Acne medications can be irritating, and masks provide that sweet spot wherein the active ingredients can stay on the skin for a bit longer without as much risk for causing a flare up, says Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist and professor at Yale University. It also takes the guess work out of how much to apply, as the mask comes pre-infused with essential ingredients, so you just have to put it on!
But no mask is going to help if it doesnt have the right ingredients. As much as Dr. Gohara praises masking, she does warn against DIY face masks and sheet masks aimed at hydrating the skin. DIY ingredients can prove to be really irritatingtoothpaste being the biggest offender! Hydrating masks are usually filled with heavy moisturizers that can also clog poresespecially when left on in a mask, she says.
Instead, look for ones with beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid, that will help remove excess oil by exfoliating dead skin cells and unclogging pores. Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic and lactic acid are also great at clearing pores. Plus, they can be slightly less irritating than salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide and colloidal sulfur have antibacterial properties which can also minimize acne as well. All of these ingredients are effective at reducing all types of acne, whether it be hormonal, comedonal or inflammatory, says Dr. Marnie Nussbaum , MD, a board certified dermatologist in NYC.
Below, find 10 of the best dermatologist-recommended acne-fighting masks on the market!
1.Best Mud Mask: Ahava Mineral Mud Clearing Facial Treatment
Give your breakouts the boot with this mineral mud mask. With anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, your skin is sure to feel clean without any dryness. Most importantly, this mud mask targets excess oil to prevent future breakouts while taming present ones. Bye-bye breakouts!
2.Best for Oil-Control: Clinique Acne Solutions Oil-Control Cleansing Mask
Clay has been relevant in the acne world since...forever! It absorbs excess oil while also healing blemishes and preventing future breakouts. Dr. Gohara advises this mask as it has salicylic acid that cuts through oil that can contribute to clogged pores, while also having clays healing and oil-absorbing properties.
3.Best Detoxifier: Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask to Purify and Nourish
Charcoal is an OG when it comes to acne fighting solutions. It soaks up excess oil and draws out bacteria from your pores. With added ingredients like fermented honey and golden wildflower, your skin will be purified and nourished to treat your pesky breakouts.
4.Best for Redness: SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque
With acne comes redness, which can make spots look worse and irritated. This mask has active botanicals and hyaluronic acid that will comfort annoyed skin, which Dr. Nussbaum says is great for sensitive skin.
5.Best Peel: Laniege Clear-C Peeling Mask
This mask targets dead skin cells so you can say #peace to your textured skin. Dr. Gohara recommends this mask because it has alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), which help to loosen up the keratin plug (that can block pores and trap dirt and oil) and exfoliate the skin, while also preventing acne scarring. It also contains strawberry seeds for an added physical exfoliationand extra satisfyingwhen you wash it away.
6.Best Overnight Mask: COSRX Low pH BHA Overnight Mask
For those with whiteheads or blackheads, treat your breakouts overnight with this gentle formula.This mask has beta hydroxy acids (BHA) which go deep into pores to pull out impurities and control excess sebum. Plus, this star ingredient helps to balance your skin and prevent future breakouts.
7.Best for Sensitive Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra-Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask
Acne and sensitive skin are a combo thats all too common, but with a little love from this mask, you can sort out both issues in no time. Dr. Gohara says that oatmeal is a soothing ingredient, which is perfect for sensitive and dry skin. This mask helps to rejuvenate distressed, dry, acne prone skin and with a little help from added shea butter, it will moisturize your skin while also protecting the skin barrier.
8.Best Brightener: Caudalie Glycolic Peel
An acne flare or breakout can sometimes leave your skin dull and littered with scars, and this mask helps to target just that. This AHA peel helps brighten skin and dissolve dead skin cells. Dr Nussbaum recommends this mask as it contains glycolic acid, which helps to reduce excess oil and the appearance of enlarged pores. It also includes Viniferine, an ingredient that helps to lighten dark spots
9.Best Sulfur Mask: Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask
Colloidal sulfur is a miracle ingredient for acne caused by bacteria, as it has anti-bacterial properties. It soaks up oil deep within your pores and works even better when worn overnight! Plus, it has a special ingredient of prickly pear that calms redness and irritation.
10.Best Leave-On Mask: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Benzoyl Peroxide Leave-on Acne Face Mask
Sometimes your skin needs a little extra time with a mask, especially when fighting the acne battle. Enter this leave-on mask! With tried and true benzoyl peroxide included to kill acne-causing bacteria, it will do all the fighting for you without worrying about leaving it on for too long.