When it comes to making your own DIY face mask for acne, there are countless options. Sure, it can be fun to feel like a chemist in your kitchen, throwing together every ingredient from cinnamon to apple cider vinegar, but which face masks really help? And how do you know which DIY face mask for acne is right for you? We’ve compiled all of the best DIY acne face mask for acne recipes and sorted them into four categories based on skin type: sensitive, dry, oily, and combination.
As a note, before trying any of these DIY recipes on your face, make sure to test a small area on your arm to make sure you don’t have any kind of allergic reactions.
DIY Face Mask for Acne: Sensitive Skin
The most important thing to remember when creating a face mask for acne for sensitive skin is that you need to use gentle ingredients. Sensitive skin is more easily irritated than other skin types, and this irritation can lead to more acne.
When the skin is irritated, it tries to protect itself by producing more oil and triggering the inflammation response. The extra oil is meant to create a barrier between the skin and the irritant, and the inflammation prevents the irritant from spreading further into the skin. When the skin is inflamed, it swells slightly and the pores constrict, and any oil and dead skin cells (and sometimes bacteria) that were on the surface of the skin get trapped in the pore. This is how all acne starts, from blackheads to cysts. When this inflammation is combined with extra oil production, that oil rarely makes it to the surface of the skin where it is meant to be helping. Instead it gets trapped in the pore as well, due to the inflammation.
This process occurs in all skin types, but it is especially common for sensitive skin, so you will likely see the most benefit from masks that focus on reducing inflammation. When you make your face mask for acne, it’s important to use very gentle ingredients. We recommend trying a Honey & Lavender Oil Mask.
Honey & Lavender Oil Mask
This is the perfect mask for sensitive skin, but it’s also great for anyone out there struggling with anxiety and anxiety-induced acne. Research has found a clear link between acne and stress because when our bodies are stressed, then go into fight, flight, or freeze mode, which triggers the inflammation response, which we now know can lead to acne. Because of this link, researchers suspect that those with high levels of anxiety or anxiety disorders are more likely to have acne.
We always recommend honey for sensitive skin because it has all the properties of harsher ingredients, but half the irritation. Honey is gentle, but it’s also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and it can help speed the wound healing process. Acne is technically a kind of wound, and the longer it lasts, the more likely it is to scar, so honey can be very helpful in scar prevention.
The only other ingredient that could make a better face mask for acne and sensitive skin is lavender oil. Essential oils for acne can be surprisingly helpful and lavender oil is no exception. It contains powerful antioxidants which fight inflammation, and studies show that it can significantly improve anxiety, which can also help reduce inflammation.
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- 3 drops of lavender oil
Combine the honey and lavender oil and stir until mixed evenly. Use your fingertips (or a cotton ball, if the stickiness bothers you) and apply the mixture to your face. Then you can relax, read a book, even take a nap if you’re the kind of person who can stay still while you sleep. This mask can stay on for however long you like, but we recommend leaving it on for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to remove the mask, simply rinse your face with cool water and pat dry with a soft towel.
DIY Face Mask for Acne: Dry Skin
Usually, dry skin is also sensitive skin. Unlike regular sensitive skin, which is sensitive for any number of reasons, from genetics to illness, dry skin is sensitive because it doesn’t produce enough oil to create a protective barrier between the skin and any potential irritants. The best face masks for dry skin contain ingredients that moisturize and hydrate the skin, and prevent inflammation. That’s why we recommend an Aloe Vera & Green Tea Mask.
Aloe Vera & Green Tea Mask
Combined, these two ingredients can protect and nourish dry skin to prevent irritation and inflammation. The research surrounding aloe vera and acne is conflicted, but one proven acne-fighting property aloe vera seems to have is the ability to improve the effectiveness of other acne-fighting ingredients. Aloe vera itself doesn’t penetrate very deeply into the skin, but it can allow other ingredients to penetrate further than they normally would. That’s why we recommend combining it with green tea if you have dry skin.
Green tea is an amazing anti-inflammatory agent, both in drinking form and when applied directly to the skin. One of our favorite at-home remedies are actually green tea ice cubes—simply make green tea and pour it into an ice cube tray, freeze, and apply to particularly inflamed acne to make it less painful and less visible. But we also recommend it in this face mask for acne, especially when combined with aloe vera, which can strengthen its power.
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera
- 1 teaspoon green tea
Alternative: 2 drops green tea extract essential oil
You can use actual, brewed green tea for this recipe, or you can get green tea extract essential oil. If you choose to brew your own green tea, drinking the rest of the cup might give you an extra anti-inflammatory boost. Either way, combine the ingredients and mix until the green tea/green tea extract is evenly distributed, then apply to your skin. This mask should dry relatively quickly, and can be left on overnight if desired. To remove, simply rinse with cool water.
DIY Face Mask for Acne: Oily Skin
Oily skin types are those that consistently produce more oil than necessary. This excess oil often gets clogged in pores, especially if there’s any inflammation, and it can increase acne caused by bacteria. P. acnes, the bacteria primarily associated with acne, consume the oils our skin produces as their main food source. This means that when there’s a normal amount of oil, p. acnes can actually help reduce acne by preventing oil buildup, but when there’s extra oil, there’s often extra bacteria. If the skin becomes inflamed and those bacteria get trapped in a pore, they quickly multiply and a pimple or cyst can form.
The best way to help oily skin is to dry out just enough of the oil without drying out all the oil and leaving the skin dry and exposed to irritation. Many cures for acne in oily skin, like pure lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, are too harsh and end up stripping the skin of all the oils it needs to protect itself, but gentle ingredients like green tea are sometimes too gentle and don’t get the job done. Oily skin requires the perfect combination of ingredients, like honey and lemon juice. Lemon juice alone is too harsh, and honey alone may not break through the oil to benefit the skin, but together they can make a great face mask for oily skin.
Honey & Lemon Juice Face Mask
Yes, we’re recommending honey again, for all the same reasons. Because oily skin is prone to excess p. acnes bacteria, honey’s antibacterial properties can be a huge help in treatment. It also speeds wound healing, which means pimples will fade more quickly, making them less likely to leave a scar or dark spot. Overall, honey is a good choice for all skin types and all acne, but with oily skin, it may be more effective when combined with lemon juice.
This is because lemon juice can cut through all the oil to let the honey do its job. The acidity of lemon juice is too harsh on its own, but when combined with something as gentle as honey, it provides a helpful balance. Lemon exfoliates the skin, removing extra oil, and it may be able to lighten dark marks caused by acne. However, to get all of these benefits, it’s best to use a fresh lemon rather than bottled lemon juice. Once the air has oxidized the juice too much, it loses most of its acne-fighting powers.
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- Juice from ½ of a freshly squeezed lemon
Combine the honey and lemon juice until thoroughly mixed, then apply to the skin. Because of the harshness of the lemon juice, we recommend leaving this face mask on for only 20 to 30 minutes. If you find that this still causes irritation, include less lemon juice in the recipe and keep the mask on for the same amount of time. If this doesn’t get rid of enough of the oil, keep the amount of lemon juice the same, but allow the mask to set longer. Rinse with cool water to remove.
DIY Face Mask for Acne: Combination Skin
This is the most common skin type, because relatively few people have entirely dry skin or entirely oily skin. Most of us experience oily skin in some areas and dry skin in others. This means that the harsh acne solutions that work on the oily areas are likely to make acne in the dry areas worse, and the solutions that work for acne in dry skin won’t produce much of a change in oily skin.
We suggest two possible solutions to this problem: first, just use raw honey, or second, use two different face masks at the same time on the different areas of your face.
We’ve already waxed poetic about honey, so we won’t go on again here, just know that it can be an effective treatment for all skin types, which is why it’s so great for combination skin. The next option is more work, but could potentially offer better results, since you’ll be using individualized facemasks meant to address the specific problems with oily skin and with dry skin.
Going Beyond DIY
Face masks are a fun addition to any skin care routine, but the key word there is “addition.” These face masks should be used once or twice a week, and are not meant to replace a regular, consistent skin care routine. To see the best results when treating your acne, you need a gentle treatment system you can use every day. This is the best way to prevent acne, and prevention is the most important part of treatment.
At Exposed Skin Care, we develop products that are gentle enough for all skin types, but strong enough to get rid of your acne. We do this by combining natural and scientific ingredients that work together to fight acne and protect your skin. For instance, we use benzoyl peroxide, a typical acne-fighting ingredient that kills p. acnes, but it can often irritate skin, so we also included green tea extract to prevent inflammation and redness. Each of our products foster this kind of balance to ensure that they do not cause irritation which can lead to more acne. This seems like common sense, but many skin care companies try to get rid of acne right away and lose sight of the long-term goal: staying acne-free.
Our Basic Kit is perfect if you’re new to skin care and don’t want a lengthy routine, or if you’re just looking for a strong base for all your DIY recipes. On the other hand, if you’ve been using skin care products for years and want the full line of products to ensure clear skin, we recommend our Ultimate Kit. This kit contains nearly all of our products, from our simple Facial Cleanser to our own Clarifying Mask.