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Best Acne Masks

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 22 Models Considered
  • 19 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 138 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best acne masks

    Last Updated December 2018

    Whether you’re in high school or getting ready for a big presentation at work, struggling with acne is never fun. Plenty of acne treatments can help get the problem under control, but it often takes time to see results. With an effective acne mask, though, you can deal with breakouts and clogged pores more quickly, so you can get your confidence back as soon as possible.

    But there is such a wide range of acne masks on the market that finding the right one can be a challenge. You have to figure out the best type of mask for your needs, as well as what ingredients and other features will produce the best results. Sorting through all the options can be difficult, so it’s no wonder that so many shoppers get frustrated.

    At BestReviews, we tackle the in-depth product research, so you only have to focus on the key facts to find the best products for your home. On the hunt for an acne mask that produces real results? Keep reading our shopping guide for all the tips and tricks you need to know to find the best acne mask for your skin.

    Some clay acne masks come in powdered form, so you must mix them with water or apple cider vinegar to create the mask.

    Types of acne masks

    There are several types of acne masks to choose from: rinse-off, peel-off, and sheet masks. All three types can be effective, but some are better than others based on your preferences and skin concerns.

    Rinse-off acne masks

    Rinse-off acne masks are the most common type. They typically have a thick, cream-like texture that spreads evenly over the skin. After the mask has dried, you simply rinse it off with warm water and a clean washcloth.

    In addition to being easy to use, the main benefit of a rinse-off acne mask is that it’s ideal for spot treatments. If you’re only suffering from a breakout or clogged pores in one spot, you can apply the mask just to that area to treat the issue.

    Peel-off acne masks

    Peel-off acne masks have a thin, gel-like texture that can feel slightly sticky when you apply the mask to the skin. As the mask dries, it hardens into a solid, continuous sheet that you then peel off the skin with your fingers.

    While a peel-off acne mask can effectively draw impurities from the skin, it’s often difficult to completely remove the mask from the skin, particularly if you apply a layer that’s too thick. In some cases, you may need to use warm water and a washcloth to remove residue that won’t peel off.

    Acne sheet masks

    An acne sheet mask is a large piece of fabric or paper that’s saturated with ingredients that are beneficial for fighting acne. Sheet masks feature cut-outs for your eyes, nose, and mouth, and you simply apply the sheet to your face and allow it to sit for the specified time. Some sheet masks advise you to rinse off the residue with water when you’re done, while others instruct you to massage the residue into the skin.

    Sheet masks can be a bit messy because they often drip when you apply and wear them. You must lie or sit down when using a sheet mask to keep it in place, and it’s also impossible to do spot treatments with this type of acne mask.

    A natural formula for clear, glowing skin

    The Pure Body Naturals Dead Sea Mud Mask uses a natural approach to treat acne with a formula that contains purifying Dead Sea mud. This acne mask is also free of parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrances, and preservatives, so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your skin. We also love that you can wear the mask for as little as seven minutes to help calm acne.

    Features to consider for acne masks

    Ingredients

    For a face mask to really be effective at treating acne, it must contain ingredients that target breakouts and clogged pores.

    Many acne masks are clay- or mud-based because these natural ingredients are extremely effective at absorbing excess oil, soothing the skin, and drawing out impurities like bacteria. Clay or mud masks work very well for treating clogged pores, too. These acne masks often contain bentonite clay, kaolin clay, French green clay, or Dead Sea mud.

    Some acne masks contain activated charcoal, which is an extremely effective ingredient for removing dirt, oil, and toxins from the skin. That’s because the charcoal works like a magnet to draw impurities out of the pores so they can be easily washed away.

    Sulfur is a mineral that can absorb excess oil, exfoliate dead skin cells, and reduce the inflammation commonly associated with acne. It also has antibacterial properties.

    Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid and is often used in acne-fighting products. That’s because salicylic acid is an exfoliating agent that can actually exfoliate inside the pores to remove excess oil, dirt, bacteria, and other debris. It’s also known to soothe inflammation, so it can help treat current breakouts and prevent future acne as well.

    Like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne treatment products. In fact, it’s often considered the most effective over-the-counter anti-acne ingredient. It helps soak up excess oil, kill bacteria, and remove dead skin cells. Look for an acne mask that contains at least 2.5% benzoyl peroxide for the most effective formula.

    Tea tree oil is a natural oil that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it an ideal ingredient for an acne mask.

    Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that helps exfoliate dead cells on the surface of the skin. It helps clear pores to treat breakouts and prevent future acne.

    Container

    Some acne masks are available in a squeeze tube, while others come in a tub. Squeeze tube masks tend to be easier and more hygienic to apply because you can squeeze out the amount you need directly onto your fingers. With a mask that comes in a tub, you must reach your fingers into the container to remove product for application, which can introduce dirt and bacteria to the rest of the mask. To avoid this, use a silicone makeup spatula or the end of a makeup brush to remove product from the tub.

    Side effects

    It’s important to consider the possible side effects of an acne mask before you use it. Because the ingredients used to treat acne are often fairly strong, an acne mask may be particularly irritating for sensitive skin.

    Masks that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and activated charcoal can cause dryness and flaking if used too often. Masks that contain glycolic acid may cause a tingling sensation as they work to exfoliate the skin, and you may experience redness and dryness after you wash off the mask.

    EXPERT TIP

    Because acne masks are often fairly drying, avoid applying them to the area around your eyes where the skin is thinner. You can protect the under eyes by applying an eye cream after using an acne mask.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Acne thrives on bacteria, so be sure to wash your hands before using your fingers to apply an acne mask. If you prefer a more sanitary application, use a synthetic foundation brush or silicone makeup spatula to spread the mask over your skin.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    It’s a good idea to do a spot test before applying a new acne mask. Dab a small amount on the inside of your wrist and let it dry. After you wash it off, check your skin for any signs of redness or irritation before applying the mask all over your face.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Prices for acne masks

    Acne masks vary in price based on how many active ingredients they contain and the size of the container. In most cases, though, you can expect to spend between $6 and $46.

    A basic acne mask that only contains one active ingredient for treating acne usually ranges from $6 to $13.

    An acne mask that contains two active ingredients for treating acne usually costs between $13 and $25.

    An acne mask that contains three or more active ingredients for treating acne usually ranges from $25 to $46.

    A multi-purpose mask for both acne and blackheads

    The Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay contains 100% natural calcium bentonite clay, which can help calm the inflammation of active breakouts and remove dirt and oil from clogged pores. This cult-favorite acne mask comes as a powder that you mix with water or apple cider vinegar. We also love that it’s free of all additives.

    Tips

    • Always cleanse your face before applying an acne mask. If there’s oil, dirt, and other debris on the surface of your skin, the mask usually can’t remove as many impurities from deep within your pores.

    • It’s often a good idea to use an acne mask after taking a warm shower. The steam from the shower helps open up your pores, so the mask is more effective when you apply it.

    • Pay careful attention to how long you leave on an acne mask. If you exceed the recommended time, you run the risk of dehydrating or irritating your skin.

    Use warm water to rinse off an acne mask. It helps soften up the dried mask but isn’t hot enough to irritate your skin.

    FAQ

    Q. How often should I use an acne mask?

    A. It depends on the mask’s formula and your skin concerns. Always read the label to determine the recommended usage for a particular acne mask. In general, though, individuals with moderate to severe acne and very oily skin can use an acne mask two to three times a week. If your skin is normal or your acne is mild, one to two times a week is usually sufficient. For dry or sensitive skin, use an acne mask once a week to avoid dryness, redness, and other irritation.

    Q. How long does it take to see results from an acne mask?

    A. It depends on the severity of your acne and the type of mask that you’re using. Some clay- and mud-based masks can help reduce inflammation with one use, but you’ll usually need to use an acne mask for three to four weeks to see noticeable results.

    Q. What should I look for in an acne mask if I have sensitive skin?

    A. If you have sensitive skin that’s prone to breakouts, an acne mask that contains either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide is usually your best bet. However, it’s important to use the mask only once a week to limit the risk of irritation. It’s also a good idea to apply the mask only to areas of the face with acne, so you don’t have to worry about clear areas of the skin becoming irritated.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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