DIY face masks for acne are economical and can be very high quality. If you have breakout prone skin, the less preservatives and extra bullsh*t in your face mask, the better.
There are common ingredients in facial products that will absolutely make your acne worse such as:
- Bismuth oxychloride (can cause cystic acne)
- Carrageenans (common thickening agent)
- D & C Red (#17, 19, 21, 3, 30, 36, 27, 40)
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (which clogs pores with a film left on the skin)
- Many, many more. See this comprehensive list.
This is something you can easily control at home by making a diy face mask fresh and simple, with high quality ingredients.
Let’s have some real talk about skin, shall we?
The History of My Face
Wrinkles and acne.
Like, I thought it was one or the other. I even thought, at some magical in between point, I’d be a glowing, radiant, perfectly-skinned woman.
Oh how wrong I was.
Now, to be honest, I didn’t have acne on my face as a teen.
I had pimples on my shoulders which I found incredibly embarrassing but they had cleared up by the time I wore my prom dress.
My whole early teenage-hood I was worried about having to wear a shroud for prom. Funny, because I didn’t even enjoy prom, even though I helped plan and decorate for it… and chose the winning theme (Under the Sea! I know, original, right?)
Anyhow, back to acne.
After having babies and breastfeeding for those blurry years in my twenties, I developed some hormonal issues.
Part of that joy meant that I ended up with hormonal acne.
I do have quite oily skin, but I always joked that it would keep me marinated and preserved and looking younger as I aged 😉. The jury is still out on that one.
My oily skin is prone to breakouts, especially if I am working out in the summer time.
Even with washing my face twice daily with gentle cleansers and toning, I still manage to have times where my skin is giving me a big F-U.
Especially when I’m stressed.
Along the way, I have discovered some things that really work to help tame those outbreaks.
(See also: Self Care: Practices to Reduce Stress, Accomplish Goals, and Benefit the Mind & Body )
DIY Face Mask for Acne Ingredient Options
There are a ton of ways to make a diy face mask for acne, oily skin, or any other ailment.
After using and testing many types of ingredients over the years, I have found a few solid, effective ingredients that I routinely use to reset my skin during a breakout.
When I say reset, I really mean it.
Using a diy face mask for acne when I am in the midst of a full on acnattack (yes I made up a word and I’m not sorry), literally seems to reset my skin and make it cooperate.
DIY Face Mask Ingredients Not Recommended
There are some natural ingredients that I do not recommend you put on your face with a diy face mask if you have acne or oily skin.
The following popular culprits are:
- Almond oil
- Apricot kernal oil
- Cocoa butter and Coconut butter
- Coconut oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Salt (I’ve seen recipes for using a salt spray on acne, which is a HUGE no-no)
- Sulfated forms of castor or jojoba oil
- Wheat germ oil
- The following oils are not as bad, but not great: avocado oil, castor oil, sunflower oil
- Physical exfoliators like coffee grinds, baking soda, salt, ground nuts
DIY Face Mask Ingredients I Recommend
The most powerful combination for a DIY face mask for acne is activated charcoal powder and clay.
There are several types of clay that can be used:
- Bentonite (also known as Indian Healing Clay)
- French Green
Activated Charcoal Benefits:
Activated charcoal works well in a diy face mask for acne and oily, congested skin because it helps to draw icky things to the surface of the skin, making them easy to cleanse away:
- Other micro-particles
Kaolin Clay Benefits:
- absorbs access oils and dirt
- balances oil production
- stimulating, toning and tightening effect
- antibacterial effect
Rhassoul Clay Benefits:
- Absorbs greases, toxins, bacteria, viruses (source)
- Contains silica, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, lithium and trace elements
- Contains magnesium, which is especially beneficial for acne
- Reduces sebum
- Removes dead skin cells
- Softens skin
- Highly absorbent, removes oils
- Unclogs pores, promotes circulation
- Reduces inflammation
- Non-irritating, non-drying
Bentonite Clay Benefits:
- Absorbs oils and grease
- Contains calcium, magnesium, iron
- Removes toxins
- Calming effect on inflamed breakouts
- Powerful (but can be stripping)
French Green Clay Benefits:
- Heals infections and blemishes
- Cleanses and refreshes
- Gentle and purifying (does not strip skin)
Natural and Essential Oils for Acne and Oily Skin
So after my list of oils NOT to use, you are probably wondering what is a good oil to use on your skin if you have acne.
Skin Friendly Oils for Acne:
- Argan oil : hydrates and softens; high content of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E
- Unsulfured jojoba oil : anti-inflammatory properties, calms skin. Contains Vitamin E and B-complex vitamins, helps with skin repair and controls damage.
- Hempseed oil : highly nutritious, vitamins and fatty acids in this oil help keep the skin healthy and prevents breakouts; reduces inflammation.
- Safflower oil : high in linoleic acid, making it excellent for helping to balance sebum (too much causes breakouts). Light, non-greasy, quickly absorbed, excellent moisturizing facial oil for all skin types.
- Hazelnut oil : high in Vitamin E, increases elasticity and suppleness of skin. Rich in unsaturated fats (mostly oleic acid), high in magnesium, calcium and vitamins B and E.
- Emu oil : high in omega-3, 8, and 9; helps relieve signs of wrinkles, scars, and blemishes by nourishing the skin cells; reduces inflammation.
- Rosehip seed oil : great for acne scarring, high in antioxidants and fatty acids, helps regenerate tissues and increases healing
- Neem oil : great for aging skin, contains Vitamin E, fatty acids, penetrates skin to heal, reduce inflammation, clear out acne, even the skin tone, and reduce inflammation.
- Tea tree oil: anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, calms redness and swelling, prevents and reduces acne scars, smooths and clears skin.
- Eucalyptus oil: natural antiseptic with antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties making it highly effective in treating acne; contains antioxidants for skin healing and reducing inflammation.
- Lavender oil: anti-inflammatory; soothes and heals irritated skin; helps heal acne scarring, redness, and blotchiness.
- Geranium oil: helps improve skin cells, reduces inflammation and irritation, great for hormonal acne.
- Ylang ylang oil: relieves pain and inflammation, promotes wound healing, diminishes appearance of scars.
- Myrrh oil: works as an astringent, smooths the skin, reduces inflammation, stimulates immune system, reduces wrinkles.
- Patchouli oil: stimulates growth of new skin, reduces acne scarring, soothes inflammation, treats oily skin and signs of aging.
- Lemon oil: antibacterial, astringent, cleans and clears blemishes, brightens and rejuvenates skin, good for tired, dull, sagging skin, stimulates healing.
- Grapefruit oil: stimulates circulation for healing, treats oily skin, prevents acne, antibacterial, antioxidant.
DIY Face Mask for Acne and Oily Skin Recipe
I used the following ingredients this time around in my batch of diy face mask. After I used it, I stored it in the fridge to use again soon.
- 1 Tbsp activated charcoal
- 3 Tbsp clay of choice; I used kaolin
- 2 Tbsp witch hazel, or aloe juice, rose water, or distilled water
- 1 tsp jojoba oil (unsulfated) or more of other liquid
- 1-2 drops of any of the essential oils (I used grapefruit)
At the end of the day, all you really need is the clay and some liquid. You can even use yogurt or kefir as a liquid.
This will be enough to drastically improve your skin and give it a reset (aka kick it’s ass- gently- for giving you breakouts).
Try it and let me know what you think!
How long do you leave it on?
Hi Tasha, as long as you like, or until it dries 🙂
Nature of my skin is oily and I want to get rid of it so this article would be really helpful for me. I will definitely follow your article. Thanks and keep sharing.
Thank you! I’m so glad you found it useful. 🙂