What Is the Best Face Mask for Acne?

graphic of women wearing facemasks with the title "What Is the Best Face Mask for Acne?"

Do you suffer from acne like I did? Finding a skincare routine to help alleviate acne can seem tricky at best, nigh on impossible at worst. However, it can be done.

Face masks are one of the hottest products out there right now to help improve your skin. There are literally hundreds of different products on the market, so you may be a little confused about how to find the perfect face mask for acne prone skin. I’ll tackle some of your questions and concerns below.

Who Should Use Face Masks for Acne?

I don’t think there’s anyone out there who wouldn’t benefit from a face mask. Even though I rarely break out with acne these days, I still use them as a relaxing treat. If you’ve had a rough week, a pampering facial for acne treatment might be just the ticket!

If you haven’t gotten your acne under control yet, you have even more reason to give face masks a shot Moisturizers and cleansers are great tools for improving your skin, but using a mask once or twice a week on top of that can speed up your results.

You can find masks on the market for every skin type. The real key is to make sure you purchase a product that is designed for your particular skin type. This will help to ensure you get the results you desire.

If you’re unsure about this whole face mask thing, check with a local aesthetician for an evaluation or see your dermatologist. They are professionals in the skin care game and will likely be able to help you determine the best course of action for your individual skin type.

Product
Details
Our Rating
Our #1 Rated
Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing Mask

Aztec Secret

Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing Mask

5 out of 5

In the Acne category

Click for price
  • 100% Calcium Bentonite Clay for external use only. Does not contain: Additives, fragrances or animal products Version 2!...
  • Version 2! Supplied with a non-tear Calcium Bentonite Clay security sticker on the lid.
  • Product does not come with an inner seal. Laser printed lot numbers and expiration dates on bottom of jar.
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #1 Rated

5 out of 5

In the Acne category



Our #3 Rated
Dead Sea Mineral Mask

Pure Body Naturals

Dead Sea Mineral Mask

3 out of 5

In the Acne category

Click for price
  • Contains (1) 8.8 ounce jar of spa quality Dead Sea Mud Mask
  • Simply formulated using high quality natural ingredients like mineral dead sea mud from Israel, shea butter and essential...
  • Mineral-rich mask has a gentle pulling action which exfoliates, detoxes and removes buildup which clogs pores and causes acne
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #3 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Acne category


Our #4 Rated
InstaNatural Charcoal Mask

InstaNatural

InstaNatural Charcoal Mask

3 out of 5

In the Acne category

Click for price
  • Misc.
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Acne category


Our #5 Rated
Pilaten Peel-Off Mask

Pilaten

Pilaten Peel-Off Mask

3 out of 5

In the Acne category

Click for price
  • Item Type: Treatment & Mask
  • Function: Cleansing Blackhead and acne
  • Feature: Blemish Clearing, Firming, Pore Cleaner
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Acne category

Picking a Face Mask for Acne

You’ll want a mask formulated specifically for acne prone skin. This will ensure that the mask helps improve your skin and doesn’t make the situation worse.

As with any acne treatment, the general goals are to absorb oil, remove dead skin and bacteria from the pores and soothe inflammation. Face masks offer a few options to achieve these goals. Here are a few of the points I consider most important when choosing a face mask for acne.

1. Non-Comedogenica

Look closely at the label of the products you’re considering. You should find a mask that is non-comedogenic. Essentially, this means the product doesn’t contain ingredients that are known to cause or worsen acne. However, there are no guidelines for companies to make this product claim, so your mileage may vary

2. Clay

Clay masks are often a perfect solution for acne sufferers. These masks use a soothing, oil-absorbing clay to improve your skin tone. Used properly, these popular beauty treatments can help eliminate excess oil, exfoliate the skin, and clear out impurities. This combination is great if you suffer from acne.

If used incorrectly, clay masks can dry the skin too much. It’s important that you don’t let a clay mask sit on your face for too long. You don’t want the mask completely dry. Instead, rinse of the mask when it is just starting to dry. The mask will likely be lightening in color by that point and sticky to the touch.

3. Charcoal

Charcoal has long been used in the medical world to absorb toxic substances and eliminate them from the body. For example, many hangover prevention tonics contain charcoal – it works by absorbing alcohol.

This may be useful in acne. Livestrong says “When [charcoal] is exposed to contaminants, they literally become trapped in the carbon’s pores. Charcoal also has antibacterial properties”.

4. Peel-Off Masks

Peel-off masks claim to literally “suck” dirt and dead cells from your pores. You can see the results for yourself (it’s pretty satisfying!). When you peel the mask away, the contents of your pores is lifted out and remains on the mask – just like a pore strip.

5. Sensitive Skin and Allergies

If you have allergies or sensitive skin, picking the right face mask is even more important. Check the ingredient list over for any potential allergens. Next, check for components that have caused you skin irritation in the past. The last thing you want from your new face mask is hives or irritated red patches.

6. DIY Recipes

If you’re feeling adventurous, or want to save money, there are thousands of recipes online for making your own face mask. I didn’t try this technique for very long personally, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Everyone’s skin is different, especially when hormones come into the picture – a vital contributor to acne. While you should listen to recommendations from friends and online reviewers, don’t be surprised if you have a different experience with a product. We’ll check out some specific products I’ve found helpful below.

Can Face Masks Cause Acne?

Many users find that when they begin a face mask regimen, they experience more acne. Don’t be alarmed if this happens! This could occur because the mask is bringing the impurities up to the surface of your skin. This can cause more acne to form, but stick with it for a while before giving up.

When Should You Use A Face Mask?

The answer is anytime! If you’re looking to start using a face mask to improve your skin, find an ideal mask for your skin type and put it to work. Beyond that first application, make sure that you follow the directions on the packaging. Using a mask too often can cause new skin problems.

A woman wearing a face mask for treatment.

How to Use a Face Mask for Acne

Get into something you don’t mind getting wet or dirty and make sure your hair is off of your face. Now you need to wash your face with a gentle cleanser and exfoliate gently. Then, test the mask on a small area on the back of your hand or arm by applying and rinsing per directions.

My favourite trick when applying a face mask, regardless of the type of mask, is to steam your face. This helps to open up your pores and help your skin let go of the buildup of dirt and oil that can cause acne. You can alternatively take a hot shower or place a hot, wet washcloth over your face.

Now it’s time to apply the mask. You can use a wide brush, a device especially meant for mask application, or even just your fingertips. Once the mask is on, wait the package-prescribed amount of time. Then rinse the mask off. Don’t forget to moisturize after using your face mask!

Now it’s time to check out some of my favorite face masks for acne.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Aztec Secret

Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing Mask

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This mask is made from 100% bentonite clay, which is supposed to be fantastic for fighting acne. If you’re looking for a natural product that has a high success rate, this might be the product for you.

Pros
Pro 100% bentonite clay
Pro Great value
Pro Ideal for all skin types
Pro Multi-purpose: has several applications
Pro Adjustable to suit your needs
Cons
Con Must mix with water or vinegar to make mask
Con Can cause redness immediately after use
Con May cause uncomfortable skin tightening
 
 


Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Pure Body Naturals

Dead Sea Mineral Mask

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This face mask is touted as an all-around winner in the skin care arena. The highly mineralized formula is thought to be an ideal solution to many skin problems, including acne.

The makers of this mask also claim it has anti-aging benefits.

Pros
Pro No artificial scent
Pro Contains natural moisturizing oils
Pro All-natural ingredients
Pro Easy to apply
Pro Rinses off well
Cons
Con Natural ingredients can mean an inconsistent product
Con Earthy smell can be unpleasant
Con Can take several weeks for results
Con May cause skin irritation
Con May contain allergens

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

InstaNatural

InstaNatural Charcoal Mask

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This mask is the first on our list that isn’t a mud or clay mask. It uses charcoal to draw out dirt and toxins that can cause acne.

Pros
Pro Contains natural charcoal, great for toxin removal
Pro Washes off easily
Pro Comes in an easy-to-use tube instead of a pot
Pro Dries comfortably
Pro Cruelty-free, no animal testing
Cons
Con Contains chemical ingredients
Con Small amount for the money
Con Can cause excessive drying
Con Not great for combo skin
Con Charcoal can settle in pores making them look dark

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Pilaten

Pilaten Peel-Off Mask

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This peel-off style mask takes a totally different approach than the others on my list. You apply this mask strictly to acne-prone areas, wait until it dries, and then peel it off from the bottom up. It uses cleansing ingredients and physical action to remove blackheads, impurities, and dead skin.

Pros
Pro Unique application and removal
Pro Also removes fine, unwanted facial hair
Pro Great for blackhead removal
 
 
Cons
Con Tricky to apply at proper thickness
Con Can be painful to peel off (think waxing)
Con Can be very messy
Con Takes a long time to dry
Con Can get similar, less messy effect from pore strips

The Last Word on Face Masks For Acne

Overall, my pick for best face mask for acne is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. I’ve found it to be a nice, consistent product available at a fantastic price. The inconvenience of mixing the clay powder with apple cider vinegar or water is far outweighed in my opinion by the results.

There are so many options out there for acne facials, and even tons of DIY recipes on the net that it is important that you choose a mask for your skin type. Make sure you don’t get too hung up on any face mask being a miracle cure for your acne. It is only one potential step on your way to healthy, glowing skin.

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