plus formulas, and is another consideration.

Clarifying ™ base is a cream emulsion that Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy can recommend for patients with all forms of problem skin, including acne. It is noncomedogenic and has moisturizing properties along with natural ingredients that may improve the appearance of red and blotchy skin.

For patients with severe cases, physicians may recommend these formulas :

  • niacinamide and potassium azelaoyl diglycinate topical cream
  • niacinamide, tretinoin and hyaluronic acid topical gel in WO6
  • clindamycin, niacinamide and tretinoin topical gel in WO6
  • clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide topical gel in PracaSil-Plus
  • niacinamide, biotin and potassium azelaoyl diglycinate topical cream in Clarifying
  • tretinoin and sodium hyaluronate topical cream in Clarifying
  • cannabidiol, niacinamide and azelaic acid topical cream in Clarifying

We are all in it together during this pandemic. Stress and diets high in sugar and processed foods may exacerbate all forms of acne. Reducing stress, getting plenty of sleep, exercising and staying hydrated are simple tasks, yet sometimes they’re very difficult to do on a daily basis. With compounded options, we may be able to provide relief and help patients address the breakouts and flares caused by maskne. Please contact one of our 6 clinical compounding pharmacists on staff if you have any questions or would like additional information!

Click Here for other Dermatology formulations and ideas.


Email: staff@pavilionrx.com

Telephone: 404-350-5780



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
  2.  Jane H. Jones, RPh, PCCA Clinical Compounding Pharmacist

These statements are provided for educational purposes only. They have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not to be interpreted as a promise, guarantee or claim of therapeutic efficacy or safety. The information contained herein is not intended to replace or substitute for conventional medical care, or encourage its abandonment.