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The Best Face Masks For Acne, According To Dermatologists & Estheticians

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United Stated, affecting up to 50 million Americans every year. If you've encountered your fair share of blemishes, you know there are a myriad of reasons why acne forms. It could result from stress, hormonal, genetics, or now "maskne". Luckily, a plethora of face masks for acne come to the rescue — and come at every price point, too.

"Masks can help rejuvenate skin by removing impurities and treating those stubborn blackheads and whiteheads on your face," Dr. Shari Sperling, MD of Sperling Dermatology in New Jersey, tells TZR. She says the result of using a face mask is skin feeling refreshed and smooth. And the dermatologist recommends using a face mask once a week.

To brighten the skin and help control some of the acne flare ups, Georgia Louise, a celebrity facialist whose responsible for Karlie Kloss and Molly Sims' skin, says to look for a face mask with antioxidants (for example green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E, or niacinamide). "Another important ingredient would be something that's cleansing like alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids," she says. AHAs and BHAs also aid in brightening and exfoliating the skin, Louise adds.

Refrain from popping your pimples and investigate the best face masks for acne. Below, dermatologists and estheticians gave their recommendations on acne fighting formulas.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Best Face Masks For Acne: Mud Masks

"This mask works well to absorb excess oil and calm acne-prone skin," Dr. Sperling says. "It is formulated with kaolin clay and activated charcoal to draw out impurities from the pores. The salicylic and lactic acids gently exfoliate the skin for an overall smoother appearance."

According to its product description, Bolden's Clear Skin Clay Mask "completely decimates breakouts, eliminates excess oil, and thoroughly cleans and closes pores, leaving skin clear and smooth." Formulated with sulfur, the product helps to kill the bacteria that causes blemishes, removes dead skins cells, and wards off pore blockage.

Caroline Godsick, a medical aesthetician at FACILE Dermatology + Boutique in Los Angeles, says sulfur is a great ingredient to search for in mud masks specifically for blemish-prone skin. The ingredient works by absorbing all the sebum that causes acne, without damaging or drying out the skin too much. "The Murad Clarifying Clay Mask is a favorite because it contains 4 percent sulfur as well as kaolin clay to help decongest your pores, while the zinc oxide works to promote healthy healing," Godsick explains.

Best Face Masks For Acne: Overnight Masks

Get some beauty rest while improving your skin by applying an overnight face mask before bed. Dr. Marmur, a board certified dermatologist and founder of MMSkincare, recommends using Glow Recipe's Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. "I like this because the ingredients include hyaluronic acid which is great for locking in moisture, as well as AHAs which helps to smooth skin texture and moisturize."

Dr. Sperling says that SkinCeuticals' Hydrating B5 Mask is good for all skin types. "It's hydrating and leaves skin smooth and moisturized overnight," the derm says. "Apply a thin layer for about 10 to 15 minutes and then gently massage the remaining product into the skin."

Sean Garrette, a licensed esthetician in New York, gives Allies Of Skin 1ATM Retinal + Peptides Overnight Mask his stamp of approval. "A hydrating facial mask enriched with peptides and a time-released retinol that reduces the appearance of blemishes, fine lines, and sun damage," he says about the overnight mask.

Best Face Masks For Acne: Sensitive Skin

Dr. Marmur loves the MMSkincare Balance Face Masks, and says they are proven to reduce acne while also helping redness and inflammation caused from "maskne". "One of the hero ingredients, niacinamide, has many potent anti-inflammatory effects and helps to fade brown spots," she explains.

Godsick notes that Herbivore's Blue Tansy Mask works and is all-natural, which can help those who have sensitive skin. "Blue tansy essential oil is a great ingredient to look for if your main goal is to calm redness, and the fruit enzymes and white willow bark provide gentle exfoliation to clarify the skin," she says.

If you want to sooth and gently exfoliate the skin, try out Golde's Clean Greens Face Mask. "Loaded with superfoods that carry an immense amount of healing properties such as spirulina is a great gentle detoxifier, mango fights infections and marshmallow root kills bacteria, softens skin and soothes," Shani Hillian, a holistic esthetician in New York, tells TZR.

Best Face Masks For Acne: Acne Scars

If you're on a mission to get rid of acne scars, Godsick suggests trying out Image Skincare's Ageless Overnight Retinol Masque. "Acne scars can be stubborn, but retinol is a great ingredient to help give your skin that extra push it may need to create more collagen," she explains. The skin expert says that while retinol can be too drying for some people, especially in an intense mask form, this product has some ultra-hydrating ingredients like plantago lanceolata leaf extract and tamarindus indica seed polysaccharide to help lock in moisture and reduce irritation.

"[It] smooths, brightens, and accelerates cell turnover to increase firmness, and treat acne your complexion with 1 percent retinol," Garrette notes about Jan Marini's Retinol Plus Mask. Plus, he says it hydrates and promotes elasticity with an antioxidant complex of green tea, vitamin E, and linoleic acid.

Best Face Masks For Acne: Oily Skin

Oily skin just needs a bit of a reset every once in a while, Godsick explains. "The Sanitas Skincare Tea Tree Mask is a great blend of clays and botanicals to give your skin a deep clean while soaking up any extra sebum. It also has the bonus of tea tree oil to help soothe and clarify!"

For oily, acne-prone skin, Garrette suggests Peter Thomas Roth's Therapeutic Sulfur Masque. The esthetician says it's a clay and sulfur based mask, which helps to absorb excess oil and goes deep into pores to promote exfoliation, while drawing out impurities, and dry up acne-causing inflammation. Additionally, the aloe vera soothes blemishes and hydrates the skin.

"This mask is formulated with a combo of different acids to help with acne, as well as active charcoal, which helps remove impurities from skin, and eucalyptus with antioxidants to help protect the skin," Dr. Sperling explains.

Best Face Masks For Acne: Clogged Pores

Godsick says the best solution for clogged pores is exfoliation, but to be wary not to go overboard. Her pick is The Indie Lee Clearing Mask, which includes glycolic and salicylic acid, as well as bentonite clay. "These support the skin by drawing out and exfoliating any extra oil, dead skin, or stubborn makeup or SPF off the surface, which decreases the amount of debris getting into the pores," she explains.

Unclog your pores with The Ordinary's Salicylic Acid 2% Masque. Garrette says that salicylic acid is great to unclog pores and clear congestion within the pore. "Along with the salicylic acid, it's also formulated with charcoal and clay to aid in it decongestant properties, but also included squalane and glycerin which helps prevent this formula from being overly drying and stripping to the skin," he states.

Dr. Marmur reaches for Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask for clogged pores. The dermatologist says it's an amazonian white clay mask, which helps to purify and detoxify the skin. She adds that the mask helps to eliminate unwanted pore buildup and brightens the skin.

Best Face Masks For Acne: Brightening

Louise says her Enzyme Peeling Mask contains 8 percent glycolic acid, which she notes is one of the best acids to help exfoliate. Glycolic acid breaks down the dead skin cells, making the skin brighter.

This face mask from Chloe + Chad has smoothing and brightening ingredients like vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants. You as a mask or scrub and your skin will be feeling soft and looking bright.