My Favorite Face Masks for Acne-Prone Skin

My Favorite Face Masks for Acne-Prone Skin

The Not Cute Backstory 

About three years ago now, I was diagnosed with cystic acne. Long story short, the fall semester of my junior year of college, my face just exploded in acne. Not pretty at all. And this was an entirely new thing for me since I had always had really clear skin.

I don’t have pictures because shocker…I didn’t want to be in ANY pics. Since then, I’ve basically 100% cleared up my cystic acne.

Would you guys be interested in a full on story of how I cleared up my cystic acne? If yes, let me know in the comments! 

However, I was definitely left with not the perfect skin I had in high school. I deal with LOTS of texture and some minor acne scarring. As well as normal breakouts, too.

I’m so much more conscious of my skincare routine, and I try a lot harder to put good things on my skin. Masks are one of the things that absolutely cleared up my cystic acne and also really really really helps keep me acne free. I do have breakouts just like everyone else now and using multiple kinds of facemasks helps combat my skin problems.

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How I Use Different Face Masks to Combat Acne-Prone Skin

♡ blackhead removing / / charcoal masks

I know you guys might think charcoal masks are just hype, especially because you see the peel off masks alllll over Instagram. However, I’ve been using charcoal masks for like two years now…

Charcoal is amazing for acne it really detoxifies and purifies your pores, which is something my skin naturally struggles with.

♡ charcoal benefits

draws bacteria and toxins to the top of the skin

tightens and minimizes the appearance of pores

helps fight acne and create a flawless complexion

So for real, this is not Instagram hype. The charcoal mask that I will take to my grave with me is the GlamGlow Super Mud Mask –> here

It will basically satisfy all your wishes and dreams for the ultimate pulling blackheads and acne out of your pores.

♡ exfoliating / / pumpkin masks

I have a problem of texture…like not even whiteheads of blackheads sometimes but BUMPS. Like small white bumps that just make the surface of my skin look uneven.

My dermatologist told me that it’s basically just texture. It’s pores getting clogged up with skin cells that don’t turn over fast enough. Cell turnover on your face is what keeps your pores from getting clogged.

Enter…my exfoliating masks.

♡ pumpkin benefits

packed with fruit enzymes and & alpha hydroxy acids that increase cell turnover

antioxidant Vitamin A and C to soften & soothe skin

boosts collagen product to prevent signs of aging

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

The Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin enzyme mask is my absolute ride or die for this. Ole Henriksen also makes a super great pumpkin mask. (both at Sephora, here & here)

However, it is a very strong exfoliator. When my skin is feeling a little sensitive, I go for the Tatcha powder…

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

  • exfoliates & tones without harsh abrasives for smooth, baby soft skin
  • made with conditioning pearl extract
  • ingredients: rice bran, papaya, & anti-aging complex

♡anti-aging / / sheet masks 

I LOVE sheet masks for packing on the anti-aging serums. When you pick a good quality sheet mask, you’re getting something SOAKED with an antioxidizing product that is going to seep right into your skin. (Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold, Dr. G Wrinkle Snail Mask, Karuna Age-Defying)

♡ ingredients I look for 

peptides – key to revitalizing your skin building blocks

hyaluronic acid – improves skin texture & brightness

organic extracts – blueberry, flower extracts, etc…


♡soothing & cooling / / sheet masks 2.0

As you can see, this is a LOT for your skin to handle. And sometimes, you just need a super basic cooling, soothing mask.

For this, too, I love sheet masks. You just can’t beat them on like relaxing, cooling ingredients.

The blue Dr. Jart Water Replenishment mask is my absolute go-to. I basically pick 1-2 up at Sephora every time I go because I love having these on hand. (get it at Sephora here)




Super Detoxifying Mask Routine

One routine I’ve been loving lately is this routine I’m about to break down for you.

♡step 1 : charcoal mask

This brings all of my blackheads and dirt right to the surface of my skin. Wipe off the charcoal mask with a towel like usual.

use the GlamGlow Super Mud Treatment –> here

♡ step 2 : exfoliate dirt & toxins off with a pumpkin mask

Then, I take an exfoliating mask and basically use it as a scrub. I for real noticed a difference when I take the extra step to scrub my face after bringing all the grossness to the surface with the charcoal mask.

use the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme mask –> here

♡ step 3 : soothe my skin / pack on the antioxidants when my pores are open

At this point, your pores are OPEN aka it’s a perfect time to pile on the antioxidants. This is when sheet masks are ridiculously handy for forcing your pores to soak up vitamins, peptides, organic extracts, & other great ingredients in good sheet masks.

use the Dr. Jart Water Replenishment mask here –> here


Is this super extra? yes.

Do I do this every night? no.

Is it really fun to pamper myself and feel super detoxed? totally.


What are some masks I’m missing out on ?? NEED to know. If you liked this post, there’s more beauty & skincare tips coming your way if you leave your email in the pink bar below.

I’m loving Insta stories, so follow me on Instagram for more #bts skincare –> hereslightly savvy may blogging goals

  • I love sheet mask! Haven’t tries these yet will have to try them out.

    • Katherine

      Same – they’re so simple and easy! Plus, I love that more and more brands are coming out with different types of sheet masks for different things. Thanks for reading!

  • Ooh I’m definitely going to pin this for the next time I need to get some new face masks! This is so helpful, love!!

  • I have cystic acne, too! I’ve finally found a way to control it but I’m going to look into these products. I might need them.

    • Katherine

      Definitely give it a shot! I went on an oral medication that also really helped with my cystic acne, but that was from the dermatologist.

  • My skin is oily and acne sometimes ravage it. I liked the tips offered by you. Thanks.

  • I’ve only used a mask once and that was years ago! I really like the sound of this routine and should totally do it 😌

    • Katherine

      Definitely give it a shot! It’s pretty fun AND your skin will look great. Thanks for reading, Cori! xx

  • I haven’t used a facemask in a long time. I’ve been wanting to try a charcoal mask. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Katherine

      So glad you liked it! Let me know how the charcoal works for you if you try it.

  • Love these tips, even at 32 I still struggle with acne!

  • I am 27 and stilllllll have cystic acne (ew ew ew ew, so gross). I had my acne under control with birth control, but since I moved off of it my old skin is back. Not as bad a years ago, but a few here and there (which are HUGE!). I want to try the charcoal mask. I was always weary to use it, but I will give it a try!

  • I am definitely writing down these recommendations! I have cystic acne too and I hate it! It comes and goes though. Want to try that charcoal mask!!

  • YES girl!! Thank you for sharing your struggle! I’ve tried a few charcoal products before, and I’ll have to try the ones you’ve mentioned! Loved this post xo

  • Thanks for sharing your story! You’ve definitely come along way. I’ve never tried pumpkin masks before but I’m now really keen try it out!! 🙂

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