If you have inflamed, painful pimples buried deep under your skin, you're probably dealing with cystic acne. Certain skin care products can help clear it up, though — including the occasional face mask. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Laurel Naversen Geraghty, the best face masks for cystic acne contain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, azelaic acid, tea tree oil, retinoids, and clay.
Since many of the ingredients found in products that are intended to treat acne have the potential to cause redness, irritation, and dryness — particularly when left on for too long — Dr. Geraghty suggests using masks weekly, or even just every other week. That said, she notes that “How often we use one may depend on our overall goals and our level of skin sensitivity," such as whether you're trying to quell a current flareup, give skin a boost of hydration to counteract the drying effects of other acne medicines, or resurface your skin once your blemishes have healed.
Dr. Geraghty says that masks play a minor role in the treatment of acne, since medicated washes, creams, chemical peels, lasers, lights, and oral medicines tend to be more effective, but they are great for generally hydrating, calming, exfoliating, and brightening skin, as well as simply providing pampering and de-stressing benefits. However, if topical products aren't giving you the results you want, talk to a board-certified dermatologist to find the best treatment plan for your skin.