Breakouts happen and when they do, you often need something more than an OTC acne fighter to deal with them. You need serious help and a face mask may just be the answer to that.
Face masks are more than just a spot treatment to call upon in an emergency though. They’re part of a great skincare routine to maintaining smooth, clear skin. It also reduces the odds that devastating breakouts will happen in the first place.
Below, we’ve brought together the best face masks for acne currently on the market. Do yourself a favor and keep reading for our top stuff.
Benefits of Face Masks for Acne
Face masks, whether for acne or general cleansing, take just a few minutes to apply, and most shouldn't stay on for more than 15 minutes or so. Besides their ability to help prevent acne, face masks provide a range of other benefits as well. Those benefits include:
- Enabling proper hydration of your skin - This is crucial for maintaining a plump, youthful appearance.
- Clearing your pores - A good face mask removes dead skin cells from your pores, along with metabolic byproducts, dirt, and other substances.
- Reducing the appearance of lines - Masks can cause the above-mentioned plumping, which smooths out minor wrinkles.
- Firming up your skin - A good mask can help firm up your skin, tighten it around the edges, and enhance collagen production.
What Kind of Face Masks are Good for Acne?
There are many kinds of face masks that are good for acne. Most of the best face masks for acne use one of the following ingredients:
- Charcoal - Activated charcoal pulls dirt from inside your pores like a magnet.
- Clay - History is on the side of clay so is a mountain of clinical data that proves its effectiveness.
- Tea tree oil - Tea tree oil possesses potent antimicrobial capabilities.
In addition, caffeine, cloth, benzoyl peroxide, and more are also used to help prevent oily buildup, dirt and acne-causing bacteria.
“If you focus on good skincare, you really won’t need a lot of make-up.” - Demi Moore
When Should You Use Face Masks for Acne?
While a mask is always a good idea, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use one every day. For instance, you probably shouldn’t use a charcoal mask more than once a month. This is because it strips not just dirt and pollutants from your skin, it also strips necessary and beneficial oils.
Clay masks, on the other hand, are less harsh than charcoal and can be used once or twice a week. Tea tree masks about once a week and gelatin masks, not more than twice a month. That's because they have a tendency to peel off a thin layer of skin, and your face will need time to heal.
Best 15 Face Masks for Acne to Try
Dermaclara clarafuse Silicone Fusion Treatment
The principle behind the Dermaclara silicone mask is the same one utilized by doctors to reduce scarring after surgery. Dermaclara uses Silicone Fusion Technology (SiFu) to create a suite of overnight masks that target various areas of the face, effectively reducing acne scars and rejuvenating the upper layers of skin.
You’ll feel and look younger and enjoy a restoration of your skin’s natural radiance. The next level of face masks for acne is here and Dermaclara is its name. Without question, this is our top choice.
- Can drastically reduce acne scars
- Produces a healing micro-climate over the skin
- Results are surprisingly quick
- Heals the skin to prevent future outbreaks
- Costs more than some other masks
Bioré Charcoal One-Minute Mask
The Bioré Self-Heating Mask is a charcoal mask that uses its own internal chemistry to open up clogged pores and scour them of dirt, environmental pollutants and unwanted oils.
It works quickly and leaves your skin feeling fresh and ultra-clean. It may catch some users off-guard, however, because it heats up quickly once applied. For most people, it's not a problem.
- Cleans deep into pores
- Doesn't leave dry skin
- Does a great job of reducing pimples
- Need to be very careful how you apply
Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner
Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More is one of the most effective masks we tested when it comes to clearing blackheads. A lot of other masks make promises they can scarcely keep, but the Doctor keeps his word.
PNM is a blend of glycolic acid and salicylic acid that sucks up tiny dirt particles like a vacuum and leaves your skin noticeably cleaner and lighter. The soft matte finish it leaves behind is very satisfying.
- Does a number on blackheads
- Leaves skin feeling super clean
- Produces a pleasing matte finish
- Doesn’t do much to hydrate the skin
Aria Starr Dead Sea Mud Mask for Face
We love the ambition of the Aria Starr Dead Sea Mud Mask which does an effective job of replenishing your skin. But the marketing goes a bit overboard claiming it's pretty much all things to all people. It's not.
What it is, however, is a great cleansing mask that contains aloe and shea butter that leaves you feeling clean and refreshed. It’s not great for blackheads and may not be great for sensitive skin. But by and large, it's a good beginner mask if you’re not sure what to use.
- Cleans and replenishes
- Stimulates blood flow
- Very affordable
- Tries to be too many things
- Not great for sensitive skin
Neutrogena Clear Pore Facial Cleanser Mask
One of the more popular benzoyl peroxide masks on the market, Neutrogena Clear Pore Facial Mask makes our list because it wages an unrelenting war on pimples.
The 3.5% benzoyl peroxide mix is one of the most potent out there and doesn't negotiate with pimples—it eliminates them. The fact that it does such a good job drying out pimples should be an indication that it may not be best for those with already dry skin.
- Removes blackheads
- Dries pimples out
- Cleans and tightens up pores
- Delightfully affordable
- The smell isn’t for everyone
- Not ideal for dry skin
L’Oréal Pure-Clay Face Mask with Eucalyptus
This eucalyptus based mask from industry giant L’Oréal does a great job of tightening up pores, smoothing skin, as wellas removing environmental pollutants, oil and dirt. It leaves the skin feeling naturally plump and hydrated, smoothing out many smaller lines in the process. It’s a bit harsher than some other masks and for that reason, it may not be ideal for those with naturally sensitive skin. Leave it on for about 15 minutes.
- Skin feels better in a hurry
- Leaves skin feeling plump and hydrated
- A little bit goes a long way
- Small jar
- Not great with blackheads
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Face Mask
Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties that make it a natural solution for acne-prone skin. This Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay mask from the Body Shop feels smooth and silky when applied. Though some may take exception to the scent.
The cooling sensation is very refreshing and your skin will feel incredibly clean after washing it off. Can also be used effectively as a spot treatment.
- Effectively absorbs excess oil
- The cool feeling is quite pleasant
- Easy to remove
- Good for sensitive skin
- Not everyone will love the scent
AcneFree Kaolin Clay Detox Mask
You’re going to get some mixed signals in the marketing for this product. That is, it simultaneously claims to be for all skin types but not great for oily skin. Believe the second part of that sentence. Beyond that, however, this is basically an effective clay mask, infused with charcoal, vitamin E and zinc. Itscours your clogged pores then moves in to soothe any irritation from the process.
- Leaves skin feeling refreshed
- Use as mask or cleanserCharcoal removes grit and grime
- Not recommended for oily skin
- Better mask than cleanser
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Mask
Neutrogena isn’t messing around with their Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Mask. This is a leave-on mask that you can use daily to get a handle on acne before it gets a handle on you. While it doesn't work quite as rapidly as the name suggests, our testing indicates it will do the job if you're persistent with it.
At 2.5% peroxide, it's not as potent as some others. But being a daily mask, that slight dip in potency makes sense since benzoyl peroxide can make the skin sensitive.
- Attacks acne at the source
- Infuses the skin with peroxide
- Reduces size of breakouts
- Can have a drying effect on the skin
Dermalogica Clear Start Blackhead-Clearing Fizz Mask
Who says skin care has to be boring? Dermalogica Clear Start mask fizzes when applied. This both tickles your funny bone and prompts those nasty oils and dirt to come to the surface where they can be swept away. This fizzy mask applies extra oxygen to the skin while the apple extract and other natural ingredients leave behind a soft, supple visage.
- Can use multiple times per week
- Quick and effective
- Gluten-free and vegan-friendly
- Not great for oily skin
- Some people don't like the fizzy feeling
Mario Badescu Healing & Soothing Mask
If you have sensitive skin and are tired of other masks setting your face on fire, you might find what you're looking for here. It's quite gentle while also being effective at restoring irritated skin. With niacin, allantoin and biotin it’s more a rejuvenating mask than one that’s going to scour your face looking for impurities.
- Doesn't dry completely
- Does a good job soothing irritation
- Clears up clogged pores
- Not the cheapest on the market
- Can be work to remove
Minimo Glow Facial Scrub and Mask
Minimo Glow Skin Facial Scrub and Mask contains turmeric which is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants, of course, are the sworn enemies of cell-wasting free radicals. The result here is that Minimo leaves most with a cool glow to their skin.
There’s also manuka honey to moisturize and prevent inflammation and hemp seed oil that allegedly breaks down blackheads. The jury is still out on that. Be mindful that even the fragrance-free version has a light, herbal scent.
- Turmeric is rich in antioxidants
- Leaves skin looking great
- Be sure to remove it completely
- Some will object to the sugar in its ingredient list
The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Overnight Mask
This is the only overnight mask on our list and it earns its spot by being easy to apply, easy on your skin and by producing quantifiable results in short order. There's a nice tingly feeling as it goes to work. (Fortunately, that doesn't last all night.) And when you wash it off in the morning, your skin should feel moist—not oily, plump or saggy. Does a really good job clearing up pimples.
- Doesn't dry out your skin
- Does dry out your pimples
- Can be used several times a week
- You may have to be patient with it
- May irritate sensitive skin
Mario Badescu Special Mask for Oily Skin
This is a clay and calamine mask that, with repeated use, addresses the problem of excess oil buildup and fends off the development of pimples. Kaolin clay, magnesium, and algae combine to reformat the surface of your skin, removing oil and environmental pollutants and leaving behind a fresh, clean feeling and a nice matt finish. Not a one-time solution, you’ll need to commit to it for a while.
- Good job preventing pimples
- Regular use controls oil buildup
- Works on a range of skin types
- Better for pimples than blackheads
DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask
Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula (DDF) Sulfur Therapeutic Mask is one of the best at heading off acne before it happens. It features purified clays that soak up oil as well as aloe and glycerin to moisturize. While sulfur has long been known to provide benefits for those with eczema, psoriasis, and acne and some believe it to be the not-so-secret ingredient behind the effectiveness of this product.
- Purified clays absorb oils
- Dries up pimples
- Great for preventing acne
- Not for everyday use
- Slight sulfur smell
“You can hide a lot of physical flaws. But not acne.” - Author Yancy Lael
Where to Buy Face Masks for Acne?
You can buy face masks for acne on Amazon, at most of the major beauty product websites or at your local beauty products supply retailer.
You’ll even find them on the shelf at some of the major pharmacy chains. As for our top choice, Dermaclara, you can purchase it from this link, where you can be sure of the quality, and you'll get the best available price.
Bottom Line: Should You Add Face Masks for Acne to Your Current Skincare Routine?
Face masks should be more than just the fire department for your face, constantly responding to emergencies. They’re the maintenance crew that helps prevent those emergencies from occurring. At least they should be.
Products like Dermaclara help set the stage for healthier skin that is, by its very nature, less likely to suffer an outbreak of acne or pimples to begin with. So don’t wait until the damage is done to reach for the mask—start making it part of your everyday beauty regime today!