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Out, Out, Darn Spot: Emergency Blemish-Busting Face Masks For Acne-Prone Skin

Adult acne is a massive headache and even a legit nightmare for some. Whether you dealt with acne in your teens and hoped to outgrow it in your 20s or had perfect skin until you hit 30 and ‘discovered’ acne, you’ll know the struggle of dealing with inflamed and often painful blemishes, rough skin, and clogged pores.

We’re here to help with a pick of nine great skincare masks for acne-prone skin. There’s something for everyone: Some of these have worked wonders for us personally, and others are highly raved about. Some of them are best at purifying, others soothing, though what you should choose depends on your skin’s particular needs and your budget.

#1: Allies of Skin 1A Overnight Mask, $139 for 50ml
Allies is perhaps best known for its very first product, the 1A All Day Mask. But what we love about the overnight mask is that it’s more effective at helping problematic skin and reducing acne lesions, thanks to a formula packed with cell-energising reparative actives like Indian ginseng and pterostilbene. All you have to do is apply this to your skin post-toner, and let it work while you sleep. Think of it as a hangover cure for your skin in a sense. It contains a stabilised form of retinol that tackles blemishes, wrinkles and sun damage without irritating your skin. #2: Origins Out Of Trouble 10 Minute Mask To Rescue Problem Skin, $50 for 100ml
This mask was first recommended to me by a fellow beauty writer when I asked for recommendations after being beset upon by a sudden bout of adult acne. It contains sebum-sopping zinc oxide, antibacterial sulfur and calming camphor to tackle blemishes. The mask not only soaks up excess oil in your skin, it also gently exfoliates to refine rough texture, calms irritations and purifies the skin. We recommend alternating this with the brand’s Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to keep your pores clean and clear. #3: Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment, $105 for 34g
One of Glamglow’s best-sellers, this Supermud mask contains activated charcoal to draw out dirt and clean your pores, as well as a blend of six acids to brighten, resurface and soften your skin. It works well on clogged acne-prone skin, but can also be used to treat other skin concerns like discolouration and ingrown hairs. It is very pricey for the amount of product you get, but there’s also a reason it’s constantly sold out. #4: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying & Mattifying, $26 for 60ml
I was looking for an affordable alternative to the Glamglow Supermud mask a while back, and some sites and reviews had recommended this one from Sephora as an effective alternative. While I can’t say it’s better than the Glamglow mask (it lacks those amazing acids), it still does a great job of absorbing excess sebum, getting rid of impurities and unclogging pores without drying the skin. The mask contains zinc, copper and white clay and like the Glamglow mask it dries while with lots of little dark dots that make it obvious where your bigger and more oily pores are which is entirely satisfying to see. #5: Mario Badescu Drying Mask, $30 for 60ml
Here’s a mask that does exactly what it claims to do. It contains sulfur and calamine to dry out blemishes and heal your skin while preventing it from getting overly greasy. If you don’t have serious acne issues, you’ll want to use this as a spot treatment to avoid drying out your skin. Just slap it on a pimple and give it about 20 minutes to dry it out. This can even be used on back or chest acne for targeted treatment. #6: Kate Somerville Eradikate Mask, $85 for 60ml
This mask is on the pricier side, but it does a great job at clearing out the impurities in your pores. The fun bit is the foam-activated technology in the mask that causes it to foam up on your face. The gentle bubbling up also makes it feel like the mask ingredients are really penetrating your skin and clearing out those pores. It contains colloidal sulfur which unclogs pores and reduces blemishes, as well as a botanical complex of Boswellia Serrata, honey extracts, and rice bran to help calm and soothe skin. #7: Leaders Insolution Teatree Relaxing Skin Renewal Mask, $4
If you just want a one-off affordable sheet mask, then this one by Leaders Insolution is an easy choice. It soothes redness and calms irritation in the skin, and the tea tree provides your skin with the necessary anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent acne from flaring up. For its price, it’s also good to know that the mask is also free of parabens, mineral oils and silicone. #8: The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Mask, $25 for 100ml
The Body Shop’s Tea Tree range is something many of us got familiar with as teenagers with acne issues. It’s on the more affordable end of the skincare spectrum and it’s also got some quality products that deliver results. The clay mask is a refreshing, cooling face mask that has soothing tea tree oil and a purifying clay consistency. The mask deeply cleanses oily and blemish prone skin and works to remove impurities from pores while soothing and refreshing the skin. #9: Murad Clarifying Mask, $79 for 75ml
This treatment mask from Murad is one of the more popular clarifying masks around for acne-prone skin. It contains Kaolin and Bentonite, which are two rare earth clays that purify and deeply cleanse your pores by drawing out and absorbing impurities. The mask also contains sulfur which calms skin and reduces irritation as well. Main image: This story first appeared on Like this? Check out these sunscreen mistakes that are compromising your SPF protection, 8 refreshing facial mists to soothe your skin in the heat and sheet masks that give you a plump, radiant complexion fast.