Hello there 🙂
Most of us get a pimple at some point. (Or two … or three … or four!) But if you're like me, it's less an occasional situation than a frequent flyer situation. In all fairness this year I've put more of an effort into stressing the condition of my skin less emotionally because if I keep stressing out about breakouts, my skin only gets worse and I'm just over the abusive self. talk. That is, although I am working diligently to accept my skin, no matter how bumpy it is, I still want to take care of it to the best of my ability. Slowly but surely, I've developed an effective skin care routine to properly care for my acne (here are some helpful tips if you're still in the process of curating your own acne-centric routine), but finding the right face mask wardrobe has it continued to be difficult to calm and heal my bumps and sores. So I decided to take my search to the pros: Vanessa Lee, RN, founder of The Things We Do, and Sean Garrette, a New York-based esthetician and global ambassador for Fenty Skin.
Not only will you find the expert-recognized favorites below when it comes to the best acne face masks, but you can also get all the info from super-experts on how to shop for the best formulas, ingredients, etc. and more. Keep scrolling!
"In general, when looking for masks to help treat acne, you should make sure that the mask contains ingredients that help fight acne, that it does not strip or dry the skin, and that the mask is free of any known irritants Inflammation and acne can worsen, "Garrette explains right away.
Not all acne is created equal, so when choosing the best formulas to soothe and heal your complexion, it is of paramount importance to be aware of your specific type of breakout.
"Acne is a collective term that many people use to describe skin inconsistencies, so let's break it down a bit," says Lee. "There is a general blockage that is most common in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and can be classified as enlarged pores with the occasional blackhead or whiteheads." Most of the time, Lee says that clearing clay masks is most effective at clearing this type of clogging and minimizing the appearance of enlarged pores.
"There are also more superficial, tiny, closed comedones that can also be accompanied by the occasional red, irritated Zit (papules) here and there that usually appear on the forehead, cheek, and lower face, usually in groups," Lee continues . This type of acne, she says, can be treated with masks that contain AHAs and BHAs, which can quickly help smooth out the texture of your skin while reducing redness or inflammation.
If you have cystic acne, which Lee describes as deeper, more inflamed, and more painful, a mask formula that prioritizes hero ingredients like sulfur or BHAs is probably your best bet.
“Sulfur works in a similar way to famous acne fighters like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, but it's a little gentler,” she explains. "If your skin is breaking out from overuse of products or if it has been stripped too aggressively, creating a vicious cycle of treatment, you may need to reset the skin and really focus on soothing it with ingredients like oats or soothing and soothing vitamin B5 which has natural anti-inflammatory effects. Once you get to know your skin better, you can make better decisions based on your needs. "
"Peel-off masks are an absolute no-no in my book," warns Garrette. "These masks are usually formulated with strong adhesives that can pull and pull on the skin, which will ultimately result in it More Inflammation and trauma to the skin that further aggravate acne and breakouts. "
Instead, both Garrette and Lee recommend opting for sheet masks, which, unlike a peel-off mask, actually add more moisture to your skin and possibly even add a subtle plumping effect. "Sheet masks are known to moisturize and plump the skin, but shouldn't be used as the main treatment for acne," notes Garrette.
In the same way as peel-off masks (which are often marketed as very satisfying – don't fall for them!), Lee says avoiding other playful types of face masks like bubble masks, which are for fun rather than actual effectiveness. Instead, she recommends pinpointing the imbalance that is triggering your acne so you can apply the right type of mask appropriately. Often, she says, the best way to do this is to apply different formulas to different areas of your face, an especially important tip if you have combination skin or areas that are much drier or oily than others.
"I love using two or three masks in different zones on my face because each area of my face has different needs," she tells us. "For example, my T-zone could benefit from a completely different mask than my outer cheek area. I always recommend adjusting it for best results."
If you're having issues with inflammation and acne, Garrette recommends avoiding face masks that are high in essential oils and citrus extracts. Both of these can cause irritation and inflammation that could trigger and / or worsen outbreaks.
On the other hand, these include some of the best ingredients for acne Sulfur, salicylic acid, and zinc. "These three ingredients are incredible for treating acne-prone skin," says Garrette. "Salicylic acid is the gold standard for treating non-inflamed acne (think blackheads and whiteheads), and sulfur has potent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties." In addition, he says, zinc will also help reduce inflammation and soothe the tell-tale redness and irritation that can come with acne.
Last but not least, famous ingredients like Hyaluronic acid, arnica, aloe vera, sodium PCA, and Niacinamide won't necessarily fight acne, but they will treat your skin with a helpful dose of soothing and healing TLC that will help soothe inflammation while keeping your skin hydrated and happy.
Follow Garrette's rule of thumb and do your best to avoid harsh face masks that slough off your skin and rob you of its natural moisture barrier. Typically, low quality charcoal and clay masks are the worst offenders.
"These masks can be used as a spot treatment to reduce oil in certain areas, but they can be extremely dehydrated and dehydrated on the skin," he warns. "When your skin is dry and dehydrated, it can lead to a compromised skin barrier that makes acne and inflammation worse." Certain clay masks are okay in moderation and can even be beneficial, but you should take a close look at the list of ingredients (see notes above) and heed Lee's previous advice which explains that these types of masks are likely to be best for people with general overload.