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Face Masks For Acne

A couple getting face masks for acne.

Are face masks for acne helpful? It depends on what's in them.

Dermatologists often recommend masks containing acne treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur. Some dermatologists recommend charcoal or clay as a less drying option.

Here are basic tips for using any face mask:

  • Before applying a mask, wash your skin with warm water and pat dry.

  • Don't use a mask too often (once a week max) or you may make the acne worse.

  • Always spot test a mask before using it on a large area to make sure you don't have an adverse reaction.

DIY Face Masks For Acne

If you want to make a homemade acne mask, tea tree essential oil is your best friend.

Clay Acne Face Mask

"Clay masks are great for acne prone oily skin as the clay draws out the impurities from deep in the pores," according to dermatologist Dr. Michele Green in a Bustle article. A clay mask will help active breakouts heal faster.

Here's a mask recipe from Healing With Aromatherapy:

  • 1.5 teaspoons green clay
  • 1/3 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil
  • Aromatherapy hydrosol or distilled water
  1. Combine first three ingredients.
  2. Add enough water or hydrosol to make a creamy paste.
  3. Apply the paste to your face, leave on for 15 minutes, and then rinse off.

Honey Mask

Some sources recommend raw honey as a face mask for acne. Apply about 1 teaspoon of honey to your face (add a drop or two of tea tree or lavender essential oil, if desired). Rinse off after 15 to 30 minutes.

Does honey really work? It's questionable but worth a try, especially if you add tea tree oil.

Tea Tree Oil Masks

An acne face mask can be as simple as combining tea tree essential oil with one ingredient. For example, make a mask by blending 1 to 2 drops tea tree with one of the following:

  • 1/4 of an avocado, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

Tea tree oil is the active ingredient, so you can combine it with any carrier that's safe to put on your face.

Learn more about using essential oils for acne.

Kaolin Clay Mask

  • 4 teaspoons finely ground almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons kaolin clay
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 drop juniper essential oil
  • 1 drop Roman chamomile essential oil
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • distilled or filtered water
  1. In a small bowl, combine the almond meal, clay, and essential oils.
  2. Stir in just enough water to make a soft paste.
  3. Spread the mask over your face, avoiding the eyes.
  4. Rest for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash off the mask with lukewarm water.

Source: The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness

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