Acne is like the person you see at parties who always thinks you’re best friends. We met in middle school, but I managed to avoid her for the most part. She tried to come say hello here and there in high school, but I told her I was busy with my after-school job and couldn’t hang. Then, at some point early in college, she showed up unannounced practically screaming, Hey there, roomie! and never left. Despite being an adult with a career and bills and other stupid adult responsibilities, she won’t leave me alone. Acne and I have been stuck together for years, and she’s a total bitch.
I try to tell her all the time, Acne, we’re not friends. Piss off. She never listens. She’s convinced we’ve been besties for years, and now we’re making up for lost time—you know, the time I spent as a relatively clear-skinned adolescent. I’ve tried ditching her at spas, I’ve tried squeezing her out, I’ve tried burning her with lasers and freezing her with ice cubes. But Acne, that asshole of an enemy, will not go away.
If acne is cramping your style, too, try a few of these face masks to combat some of the peskiest problems: pimples, excess oil, and post-zit dull skin.
Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask | If your acne-prone skin is like mine, it’s a non-stop shine machine that must be stopped. I was sent this item through Influenster’s VoxBox program some time ago. This green mask helped me feel less shiny, both the day I used it and the following morning, which made putting on foundation sincerely simpler. Its mild smell and texture made it a relaxing mask to wear while it dried. It’s an easy-going product with beneficial, instantaneous—albeit perhaps temporary—results. I’d say it’s a great option before a photo-heavy day.
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate | I have received a few samples of this product through various blogger events, and I covet each and every one. This gritty mask is applied and kept on for up to two minutes, making it a quick option for those of us with too many zits and not enough time. (Note: It’s not really a mask, but since you can wear it for two minutes, I think it counts.) It targets multiple skin issues, including roughness and dullness. I found it most helpful for clearing up post-pimple areas that looked a little… sad. Overall, my skin looked and felt happier after using, with no irritations or backlash-breakouts. Grab this product if your zit is dead but your skin still seems bummed.
Proactiv Refining Mask | This stuff is all work and no play—which, in the world of face masks, means it is not relaxing or spa-like, just really freakin’ effective. The smell is strong; you can really tell there’s clay in there, and not in a good way. However, the smell doesn’t really matter because this mask thwarts pimples like nobody’s business. Apply it as a face mask for general acne-fighting or (and this is my favorite) use it as an over-night spot treatment to uppercut pimples while you sleep. Word to the wise: Make sure you shower after you use it sometime before you leave the house—the smell can linger.
Radical Skincare Instant Revitalizing Mask | Wow. After I was sent this mask way back when, I was certain it would be all show. It fizzes and pops on your skin—think gooey Champagne—which makes it like a spa appointment at your house, except you’re not awkwardly semi-nude in front of a stranger. (Unless you do that on the regular. I don’t know what happens at your house.) In the ‘un-sexy’ world of acne—I say that because I recently had a doctor tell me acne was “not sexy,” which like… I don’t disagree… but let’s keep the chit chat doctor-like, dude—using products reminiscent of spas is practically like using a bandage instead of getting stitches. This shit is serious and your frilly face mask won’t cut it. However, I was incredibly surprised when (gross alert) a pimple literally exploded mid-use, and the rest of my skin seemed thrilled about the bubbles and brightening/hydrating results.
masque BAR Anti-Blemish Mud Mask | Let’s start with the major bonus that this product is available at Target, and I can practically guarantee you go there. I was recently sent this mask to review, and I was incredibly pleased with the results. It felt and acted like the Proactiv Refining Mask, but without the putrid smell. Since it’s packaged in pouches, it’s not a practical spot treatment; however, since so much is provided in each packet, the mask applies nice and thick, which felt amazing. The texture and smell were pleasant, and after about 20 minutes the mask dried all the way through, which surprised me because of the amount I put on. After, my skin felt incredibly clean, my face looked less shiny, and I think it helped clear up a few zits. My skin looks and feels better, and no bit of the process was unpleasant, which is all I want from a mask.
And my battle with Acne, a.k.a. the worst roommate ever, continues. At least I brought backup.