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Maskne or Maskitis? A Doctor Weighs In


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The global adoption of face masks for protection has, according to experts, made an impact on the spread of disease, most notably COVID-19. One side effect of mask wearing, however, has been an increase of skin irritation and breakouts around the nose and mouth. The term “maskne” has been coined to put a name to this condition. But one expert, board-certified dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D., says there are is another reaction to consider, one that he has dubbed maskitis. “While they may appear similar on the surface, they are actually two very different skin reactions,” he says. “And most importantly, they require two different treatments.”

According to Gross, maskitis is often confused with maskne, which is acne that forms around the mouth and nose caused by COVID-19 protection such as face masks or shields. Conversely, maskitis is a skin rash, marked by small bumps, redness, inflammation, and dry, flaky skin. Those who are prone to eczema and dermatitis are more likely to develop maskitis while those with oily or acneic skin are much more likely to experience maskne. Noting the difference is important because misdiagnosis can lead to further skin irritation.

“I have seen countless patients come into my practice thinking they have maskne when they actually have maskitis,” says Gross. “For treatment, they are reaching for acne products, which are causing further irritation and inflammation. Instead, they need a product that is soothing, decreases inflammation, and rebalances skin. I recommend looking for products with superfoods, adaptogens, and niacinamide.”

Gross says his top recommendations for treatment from Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare are B3 Adaptive SuperFood Stress Rescue Super Serum for maskitis and DRx Blemish Solutions Acne Eliminating Gel for maskne.

Wondering whether you or your clients are suffering from maskne or maskitis? Consult this handy chart to help with your diagnosis:

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About The Author

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures,, E! Online,, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.