If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that acne is the worst. However, there’s no reason for us to suffer longer than necessary. Many skincare brands have come out with their own concoctions that should help clear skin inflammation away. So today, we’re looking for the best acne face mask.
Can a Face Mask Really Clear Acne?
When we’re talking about any type of cosmetic product that’s aimed at acne-prone skin, we want to be very careful. While people whose skin is naturally tough don’t usually have to worry about ingredient lists, we really do. After all, if a face mask has the wrong thing in it, it could cause even more breakouts on top of the ones we were trying to get rid of in the first place. So let’s see what some of the ingredients we want to see on the back of an acne-fighting face mask are.
Ingredients You Want to See on Your Acne Face Mask
When you’re reading the list of ingredients that went into a face mask for acne-prone skin, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the following magic words.
- Bentonite or kaolinite clay. These ingredients are going to dry on top of your skin, drawing sebum out of your pores.
- Charcoal is great for cleansing pores and lifting dirt. It’s what gives a lot of these products a dark color.
- Sulfur works similarly to salicylic acid in that it dries out the skin, unclogs pores, and kills bacteria.
- Benzoyl peroxide is another drying and bacteria-zapping ingredient, so you usually won’t see both it and sulfur in the same product. That would be a bit of an overkill.
How to Put on a Face Mask
The way you use your face mask is going to depend on the type of mask it is. However, we do have some special tips and tricks that can make masking a more rewarding experience.
- Start by washing your face. You don’t need to exfoliate during this step, just cleanse the skin as much as possible.
- An optional step, if you’re in the mood for a bit of pampering, would be to steam your face. You could also take a clean face towel and run hot water over it, wring it out, and put that on your face. That would open up your pores so the mask can really penetrate the skin.
- Prepare the mask. Many of them come ready to put on, which you can do with (clean) hands. Or you can get a face spatula, a brush, or a spoon to do it with. If you need to mix the mask, you can put it on with the spoon you used to mix it.
- Apply it all over the face (and possibly the neck).
- Depending on the mask, you’ll either have to wash it off or you’ll be able to leave it on. Follow the instructions of the individual product. Usually, clay masks will harden within 20 minutes and will need to be washed off, while gel-like masks can stay on the face.
- If your skin feels irritated or appears red after a mask, it’s okay. It may just be sensitive to the clay. There’s no reason to worry, you can either wait it out or roll ice cubes over your face to close the pores and soothe the skin. You can also put on some moisturizer if the mask dried out your skin.
The Top 5 Best Acne Face Masks
Best Acne Face Mask When You Have Problematic Skin: Exposed Skincare Clarifying Mask
If you’re looking for a face mask that’s really going to sink into your pores and kill all of that acne-inducing bacteria, Exposed Skincare has got you covered.
Why we like it:
- Charcoal absorbs oil
- Bentonite purifies skin
- Sulfur kills bacteria
You might want to choose Exposed Skincare Clarifying Mask if:
This mineral-infused clay mask is one of the best things you can use if your skin is particularly acne-prone. The main active ingredient in the formula is the 3% of sulfur it contains, which effectively kills off acne-inducing bacteria. Zinc oxide will also help with that. It also contains bentonite, which draws out toxins, as well as charcoal to absorb excess oil. However, it won’t leave you completely high and dry, as it has glycerin and a few oil extracts to return some of that moisture back into the skin.
Best Acne Face Mask When You Have Oily Skin: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Daily Leave-On Mask
This Neutrogena leave-on mask is great for people who want to quickly and effectively draw out excess sebum.
Why we like it:
- Very drying, perfect for oily skin
- Benzoyl peroxide active ingredient
- Melts into the skin
You might want to choose Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Daily Leave-On Mask if:
This Neutrogena mask is incredibly effective for combating excess oil and acne — so it will only cause more damage for people with dry skin. This is also one of the most convenient masks we’ve found since it doesn’t need to be washed off. However, you should read the instructions carefully. The active ingredient in this formula is acne medication benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient is also an oxidizing agent, which means that you shouldn’t go out in the sun wearing this mask.
Best Acne Face Mask When You Have Dry Skin: SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque
If your breakouts present as redness and irritation, you’ll want to find something that can soothe your skin. This SkinCeuticals mask is just the thing for the job.
Why we like it:
- Soothing and hydrating
- Reduces redness and tightness
- You can leave it on, rinse it off, or use it as an overnight mask
You might want to choose SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque if:
The most common type of breakouts in dry skin leave the skin even more irritated than it already is. To make things worse, most acne-fighting ingredients will dry out your skin even more. Well, this one addresses that issue in several ways — it has sodium hyaluronate, which promotes healing, and Morus Alba root extract for skin brightening. We recommend using a silicone brush to smooth this mask over your face. That’s the way your dermatologist would do it!
Best Acne Face Mask When You Have Hormonal Skin: Aztec Secret — Indian Healing Clay
It seems like the whole internet has been raving about this clay mask. So what makes it so special?
Why we like it:
- Calcium bentonite clay
- Easy to use
- Great for many skin types
You might want to choose Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay if:
The great thing about this mask is that people online have done our work for us. People of all skin types have reviewed it and concluded that it’s great. We also love the fact that this mask only has one ingredient! The whole 1-pound jar is full of dry calcium bentonite clay. Once you get it, you can mix a spoon of the clay with some apple cider vinegar or water and apply it to your face. The clay will extract sebum and purify your pores in about 10 minutes, and your skin will improve the longer you use it. However, we should mention that people with dry skin will need to moisturize afterward.
Best Acne Face Mask for Sensitive Skin: Seoul to Soul Charcoal Black Mask — 10 Minute Acne Eraser Mask
This whole masking craze was reignited in part thanks to Korean beauty trends — so let’s see what they put in their acne masks.
Why we like it:
- Exfoliates and deeply cleanses
- Uses charcoal, bentonite, and kaolin clay
- Natural ingredients: witch hazel and rice
You might want to choose Seoul to Soul Charcoal Black Mask if:
This mask has gotten rave reviews left and right, and we completely understand why. You can’t really beat products that manage to play to the strengths of the things found in nature. The Seoul to Soul charcoal mask has clay, so it’ll harden on your face and extract all of your excess sebum while it’s at it. Then, when you go to wash it off, you’ll notice that the small charcoal particles are also exfoliating your skin. Even dry skin types should find no issue with this formula, as the rice extract will soothe inflamed skin.
A Little Skincare Goes a Long Way!
As always, no matter what we say, you’re going to have to find the best acne face mask for you. Sometimes, even people with the same skin type don’t agree on a product. So just experiment a little, and keep an eye on the ingredient lists on the products you’re trying. You may be able to figure out the exact ingredients that irritate or work well for your skin.