If you’re struggling with acne despite being well past your teen years, you’re definitely not alone! Acne is in fact all too common among women in their 20’s, 30’s and beyond.
While solidarity with your fellow breakout-battling sisters may not do much to turn your skin around, DIY face masks for acne are another story.
In this post, we’ll explore what causes acne, how face masks can help tame it, why going DIY is better than store-bought, and share a natural acne-fighting face mask you can make in just 5 minutes.
What Causes Acne?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question, and often a number of factors are at play. The most common causes are stress, hormonal imbalances, diet, an excess of bacteria (specifically P.acnes), and overactive sebaceous glands, which produce your face’s natural oil.
One way to help pinpoint what’s causing your breakouts is to notice which area of your face is affected. For example, acne on your forehead is often caused by an overload of bacteria from touching your face or clogged pores from oily haircare products, while breakouts along your jawline tend to be hormonal.
To learn more about the lifestyle factors that lead to acne-prone skin and what you can do about them, check out this article.
Can Face Masks Really Help Fight Acne?
Face masks are incredibly popular right now, and for good reason! They’re a great way to get that luxurious, spa treatment feeling without even leaving your house or making an expensive appointment.
But do they actually work? And specifically, can they help fight acne?
The short answer is yes, but they’re not cure-alls. Face masks for acne typically work by fighting bacteria, unclogging pores, reducing inflammation, or hydrating skin (or some combination of these).
While they won’t completely cure your acne with one use, they can provide immediate, short-term results. They can also make your everyday, acne-fighting skincare routine more effective by removing debris and impurities.
For that reason, we recommend incorporating DIY face masks for acne into your regular routine 1-2 times a week.
Why DIY Face Masks Are Better than Store Bought
Aside from the fact that creating your own skincare products is liberating and an excellent form of self-care, the finished products are also often more effective than store-bought options. Here’s why.
If you’ve looked at the packaging on store-bought face masks you’ve likely noticed the incredibly long list of ingredients they include. This not only increases your chances of having a bad reaction, it’s also usually a sign you’re wasting money.
Your skin is highly absorbent, however, there’s a limit to how much it can soak up. And if you’re using a product with 15 ingredients, the concentration of each ingredient is likely too low to be very effective. Worst of all, the ingredients companies skimp on the most are usually the most effective botanicals, as they’re more expensive than synthetic ingredients.
Most of us deal with different skin concerns based on changes in the weather, your stress levels, hormonal fluctuations, and more.
By stocking just a few simple ingredients and making your own DIY face masks, you can tweak formulas or make different recipes entirely to suit your current skincare needs. For example, if you have forehead acne, you can use the multi-masking technique to adjust your ingredients targeted to specific needs.
Many skin care products, especially those designed to fight acne, use harsh ingredients that can actually worsen skin issues. They often strip away your natural oils (causing your skin to overcompensate by increasing oil production), irritate your skin, and disrupt your pH balance.
When you create your own DIY face masks, you can stick with natural ingredients that fight bacteria, hydrate without clogging pores, and gently exfoliate without irritating or drying your skin.
5 Powerful Ingredients for a DIY Face Mask for Acne
Nature has gifted us with tons of plant-based ingredients you can use to fight acne. Here’s a look at the four you’ll need for this DIY Skin-Clearing Face Mask for Acne and an overview of their essential properties.
Jojoba Oil or Evening Primrose Oil
While it may seem counterintuitive to add oil to your face when dealing with acne, oily skin is often your body’s way of counteracting skin that is too dry. Because jojoba oil closely resembles your skin’s natural oil, applying it regularly signals your body to decrease sebum production.
Jojoba oil is great for anyone battling acne in particular because it also helps clear out pores and has anti-bacterial properties.
In fact, a study in 2012 found that patients who used a jojoba oil face mask twice a week saw a 54% reduction in their acne over the course of 6 weeks.
Evening primrose oil is another hidden gem when it comes to fighting acne because it is high in linoleic acid and gamma linoleic acid (GLA).
Recent studies have found that people with acne-prone skin tend to have lower levels of these essential fatty acids. You can help correct this imbalance and reap their anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits, while supporting a healthy skin barrier, with topical evening primrose oil.
Skip the sugar in your diet (it’s bad news for your skin) and use it in your skincare instead! It acts as a two-for-one exfoliator because its small particles scrub away dead skin cells and it’s a natural source of glycolic acid.
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), so it encourages cell turnover and helps slough away dead skin cells.
Raw Honey or Glycerin
It also has powerful anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties and penetrates deep into your pores, making it a winner for any face mask targeting acne.
Alternatively, glycerin is also a natural moisturizer, but it is also an emollient, meaning it helps smooth and fill in skin. If you prefer a lighter feeling mask, you can swap it in place of honey.
Tea Tree or Rosemary Essential Oil
Tea Tree oil has been used medicinally for centuries to treat skin ailments ranging from acne to dandruff to ringworm, thanks to its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Research has even specifically shown it to be effective against the acne-causing bacteria P.acnes. That’s why it’s a star ingredient in this DIY Witch Hazel, Rosemary, and Tea Tree Acne-Blasting Gel.
Similarly, studies have found that rosemary essential oil also targets and kills P.acnes bacteria to help treat and prevent breakouts.
For an extra acne-fighting boost, add spirulina to your mask. Spirulina also contains gamma-linoleic acid (like evening primrose oil), and will give your mask a beautiful color for a touch of added luxury.
Botaneri “Level-Up” Tip
For a more advanced formula, try adding in willow bark extract. It’s a natural source of salicylic-acid-like compounds and is rich in beta hydroxy acid (BHA). This makes it a fabulous natural exfoliant without the potential irritation of synthetic salicylic acid.
Skin-Clearing DIY Face Mask for Acne
- 1 Tbsp Jojoba oil
- 1/2 tsp Palm sugar
- 1 Tbsp Honey or glycerin
- 1 drop Tea tree oil or rosemary essential oil
- ½ tsp Spirulina Optional
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Apply mask to clean skin. Gently rub in small circulator motions for around 30 seconds. This helps exfoliate the skin making it easier to unclog pores.
Grab a book or turn on some music. Leave on skin for 10 to 15 minutes to let the goodies in the mask work their magic.
Rinse well with cool water. Use once or twice a week.
About the author
I’m Drew, creator of Botaneri and an artisanal skincare formulator and certified aromatherapist who is here to help take the mystery out of DIY natural beauty. I started creating my own plant-based skin and body care products at home to deal with my own skin issues.
What I love most is helping people create luxurious and effective self-care products right in their own kitchens. It’s a lot easier than you think. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you.