If you are prone to acne or breakouts, it can be frustrating. The important thing to know is that some skin types are more prone to breakouts than others. This is only part of the picture. We can also treat our skin to help to minimise the likelihood of breakouts with a regular skin care routine specially formulated for our skin. Using a face mask for clogged pores as part of this routine can help to treat acne and breakout prone skin, with a boost of goodness and deep cleansing. But what should you be looking for in a face mask for your acne prone skin? We test out some of our favourites to find the best.
What is acne prone skin?
We all have different skin types. Some of us have oily skin, dry skin, combination or sensitive skin. Some of us are also more prone to acne and breakouts than others. Why that is isn’t exactly clear but research has shown that it may have something to do with the TLRs (toll like receptors) in our skin.TLRs are receptors that assess any threats towards your skin and tell your skin the best way to react. This can be really handy - for example, the way stings and bites can be pushed out of the skin. But scientists now think that some of us have over-sensitive TLRS that can react with breakouts and acne.
But this is only a part of the picture. Skin care is really important when it comes to acne prone skin and breakouts. We need to keep the skin clean and free from excess oil. To understand why we need to understand a bit more about the different types of breakouts.
When we talk about breakouts, what do we actually mean?
Often we use the words acne, spots, blackheads and breakouts interchangeably but actually they all mean very different things. There are actually seven different types of breakouts:
The first three are when there is no inflammation present, so aren’t painful.
They occur when the follicle is open but is impacted and small, dark and common in the T-Zone.
They occur when the follicle is closed but is impacted and are normally small and white or yellow.
They occur when the follicle is closed and also capped are a white, small hard bump. The rest are classed as ‘high grade acne’ and should receive medical attention, as the infection can spread.
They occur when the follicle is closed and there is inflammation or some infection. They’re red and flat spots.
They occur when the follicle is closed and there’s inflammation and infection present that has grown enough to break the follicle wall. They look raised, swollen and often have a red or white top to them. pink or red, swollen, raised with red or white top.
When the infection from several papules or pustules spreads across the follicles it can lead to nodules. This is often painful acne.
if the infection spreads into the dermis this can cause large spread cysts - which often have no pus but can cause pain.
You can read more about different types of breakouts and the best way to treat them here:
What we can see from the different types of breakouts is that cleansing the skin and clearing out pores can help some types of breakouts from worsening and also help to protect your skin.
Do face masks actually unclog pores and keep acne away?
This is a question we get asked - a lot! And the answer is… it all depends. On the face mask you choose. As part a regular skin care routine masks are a great twice-weekly addition to target specific skin concerns and help to boost your skin health. For acne and breakout prone skin, the best face masks are those that work on the pores - drawing out impurities and leaving the skin feeling really clean. You need to find masks that have active ingredients that will penetrate deep into the pores and also act as a spot treatment.
Alpha hydroxy acids like lactic acid will help to chemically exfoliate the skin, dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together to help encourage cell renewal. Beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid can penetrate deep into the pores and attract oil and dirt so can help to deeply cleanse the pores.
You should also be looking for ingredients that soothe your skin and that help to build back moisture and goodness.
So what are the best face masks for pores and acne prone skin?
We have reviewed our favourites at the Jersey Beauty HQ - choosing the best for each of the top skin concerns around clogged pores and breakout prone skin.
Which is the best blackhead mask?
First up we looked at blackhead clearing masks. As we know blackheads look that way because they are a pore that is clogged up with excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells, which make the pore look dark. To treat blackheads we need a mask that cleans out pores effectively. While some blackhead pore clearing strips can help to draw out impurities, they can also damage the skin and pores. What was our favourite mask for de-clogging pores and treating blackheads?
The fizz you get when you apply it! - It may take some getting used to but this blackhead clearing mask has a unique fizzing action. This isn’t just a novelty, it actually helps the active ingredients to penetrate deep into the pores to draw out impurities.
Sulfur - which is an antimicrobial so helps to clear the skin. It’s actually used in the USA as an acne fighting ingredient.
Reduces surface oil - this is a big benefit as after using this mask your skin does feel less oily and greasy, which is good for preventing future clogging of the pores. This is because of the Kaolin Clay in there - which absorbs excess oil and helps to tighten the skin and pores.
What’s not so great?
You need to use the right amount - it’s easy to tell if you are - does it fizz? If you over apply this mask it won’t fizz like it’s supposed to so you won’t get the maximum benefits. The good news is you don’t need to use that much so it’ll last for longer!
Which are the best facial masks for oily skin?
To recap, oily skin occurs when the sebaceous glands overproduce oil. This then sits on top of the skin and can clog pores, capturing dirt and dead skin cells with it to lead to the conditions for acne and breakouts. So a mask for oily skin needs to reduce sebum (oil) and also help to regulate future oil production. One way to do that is to choose a mask that doesn’t dry out the skin as this can encourage over-production of oil. What was our favourite mask for oily skin?
Active Clearing Sebum Clearing Masquebreakout preventing claySkincare75ml: £40.50
What’s so great about it?
It cleans deep - that’s because it has beta hydroxy acid - salicylic acid. This is able to penetrate deeper into your pores and help to remove excess oil as well as preventing future conditions for breakouts and acne.
Double clay absorption - this masque has not one but two active ingredients that absorb oil - Kaolin and Bentonite clays. Which is great news for refining and cleaning oily skin and oil buildup.
It gets your skin’s own antibacterial agents working - Spiraea Ulmaria Extract in this masque stimulates your skin’s natural bacteria defenses to guard against future breakouts.
What’s not so great about it?
This is a masque for oily and acne prone skin. It has a great combination of potent active ingredients. If you have sensitive skin or don’t struggle with breakouts this may be too strong for your skin. There are lots of other great Dermalogica masques for your skin.
What is the best natural face mask for oily skin prone to acne?
We get asked a lot about organic and natural products for your skin. We understand that for some of our Jersey Beauty family this is a key requirement for skincare. We stock quite a few natural and organic brands. When it comes to a natural mask that is good for oily skin, what was our favourite?
Transparency over ingredients - the thing we love about Evolve is that we know this face mask is 54% organic and 99% natural ingredients. You can find out everything in the mask so you know exactly what you’re using.
Natural AHAs - Alpha hydroxy acids are great for treating oily and acne prone skin. They act as a chemical exfoliant, dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells for deeper exfoliation, which is key in long term skin health.
It makes your skin radiant - we love how bright this mask makes your skin - that’s down to the Peruvian Maca.
What’s not so great about it?
The combination of AHAs in this mask shouldn’t be underestimated! Natural does not mean potent!
Which is the best homemade face mask for oily skin and acne?
Our favourite: Banana Face Mask
You can make some amazing face masks at home! Try this one for oily skin:
You just need a banana, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Mix the ingredients (best in a blender) and then apply to your skin for ten to fifteen minutes. Use a clean washcloth to remove.
Enjoy your brighter and cleaner skin.
What’s good about it?
It’s easy to make and uses everyday ingredients.
What’s not so good about it?
Although this smells amazing, it is MESSY!
Also there are lots of factors, such as how ripe the fruit is, which can impact the benefits. And you can’t store it if you make too much.
Which is the best charcoal mask for acne?
If you haven’t come across charcoal yet for your oily skin and pores, then you are in for a great surprise! Biochotan Charcoal has been used for centuries in Japan to purify air and water. It ha the same properties for your skin - drawing out impurities and cleansing the skin.
What is our favourite charcoal mask?
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What’s so good about it?
You can feel it working - it tingles on your skin as the active ingredients exfoliate and purify your skin
It has sulfur - there it is again! Charcoal is just one of the amazing ingredients in this mask, as sulfur energises the skin.
What’s not so good about it?
This is a potent face mask - great for treating oily and acne prone skin. If you experience sensitivity you should try to use it just once a week or choose a less active face mask.
Some common face mask questions
We wanted to finish by answering some of the common questions we get asked at Jersey Beauty when it comes to choosing the best face mask for oily and acne prone skin and pores.
How do I mask for dehydrated and oily skin?
If you have combination skin - so it is oily in places and also dehydrated, you should look at multi-masking! The great thing about face masks is that they are a targeted treatment for a specific skin concern. If you have more than one concern then try using different masks for different areas. So for dehydration, try adding Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque.
While every mask is different, almost all require rinsing after you have used them. This helps to clear away the oil and impurities that have been drawn out. Often this can be a messy process! You can also use cotton pads that have been soaked in water to clean off a face mask, with a final rinse at the end.
Should men use face masks?
Absolutely. There are lots of face masks that are great for male skin. A great combined masque and exfoliant is Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant - which has chemical exfoliators, left on for ten minutes to brighten and renew skin.