Mask-induced pimples, or “maskne” as the marketing world coined it, seems to be an ongoing issue for some people. I can’t imagine it’s the sort of widespread problem that the media would like people to think it is. In Japan where we habitually wear disposable masks for all sorts of non-virus-related reasons (e.g. pollen, pollution, skin acting up, feeling anti-social), “maskne” has never been a thing. My personal theory is the reusable cloth masks that those in Western countries seem to prefer. They’re more environmental but I feel tend to lead to a lot of skin problems if worn on a regular basis.
Regardless of the cause, here’s a good beauty buy for helping with occasional pimples that will not cause any major side effects even for the most sensitive skin: Uriage Hyséac SOS Paste. This is a small tub of green paste that costs just a few dollars at the drugstores. It contains French green clay, zinc oxide, and schist (a type of rock) oil which according to Uriage, have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties that together help speed up a pimple’s life cycle to make it go away faster.
Unlike other targeted, on-the-spot treatments, the Hyséac SOS Paste works quickly with absolutely no flaking or peeling where I’ve been applying (and reapplying). A tiny bit goes a long way – I have had mine for roughly 6 months now and there’s barely a dent. If you remember my full-page review on Dr. Troub Skin Returning Zinc Cream, this is of a similar ilk in terms of effects — absolutely fantastic at reducing inflammation. This goes on as a smooth green paste (so best to apply at night) and it really sticks to blemishes. It works quite well at bringing down swelling and redness.
If you get the occasional mild pimple and struggle to find a spot treatment that is ultra-gentle yet effective, I would definitely recommend giving Uriage Hyséac SOS Paste a try. It works quite well in tandem with other skin-clearing products such as toners/liquids or pads with salicylic acid. You can find it at major drugstores in Canada and Europe for around CA$10 or €8 for a 15g jar. It’s not sold in Japan and it doesn’t seem to be available in the US either. Unfortunately, I can’t find a stockist online with worldwide shipping that stocks it other than eBay.