Branded content. Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Learn more!
Spots, bumps and blemishes, oh my! Whether your acne is the bane of your existence, or just a slightly annoying factor in your life—like your little brother when he was in the 6th grade—you likely want to cure your acne woes quickly.
There are about 2,485,249 acne products that swear “they’ll solve your acne problems once and for all”! But let’s be honest, do you really believe that? We don’t either. We’ll help you get your skincare routine for acne on lock and share the best face masks to help you reduce and remove problems that come with it.
Face masks that target and treat acne issues like spots, scars, and breakouts are that extra step in your skincare routine that can improve the appearance of your skin. New to face masks? No worries. We’ll give you all the deets on the best masks, how to use them, and how they will help your skin. Welcome to the acne-free corner of the internet.
Let’s get started with the 10 best face masks for acne in 2023!
Only the best will do, so you’ll need a jar of Purifying Face Mask from Blu Atlas because it’s the best face mask for acne in 2023. Once you get your hands on a jar of this, it will be your instant “go-to.” Rich, dark, and super satisfying, this mask helps purify, detox, and eliminate blemishes.
Blu Atlas is a brand committed to making skin-safe products free from seriously harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. With the assistance of a medical advisory board, they also create their products with thorough, science-vetted formulas.
That means you can confidently apply the Purifying Face Mask to your face and know it’s an effective product. The acne-fighting face mask is made with 99% natural plants, fruits, and minerals, which means it’s super safe for your skin. Ingredients like algae extract inject the skin with antioxidants to boost overall health, while goji berry extract helps treat hyperpigmentation and acne scars. Kaolin clay is the real superstar, though. It absorbs excess oil, draws out impurities and toxins, and unclogs pores while ensuring they remain clean.
While it’s a champ at helping you get rid of acne, it’s also a nourishing and hydrating blend that doesn’t stress out the skin. It’s the best face mask for acne in 2023 for all skin types, especially those with dry or sensitive skin.
You can skip your monthly facial because the Drunk Elephant mask is ultra-luxurious and powerful enough to replace it. With a blend of AHAs and BHAs, it’s a celebrity-worthy mask that will help you quickly correct and improve your skin. This beautiful bottle can help improve your skin texture, tone, and give you a youthful glow.
The ingredient list is an eye-opener. Babyfacial Mask uses a 25% AHA blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids with a mix of BHA 2% salicylic acid. Other skin-boosting ingredients like cactus extract, matcha, niacinamide, and virgin marula oil make the mini-facial even better at improving your skin.
If you want to unclog your pores, reduce breakouts, and bust the buildup of oil, this mask will deliver. It’s a no-brainer for folks who want to enjoy an intense facial without the high beauty treatment prices. While the small bottle is on the pricey side, it’s worth it as one of the best face masks for acne in 2023.
Fast, effective, and no-fuss, Cetaphil’s acne-treatment mask is a quick fix for folks who want an easy solution to their acne troubles. Kaolin clay and bentonite are the key ingredients that help clear out clogged pores, while eliminating bacteria and irritants that cause breakouts and acne. As the mask works its way into the skin, the soothing ingredient shea butter stops the skin from drying out. We love the budget-friendly price and effectiveness of the product. It’s an easy pick for ladies and gents who don’t want to waste money on inferior skincare products.
Oh, she is glowing. Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial is a unique blend of hyaluronic acid, BHAs, and polyhydroxy acids (PHAs). When you’re dealing with an excess of oil, large pores, or annoying breakouts, apply the mask all over the face, leave it on for a minimum of five minutes, then rinse it off to see the potion’s glowing magic. Glow Recipe’s treatment is one of the best face masks for acne, and is perfect for those seeking an instant glow.
Killing acne is basically a full-time job for this face mask. Dead Sea Mud Mask is a gentle exfoliator that removes toxins and impurities that clog pores and cause acne. It also works hard to reduce excess sebum, which causes most acne issues. Botanical-based ingredients dive into the skin to ensure your face looks fabulous and fresh after every use. However, it is best to also keep a hydrating face lotion on hand as some users note their skin feels a bit dry after using it.
We love products that tell us exactly what they are. The Ordinary’s acne-slashing mask uses 2% salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin, help curb oil, and clear away dirt, grime, and bacteria. By keeping pores clear and free from irritation, your skin can restore and repair itself and improve acne bumps or spots. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque is a quick, easy treatment for folks with acne-prone skin, and it’s definitely one of the best face masks for acne in 2023.
Skincare lovers swear by this stuff. Indian Healing Clay has a cult following who worship this mix-it-yourself mask. It’s a simple clay mask that you mix with equal parts water or apple cider vinegar (if you really want to get rid of acne) and then apply to the skin to eliminate breakouts and impurities.
Each time you make the mask, it feels like a little science experiment or baking adventure, and you really can’t argue with the results. The clay mask is uber-effective and can help treat cystic acne, clogged pores, blackheads, and acne on your chest or back. As it dries onto the skin, and it helps reduce oil production and other acne-causing issues. If you want a super-effective acne treatment face mask, then grab a tub of Indian Healing Clay. It’s undoubtedly one of the best face masks for acne in 2023.
Give your bumps and blemishes a break with a night mask that helps repair and restore your skin overnight. Slip into your jammies, light your favorite candle, switch on your favorite music, and follow your evening skincare routine. After cleansing your face, apply this luxurious night mask that will help restore your skin’s natural barrier after all the daily environmental stressors like pollution and sun exposure. Skin Recovery Night Mask is one of the best face masks for acne in 2023 for folks who want to give their skin a break after intense exfoliating treatments.
This is the OG acne killer. Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask is an ultra-cooling, freaky fresh mask that makes you feel like a million dollars! Use it as a cleanser or face mask; this dual-purpose product can help you live a life of minimalism. This wallet-friendly face mask helps treat acne with 3.5% benzoyl peroxide, and removes excess oil and bacteria from your skin. Neutrogena’s acne mask is a favorite among many households because it’s so easy to get your hands on, and everyone in the family can use it.
Tired of acne spots and blemishes ruining your day? This plant-based mask can help improve the appearance of the skin without causing further damage. Ingredients like willow bark help gently exfoliate clogged pores, while other botanicals like papaya and fruit extracts calm down inflammation. The resurfacing and refining mask will help improve the appearance of skin with each use, which makes it one of the best face masks for acne in 2023.
Everything you need to know about face masks for acne
Go from acne-riddled skin to clear and blemish-free by following our tips and advice. Explore the key features of a high-quality face mask, how to use it, and other top tips that will help you with your acne.
How to shop for a face mask
Don’t start online shopping just yet. First, you need to know the key features to help you identify the perfect face mask to complement your skincare routine.
Know your skin type
Understanding your skin type can help you find the best product for your skin. For example, folks with sensitive skin should avoid products with fake fragrances and dyes, as this stresses out the skin and can even cause new breakouts. Folks with oily skin should look for oil-blasting products that unclog pores and keep them debris-free.
Lucky ducks with normal skin can likely purchase any face mask and enjoy improvements in their skin. Those with combination skin may need multiple face masks to treat their skin’s different needs—one face mask for oily skin and another for when the skin feels dry.
When it comes to treating acne, there are two main ingredients to look for, BHAs and AHAs.
AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) are exfoliating acids that help unclog pores and remove oil, grime, and other irritants on the skin’s surface. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid are three popular AHAs that help treat many issues like dark spots, acne, razor bumps, fine lines and wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) are exfoliating acids that help folks deal with acne, bumpy skin, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and more. The most common BHA is salicylic acid. It’s a super effective acne-treatment ingredient because it unclogs pores and removes dead skin cells, oil, and other surface-level grime.
AHAs and BHAs are two chemical exfoliants that reduce problems that cause acne. Keeping your pores clear and clean prevents further breakouts and zits.
Ingredients to avoid
If you’re dealing with acne, you’re likely also dealing with inflammation, redness, and clogged pores. Finding and using safe ingredients can go a long way in improving the health of your skin. Stick to natural ingredients and products that reduce inflammation while clearing out clogged pores.
Harmful chemicals used in popular skincare products are not ideal when treating acne. Avoid ingredients like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, formaldehyde, and artificial dyes or fragrance.
While chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs usually work well for oily and acne-prone skin, physical exfoliants can cause serious damage. If you’re using products with physical exfoliants, they typically feel like sand, salt, or little balls in your product, be sure to rub the product delicately over your face. If you put too much pressure on the skin, it can cause micro-tears.
Tips and tricks for face masks
Want to get the most bang for your buck? Then follow our tips and tricks. These tips will help you save money and time and improve your skin.
The best, simple skincare routine
Don’t have a skincare routine, but you want one to start taking care of acne? Here’s a simple four-step routine to help you curb your spots or painful bumps.
Wash your face: Start your skincare routine by cleansing the entire face. Get a nice lather and rub the product all over your face with gentle upward circular motions.
Time for your face mask: If you’re using a face mask, now is when you apply it. Get a small amount of product and work it all over the face. Ensure it’s evenly spread and allow it to sit for the recommended time, typically between ten and thirty minutes. When finished, rinse the product off with lukewarm water.
Apply serums or spot treatments: Allow your skin time to dry, and then apply any serums, oils, or treatments you have. Use gentle circular motions or dab products into your skin. Let your skin dry before going to the next step.
Use face moisturizer and SPF: End your simple skincare routine with a face moisturizer. Gently massage it into your face. If you’re following a morning skincare routine, you should always apply SPF. While you can skip this step if you’re hitting the hay, please don’t forget it in the am! It’s a super important step that helps preserve your skin’s health and reduces signs of aging.
How to use a face mask
There are many types of face masks, but we’ll walk through how to use a typical clay face mask. Most masks are thick, clay-based products that feel a bit like a paste.
Get a small pea-sized scoop of product and gently spread it over your face using your ring finger. You can also just place the mask on areas you’d like to target, like breakouts or blemishes. Ensure it’s spread evenly, then allow it to sit for about 10 to 30 minutes. Check the bottle or tub for a recommended wait time. When you think the product has worked its magic, use lukewarm water to rinse it off thoroughly.
If you have a different type of mask, be sure to read the instructions and how to use it properly. Acne-prone skin can be irritated easily, so you should do it in a way that’s safe for your skin.
The best time to apply a face mask for acne
Is there a right time to use a face mask to combat acne? Actually, yes, there is! Most face masks for acne contain clarifying and exfoliating ingredients. They work their way into the skin, removing debris, oil, and dirt and unclogging the pores. Because the face mask is essentially “scrubbing your face clean,” it can be a bit intense for your skin. So the best time to use it is in the evening before bed, a shower, or just as part of your evening skincare routine.
Of course, you could also use a mask in the morning. We don’t recommend using ones that treat acne, because they can be more intense and irritate the skin. If you want a morning mask, opt for a hydrating or nourishing ingredient list that soothes the skin while giving it a glow boost.
How often should you use a face mask?
Use a face mask once or twice weekly to minimize acne and any side effects. Most masks for acne contain intense ingredients that help restore the skin, like exfoliants and purifying and clarifying ingredients. These can be harsh on the skin if used too frequently, which is why using them once to twice per week is ideal.
Always patch test
It doesn’t matter what your skin type is; you should always patch-test products to ensure they won’t irritate or cause issues for your skin. Patch testing is a quick, simple method that reveals if a product works well for your skin. Folks with normal skin often skip this step, but we recommend everyone does it, especially those with dry or sensitive skin.
Doing a patch test is simple, so don’t overthink it. Clean a visible area of skin, like the inside of your wrist, and let it dry completely. Then apply your new skincare product, in this case, a face mask for acne, onto the spot in a small circle. For the face mask, you should allow it to sit on your skin for the recommended treatment time and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
Check the skin for signs of reaction like redness, inflammation, itchiness, or others. If it looks okay, you can likely use it on your face with no fuss.
Avoid hot water
We’re not crazy. We pinky promise. Hot water can actually dry out the skin, which causes a whole host of problems, especially for those dealing with acne. When dealing with acne, you want to ensure the skin stays properly hydrated without over-moisturizing. Using hot water will seriously dry out the skin, and you’ll need to compensate by applying ultra-hydrating products, which may cause new breakouts.
Other things to consider when treating acne
Getting rid of acne isn’t as simple as buying a basket of skin care products, using them, and hoping it removes your spots. No, you have to treat your acne like a “whole body” issue. We’ll highlight a few issues you should be aware of when it comes to acne.
Health is wealth
Flawless, glowing skin starts from within. You should eat healthy and stay active for the best, acne-free skin. Take steps to change your lifestyle like drinking more water, eating fruits and vegetables, and avoiding super heavy sweets and sugar. Simple changes can make a massive difference in the acne on your face or body.
Some people deal with and experience hormonal acne, which is a different beast altogether. When looking to treat hormonal acne, a great place to start is a visit with your doctor (or doctor equivalent, like a dermatologist or naturopath for some folks).
Keep your hands to yourself
Fellow fine creatures, we cannot stress this enough; stop poking, prodding, and putting your hands on your face! After washing your face in the morning, do your best to avoid touching or placing your hands on it. We know how tempting it is, but every time you touch your face, it transfers oils, dirt, and grime, which can clog pores and cause more acne. If you’re dealing with extensive breakouts and blemishes, the best thing you can do is keep out more oils and irritants that can make your breakout worse.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use a facial wash as a face mask?
Probably not. Face wash is formulated to remove the oil, dirt, and grime from your skin daily. Most face washes are lightweight cleansers that get in, get out, and get the job done. Their soapy bubbles and foam shouldn’t sit on the skin for long as this may stress it out. Face masks use very different formulas that help target specific concerns and issues, like acne. They contain rich, nutrient-dense ingredients that will sit on your skin for 10 to 30 minutes to improve the overall appearance. We don’t recommend using face wash instead of a face mask as they do not contain the right ingredients to enhance your skin. They’re best used as a quick wash before using your face mask.
Can I use an acne spot treatment instead of a face mask?
Of course, you can. If you’re running short on time and don’t have time to apply your face masks, a spot treatment can be a “quick fix.” While it may not solve the root of the problem, it can help deal with issues like redness, inflammation, and more. Spot treatments are fast solutions for acne and are easily incorporated into a skincare routine. Apply spot treatments before you put on face moisturizer so it can soak into the skin. They’re also affordable options when it comes to acne treatment methods.
Is a cream face mask or sheet face mask better for acne?
It depends on your skin goals and what type of acne issues you’re targeting. Sheet face masks are better at moisturizing the skin while introducing targeted chemicals to spots and blemishes. They’re also single-use products that you throw away after one use, making them more expensive than cream masks. Standard cream face masks for acne are better at removing dirt, oil, and bacteria from your pores which helps reduce many of the symptoms of acne. Cream masks also help you get more for your money and typically last longer. So if you need a little hydrating boost, go for the sheet mask, and if you need help unclogging your pores, opt for a cream face mask.
How do face masks help treat acne?
Specially formulated face masks for acne contain specific ingredients that help treat blemishes, sebum production, inflammation, and more. Face masks often contain salicylic acid (or other acids) that help reduce acne and its associated problems. Applying a face mask gives your skin an ultra-targeted treatment that helps improve your skin.
What’s the best face mask for acne in 2023?
Blu Atlas Face Mask is the best face mask for acne in 2023. The mask is a gentle but powerful detox for the skin. Each application of the thick paste pulls out impurities and toxins, unclogs pores, and helps fight common causes of acne.