The best face masks for acne-prone skin
Add these to your weekly skin care routine for a blemish-free complexion
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / February 05 2019
A good face mask can be a game-changer for acne-prone skin. While a solid skin care routine focused on cleaning, nurturing and calming skin will go a long way towards keeping your complexion free from pimples, an acne mask can save you when you feel a few breakouts brewing below the skin’s surface, or as a weekly preventative measure. But unlike traditional face masks that aim to hydrate and replenish skin, the best mask for acne is one that soaks up excess oil, draws out impurities from deep within pores and rebalances skin so it looks radiant rather than greasy.
To help you find ‘The Oil-Controlling One’ that meets your blemish-prone skin needs, we’ve pulled together our favourite face masks for acne and shared our reviews.
#7 / Alya Skin Pink Clay Mask
Clay is a great ingredient for helping clear acne-prone skin because it absorbs excess oil and impurities. This mask contains pink kaolin clay to rid skin of pollutants, toxins and a build-up of grime to leave skin clean and clear. The addition of antioxidants in the formula help tighten pores. This formula is safe for sensitive skin types, plus it's vegan and cruelty-free.
The review: “I love the Alya Skin Pink Clay Mask. I don’t really use it for acne myself, but it is effective in keeping it at bay: the kaolin clay helps to draw out impurities. I love it as it’s great at reducing redness in my skin and tightening my pores.” Toni Hynes, Who & New Idea’s Beauty Editor
#6 / Oskia Renaissance Mask
The combination of fruit and lactic acids in this mask act like a peel to remove stubborn dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, while the balm-like texture is pampering (but not pore-clogging) on the complexion. It’s able to deeply clean skin to prevent pores from clogging and spots from forming, and prebiotics in the formula create a healthy environment on your skin that’s free from acne-causing bacteria. Plus, the scent of rose, passionfruit and chamomile is divine!
The review: “It resurfaces the skin so gently, so it is great to heal acne faster. Lactic acid and fruit acids are so smoothing and soothing.” Jovanka, SUPERcrew member
#5 / Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask
Besides oil-absorbing kaolin clay, your skin is going to love the antibacterial manuka honey and pimple-fighting salicylic acid in this formula. It soothes, hydrates and controls oil, plus 98.76 per cent of the ingredients in this drugstore face mask are naturally-derived.
The review: “This mask is fantastic for my oil-prone skin. I use it once a week and I find it leaves my skin glowing. My pores seem clean and a lot smaller, which is a big plus! It feels like it clears out my congested skin!” Teegan, SUPERcrew member
#4 / Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
A great face mask for acne scars as it increases cell turnover and boosts collagen production (hint: two top qualities for fading acne scars), this mask exfoliates, peels and renews skin all in one. Pumpkin enzymes and AHAs give skin a chemical exfoliation to help remove pore-clogging dead skin cells and decongest skin, while aluminum oxide crystals provide a manual scrub to improve skin texture. What you’re left with is a brighter, smoother, clearer and more radiant complexion.
The review: “This pumpkin mask smells SO delicious and it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth as soon as I wash it off; by morning my acne is less severe and red. I like that it uses fruit enzymes and AHAs to unclog my pores and doesn’t give my skin that tight feeling that I get from clay masks. I have to stop myself from using it every night as I love how it leaves my skin looking and feeling.” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
#3 / Sukin Oil Balancing Plus Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Masque
Charcoal and acne are a match made in heaven. The natural ingredient draws out toxins and impurities to leave skin purified and cleansed. This mask also contains aloe vera to calm inflamed acne and pomegranate extract to rebalance your skin’s natural oil production. To top it all off, avocado, coconut and rosehip oils leave skin nourished.
The review: “When I’ve had a breakout, I’ll firstly give my skin a good cleanse and exfoliation to shift any surface debris that could be contributing to the problem. I’ll then grab my Sukin Oil Balancing Plus Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Masque and apply a generous layer across my face. If I’m short on time, or can’t be bothered with the effort of removing a full face of mask, I just apply it to the problem area to help clear it faster. The formula is antioxidant-rich and contains charcoal and rice powder to soak up any excess oil. It leaves your complexion looking really clean and matte. I also really love the smell of this one – it’s very pleasant and smells a little herby and earthy. I find it really relaxing.” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
#2 / Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque
There are a lot of great acne-fighting ingredients in this mask. Activated binchotan charcoal to absorb excess oil and dirt, sulphur to increase cell turnover, niacinamide to reduce congestion, Chilean wild mint to minimise the appearance of pores, and alpha hydroxy acids to remove dead skin cells for a brighter and clearer complexion. Basically, it doesn’t just ease acne, it is a great all-rounder for every skin type.
The reviews: “I mostly use masks for brightness and hydration, but when I feel my congestion is getting a little out of control, the Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque is one of my go-tos to help control oil production and hopefully dry out any pimples before they get too unsightly (I also find it sometimes helps speed up the process, so while a pimple may be on my face for a week from initial stages to disappearing, the mask gets it over and done with a bit quicker). A word of warning that it does come with a slight tingling or burning feeling on application, but that subsides after a few seconds.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
“I wear makeup every day for 10 hours a day. This charcoal mask exfoliates my skin deeply and thoroughly, removing impurities on my face and blackheads around my nose area. My skin feels extremely clean and fresh after use.” Helen, SUPERcrew member
#1 / Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment
Glamglow’s best-selling mud mask, this formula works overtime to clear problem skin by controlling oiliness, banishing blemishes and unclogging pores. It’s enriched with a blend of six acids, activated-x charcoal, and K-17 clay that help to instantly clear and clarify the complexion. It can also be used as a spot treatment to disappear pimples overnight.
The reviews: “My go-to when pesky signs of a pimple start to appear, l apply it before bed as a spot treatment and in the morning, like magic, it has disappeared!” Carmen, SUPERcrew member
“Amazing for clearing the pores and also as a spot treatment. When I have a pimple coming out I put some Glamglow on it and it will either disappear or ‘mature’ faster and be less irritated.” Anita, SUPERcrew member
Are peel-off charcoal masks worth the hype? We asked an expert.
What’s your favourite acne face mask? We’d love you to share your review with us below.
Main image credit: @januaryjones
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.