Maskne: What’s Hiding Beneath Your Mask May be a Goldmine

Megan Knight
Nov 9, 2020 · 2 min read
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Just when you thought the pandemic could not cause any more problems, maskne has emerged underneath the masks of thousands of consumers. According to Google Trends, the terms “maskne” and “mascne” began appearing in searches tracing all the way back to March 29th. Japan’s English beauty magazine, The Tokyo Weekender, has even declared maskne as one of 2020’s most widespread skin care problems, making this menace also a potentially sizable market.

Maskne, a fusion of the words “mask” and “acne”, is a skin condition brought on by the prolonged use of medical face masks. According to medical dermatologist Harry Do, “Masks impose heat, friction and occlusion on the skin and when combined with a moist environment from breathing, talking or sweating, this is a recipe for breakouts.” This skin condition has been occurring to health care workers for years, with a study done in Singapore back in 2006 concluding that N95 masks resulted in an increase in acne in 60% of participants. However, now that medical grade masks are circulating around for the use of everyday consumers, this problem has become much wider spread.

As the victims of maskne has grown, so has the market for acne fighting skin care products. According to L’Oreal’s Executive-Vice President in Asia-Pacific, they have seen a very strong performance in the past few months regarding deep-cleansing products. In particular, skincare brands like La Roche-Posay and CeraVe have seen a “huge boom” recently and demand has risen for products like cleansers and sheet masks.

Additionally, Korean skincare brand, Peach & Lily, began to notice in April that approximately 10% of all online skin-care consultations had some mention of maskne. They have now shifted their marketing strategy to offer a curated collection of their products labelled as “maskne essentials”.

The skincare market itself is estimated to be worth nearly $190 billion by 2025 according to Statista. Anti-acne cosmetics only make up a small portion of that market at $2.37 billion in 2020, however with the growth of acne related skin problems caused by the pandemic, this area of the market is expected to rise over the next few years.

Is Maskne a passing fad, or will this skincare concern be around for far longer than even the virus? It’s hard to tell, especially since acne scarring can be permanent and take up to two years to visibly fade. That being said, many brands have identified this need in the market and are, expectedly, milking the Maskne trend while it lasts.

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