One of the most annoying things about battling breakouts is it doesn’t get any easier with age. If you suffered from acne as a teen but are still dealing with it in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond, you’re not alone. After all, acne is the most common skin condition in the US, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. With maskne causing a resurgence of skin troubles, more people are dealing with breakouts than ever before. Throw in all the stress we’ve been dealing with in 2020 and you have a recipe for pimples and blackheads. (Of course, hormones and genetics also play a part.) And what worked for you when you were younger probably isn’t cutting it now. Sure, there are always spot treatments, light therapy and skin clearing regiments to help, but a simple solution to keep your skin clear and under control is using one of the best face masks for acne. And, since it’s 2020, we’ll clarify that we’re talking about skincare face masks, not COVID-19 face masks.
Some can be used more often, but aim to use an acne-fighting face mask once a week. The best skincare face masks for acne treat and prevent breakouts by removing impurities, soothing inflammation, and healing blackheads and whiteheads. Every formula is different, but look for ones with a clearing ingredient, like alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids, since AHAs and BHAs brighten and exfoliate the skin. Antioxidants also brighten and keep breakouts under control, such as green tea, vitamin C and vitamin E. Natural tea tree oil and salicylic acid treat breakouts at their source. Mud masks, with ingredients like activated charcoal and kaolin clay, draw out toxins to clean out pores while soaking up excess oil and calming skin.
Stop breakouts in their tracks with the best face masks for acne.
1. Cetaphil Pro Dermacontrol Purifying Clay Mask
Clogged pores are what lead to blackheads and whiteheads, but this purifying mask leaves pores squeaky clean to stop breakouts before they even happen. The creamy clay mask deeply cleanses, leaving skin feeling and looking refreshed. It has two hero ingredients to do the heavy lifting: There’s bentonite clay to absorb excess oil and impurities, as well as pure Amazonian clay to gently exfoliate, lifting dead skin cells that can get stuck in pores and dull skin. There’s also apple fruit extract for hydration and cucumber seed extract that’s packed with oleic acid to brighten.
Cetaphil isn’t the most exciting beauty and grooming brands, but it is one of the most trusted. If you’re looking for the best acne face masks that won’t set you back $50 or more, then consider this Cetaphil clay mask for your skincare routine.
2. Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask
One of the best face masks for acne, this luxuriously rich formula relies on the mighty powers of charcoal and mud to clear up skin and get all the icky stuff out of your pores. The list of potent ingredients includes salicylic acid to treat acne as well as a botanical blend of tomato, aloe, watermelon, pumpkin and chamomile extracts to condition skin. It only takes 10 minutes to work its magic, plus the vegan mask is made with 96% natural ingredients.
3. Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask
You can apply this wherever you suffer from breakouts, including your back, chest and, of course, your face. The medicated mask has 10% maximum-strength sulfur that clears up and prevents blackheads and breakouts. Kaolin and bentonite clay dry out blemishes, zap excess oils and purify clogged pores. Meanwhile, aloe vera soothes and hydrates skin. After just five to 10 minutes, skin is cleaner, clearer, exfoliated and mattified.
4. Proactiv Skin Purifying Mask
BEST FOR STUBBORN ACNE
Proactiv knows how to bust breakouts and this mask is proof of that. Made with 6% sulfur acne medicine to seriously detox skin, it speeds up the healing time of pimples while reducing oil and redness. To soothe inflammation, it boasts antioxidants including vitamin E and tea tree oil, which also offer hydration. The mask can be used two to three times a week to reduce the appearance of pores or as an overnight spot treatment.
5. Wolf Project – Acne Sheet Masks for Men
BEST ACNE FACE MASK FOR MEN
Wolf Project is a newcomer to the grooming space, but this upstart is already earning rave reviews and awards from grooming experts. Available in CVS stores as well as on Amazon, Wolf Project makes masks and skincare essentials for men who want to use natural ingredients to fight acne, dryness and the first signs of aging. The brand’s acne sheet mask for men uses a combination of bentonite and kaolin clay to deep clean pores and remove acne-causing impurities. At the same time, vitamins B3, C and E moisturize the skin.
6. Rugged & Dapper Skin Fuel for Men
BEST CLAY MASK FOR MEN
For guys that prefer traditional acne face masks to sheet masks, we highly recommend this product from Rugged & Dapper, which makes some of our favorite men’s grooming products. This is one of the best face masks for acne because it’s great for all skin types: sensitive, oily, acne-prone, combination and normal skin. This fragrance free formula is great for men’s tougher facial skin, which is often raw and sensitive from shaving. Inside, you’ll find vitamin-packed ingredients like sea kelp, moisturizing aloe and kaolin clay for cleaning your pores.
7. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Face Mask
BEST TEA TREE MASK
This face mask spotlights two of the best ingredients to fight acne: tea tree and clay. The dream team works together to cool skin on contact and deeply cleanse it. The balanced formula won’t dry out skin, but it will soak up extra oil while soothing, calming and getting rid of impurities. Your complexion will look and feel smoother and clearer.
8. IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Medicated Acne Masque
This multitasking clay mask can either be used as a spot treatment or all over. In just five to 10 minutes it zaps oil and impurities, leaving skin soft, smooth and matte. Salicylic and glycolic acids give an exfoliating boost, plus antioxidants and botanicals, like aloe and peppermint leaf, soothe redness and irritation. Its mineral formula has organic sources of sulfur and kaolin clay to take care of excess oil.
9. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Purifying Clay Face Mask
Thanks to its ability to check off so many boxes, this is one of the best face masks for acne. Essentially a clay facial in a bottle, it zaps shine, mattifies and minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores. The combination of clays and salicylic acid treats current breakouts and prevents future ones. A plant-based blend of green tea, chamomile and willowherb soothes skin, reduces redness and helps fade post-acne scars. The mask also lightly hydrates to keep skin balanced.
10. Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask
Your skin will be detoxed, brighter and have smaller pores after just 10 minutes with this mask, thanks to its not-so-secret ingredient of Australian Pink Clay, which works like a magnet to pull toxins out of the complexion. It comes with an applicator brush to make it a cinch to get the right amount onto skin with even coverage. Once you feel it tingling you know it’s working. Made in Australia with 100% natural and organic Australian ingredients, it’s safe for all skin types, even sensitive skin.
9. Differin Detox + Soothe Acne Face Masks
BEST 2-STEP PROCESS
This two-step mask covers all the bases to treat and prevent acne. Step one is a blend of kaolin clay, hectorite and hotflux that creates a self-warming clay to zap oil, clear out impurities and detox skin. It only stays on skin for three minutes before you wash it off. Step two is a cooling gel with blue tansy oil and allantoin to soothe, shrink pores, ease redness and hydrate, and it can be left on overnight. To really reap the rewards, use the mask three times a week.
10. OLEHENRIKSEN Cold Plunge Pore Mask
Acneic skin can sometimes feel like it’s on fire, but this sensorial mask will cool it right down. Designed to work for all skin types, the clay mask instantly gets to work to get oil under control, reduce the appearance of pores, tackle dullness and smooth texture all day long. The beneficial blend of clay, antioxidant botanicals and AHA/BHA acids deeply cleanses and clarifies skin.
11. Acne Sheet Masks by Grace & Stella Co.
BEST SHEET MASKS FOR BREAKOUTS
Filled with blemish-fighting and hydrating ingredients like salicylic acid, honeysuckle and jojoba oil, this one-of-a-kind Acne Facial Sheet Mask will nourish and smooth uneven skin caused by common skin ailments like pimples, rashes and skin allergies.
12. Snail Jelly Mask by Skederm
MOST UNIQUE FORMULA
The Snail Jelly Mask harnesses the healing powers of k-beauty favorite, snail mucin. Snail secretion is filled with powerful nutrients proven to help with acne and nourish dry skin, and it also expedites tissue repair over time.
13. Effaclar Clay Face Mask by La Roche-Posay
This 2-in-1 mask is formulated with gentle clay to help eliminate excess oil and remove impurities that cause acne and blackheads. As you wash your face, this clay mask will help clean all the gunk out of your pores for that fresh and clean feeling.
14. Cystic Acne Spot Treatment by TreeActiv
BEST SPOT TREATMENT
Packed with powerful all-natural ingredients like bentonite clay, witch hazel, peppermint water and aloe vera, this effective spot treatment gently calms acne flare-ups from the inside out. With continued use, you’ll be able to eliminate existing acne while preventing future breakouts by keeping the pores clean and reducing redness.
15. Clarifying Mask by Murad
This weekly treatment for acne-prone skin features a natural clay-based formula that calms skin, reduces irritation and minimizes breakouts.