5 Natural Face Masks for Acne


My skin is sensitive AND blemish-prone—it seems no matter what I do, how clean I eat and how careful I am about my skincare regime, as soon as I think I have it all figured out, a new thing starts to irritate my face and I’ve got new blemishes to try and treat. Things have been ridiculously better and my breakouts are further and fewer between now that I’ve discovered a beeswax allergy and a lavender sensitivity, but when I do see an angry red zit rearing its inflamed head, I feel like I have to do something other than pick it.

Thankfully, green beauty comes to the rescue and I reach for one of these five masks ASAP. The best part is that they can be used as overall treatments or just on spots to target inflammation and smother bacteria.

  1. Lewin & Reilly’s Zeolite & Elderflower Purity Face Mask: The description of this mask literally says you’d reach for this product if “you have sensitive skin and are seeking a gentle, natural exfoliator.” And that’s exactly what I’m looking for—gentle skin-cell turnover and some inflammation-fighters. This hand-crafted, Australian, 99 percent certified organic, wild-harvested and bio-dynamic mask detoxes with superfine, mineral zeolite, while elderflower soothes with antioxidants and vitamins. Add in the acne-fighting, inflammation-reducing power of turmeric and tamanu oil and this mud-like mask packs a serious punch against blemishes.
  2. Cecilia Wong Skincare Blemish Peel Mask: Since this one has “blemish” in its name, you expect it to be good for spots and it totally lives up to its name. It’s a beautiful, bright green color that looks like spearmint gum because, well, spearmint is a main ingredient. It oxygenates skin and pulls out impurities, while pomegranate and hyaluronic acid nourish. This is actually a peel, so it’s best used at night, and you might experience tingling while it’s on and slight redness once you rinse it off. I love that you can feel it working and that it has a balance of gentle exfoliators and plant-based oils to clear and hydrate skin simultaneously.
  3. True Botanicals Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask: One of my all-time favorites, this delicious mask is a go-to for me when I want brighter, more even-toned, smooth skin in a hot minute. Lactic acid stimulates production of natural ceramides and hyaluronic acid to prevent moisture loss, while removing dead skin cells and clearing out pores without being irritating. I can use this in the morning and not have to worry about redness before I apply my makeup. Plus, it smells sooooo good, light and refreshing, like a fresh bouquet of spring herbs and light florals (thanks to tuberose, star jasmine and neroli essential oils, which is like my ideal scent combo).
  4. Leahlani Skincare Meli Glow Illuminating Nectar Mask: Ok, so this is the only one on the list that isn’t targeted towards blemish-prone skin, BUT I find myself reaching for this at least once a week to give my skin a boost. The first ingredient is organic, raw Hawaiian honey, so it really IS blemish-busting (especially combined with fruit acids and organic rose clay), but it also works at the molecular level to increase blood circulation and oxygenation, producing a rosy glow. After this mask is one of the only times I look at my bare face and think, “Ok. I’m happy with this.” #miracleworker
  5. MOSS Sacred Ground Mineral Clearing Mask: I’ve saved the best for last (and by “best,” I mean the one that is consistently the most effective for spot treating my blemishes). This entire skincare line is painstakingly researched and formulated for acne-prone skin, so if you haven’t tried it and you’re struggling, I suggest checking it out. And maybe start with this mask as one of your first purchases. It nearly eliminates even my most angry blemishes overnight when I spot treat. Sulfur and zinc oxide are the two most prominent, bacteria-busting ingredients (so it smells a little strong, FYI to those with sensitive noses), but cacao and turmeric powder, along with MSM and neem leaf powder help to suck out infection and inflammation like whoa. Aloe powder helps blemishes from drying out so much that skin flakes, and I’ve had this mask drastically reduce the size of even cystic spots in less than eight hours. Mix it with a hydrosol, honey, aloe or oil for extra punch.

Any masks I’m missing? What do you use to treat pesky blemishes?


14 Responses to “5 Natural Face Masks for Acne”
  1. Naomi says:

    I am a BIG fan of the MOSS line. I don’t struggle with acne but I had a pretty sharp A-HA! moment when I realized that so much of what is recommended for treating acne (inflammation) is similar to what manages sensitivity / rosacea (inflammation) effectively. At least for me. Enter Moss, with all of its yummy, unique ingredients (well they are unique for me, I don’t see the same ingredients or combinations in other product lines) and my first ever transition through autumn to winter without a hideously red, angry, scabby complexion – it was nothing short of miraculous for me. I haven’t tried the mask you specify above but I have used the cleansers (absolutely divine!!!) and a few of the serums, as well as the Salvation balm (unbelievable) and the Healing Dew, which I don’t know how to “label” it’s not a serum or an oil or anything I really understand but MAN is it good with the oils / serums. It’s not an inexpensive line but, for me, the way it managed me through that seasonal transition (the worst of the four each year) was simply amazing and I definitely find it worth budgeting for a couple of key items for that period.

    I love the sound of the Leahlani mask and of course am intrigued by other products now that I’ve sniffed around the website…

  2. Rachel says:

    I absolutely love the Moss mask, and I hear the owner is developing a few more masks to look out for. I would also add Blissoma’s Refine mask to the blemish list. It smells lovely and does a great job working on blemishes. I also like that it’s a pre-mixed mask, so I can quickly spread it on when I’m in a rush.

  3. Courtney says:

    Thanks Nicolle! This is such a timely post! I have been experiencing break outs lately (I think due to stress and the changing weather), and I ran out of my jar of May Lindstrom’s the Problem Solver mask. I love that one too but I wanted to experiment and try something new. Since I have been loving my oil cleanser from Moss (Beurre Celeste), I figured I’d give their mask a try! I’ll let you know how I like it!

  4. Peony says:

    I was just thinking yesterday that I hoped you’d write something soon since I always enjoying reading your posts. Thanks for the detailed descriptions of the masks, really interesting to read. I don’t have acne but my face can be fussy and sensitive at time.

  5. The Lewin & Reilly’s sounds really interesting – I’ll have to try it when my current mask runs low. It’s the first I’ve heard of elderflower in any context other than delicious St. Germain cocktails. :)

    I’ve found OSEA’s White Algae Mask to work wonders for my skin. Here’s a review of it that I wrote if you’d like to take a look: http://roseandfig.com/5-steps-to-glowing-skin-osea-malibu-review/

  6. Tori says:

    I like herbivores blue tansy mask. Use 4 nights in a row as directed then once a week after. But my all time favorite is plain Greek yogurt. So soothing and nice. I find it works best if left on for 30-60 min.

  7. Naomi says:

    @Tori – I use a Greek yoghurt mask regularly in the summer, it is a very gentle exfoliation for me (somehow does not irritate my super easily aggravated skin) and the cooling effect in the summer heat is awesome! I also find my skin softens and plumps as a result of the mask. Great, eh??

  8. Moksha says:

    Straight up green clay has always been my default/best friend for acne. I also recently made myself a combo of aloe, jojoba, and a bunch of essential oils (from Young Living) that has been so amazing I thought momentarily that I was pregnant due to the stunning glow of my skin. Frankincense and tea tree oil are the main oils but there are several others. I used to get bad acne and it was not until I discovered that it was caused by diet that things radically changed for me (the consumption of dairy is not worth it for me).

  9. Nicolle says:

    @Peony: Thanks for the kind words! And all of these work on non-acenic skin too, especially the True Botanicals and Leahlani Skincare ones. Highly recommend if you’re going for any kind of glow! And I’m going to be trying to write more… promise. :)

  10. Nicolle says:

    @Courtney: Yes! Do try them and do let me know.

    I can’t get enough of MOSS either, @Naomi! It’s so so lovely. I have the oil-free serum from her and it’s done total wonders for my skin (so has discovering my allergy to lavender!).

    @Tori – I’ve been meaning to try the Blue Tansy, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Great recommendation!

    @Rachel – yes! I’ve heard the same thing and I’m keeping my eyes peeled. I’m in love with her formulas! And Blissoma is a great rec too!

    @Moksha – Love the DYI-ing happening! And so smart of you to focus on your diet too. It all starts from within, no?

    @Jess – Great rec on the OSEA! Haven’t tried anything from them yet, but now maybe I will…

  11. Ally says:

    Oh gosh, I LOVE masks. It’s one of my favorite weekly chill-out rituals. I haven’t tried any of the above, but I’m super excited to have new recommendations. I’ve been using Tata’s Resurfacing mask for a few years, but recently I started using Pai’s Copaiba mask, which is amazing! It makes my skin glow and helps curb breakouts, but never leaves my skin tight or dry like a lot of clay masks can.

  12. Katy says:

    Stark does pretty amazing things for acne. the Green Tea mask is excellent as a spot treatment and the spray cleans it up fast w/o drying and irritating.

  13. Britanie says:

    I swear by Manuka Honey mixed with Turmeric! It is messy but oh so worth it!

  14. Steph says:

    I’m loving the sound of MOSS must check them out!! I’ve been using May Lindstrom’s Problem Solver since my discovery of it on here and I looooove it. It’s really helped in eliminating scarring from cystic acne I’ve been dealing with over the last couple of years. I always find my skin less angry the morning after having used that. Besides that I also second using raw organic honey or Manuka honey! On its own or mixed with cinnamon, turmeric, I love doing that!

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