If you need to unclog pores
Clogged pores can use a good clean. “Ingredients such as clay or charcoal are best to detoxify skin and eliminate impurities in pores,” Dr. Pollei says. He likes PCA SKIN Purifying Mask because it’s clay-based but also has added botanical ingredients for hydration and pumice to gently exfoliate. There are plenty of charcoal-based masks at every price point, from Vbeauté Deep Sheet Purifying Charcoal Mask on the higher end to Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask on the budget end. Oddly, magnetic face masks are also great for cleaning out pores, according to Murrell. These are iron-based powder masks that literally pull gunk out of pores, she says. Some bestsellers include Dr. Brandt Magnetight Skin Recharging Magnet Mask and The Younger Revealing Mask Intense from Dr. Harold Lancer.
If you need to banish blemishes
To help clear breakouts, look for masks powered by a beta hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid, which is oil-soluble, so it’s well suited to treat acne in oily skin. “If you have acne-prone or oily skin, look for salicylic acid which concentrates in oil glands to remove excess oils as well as exfoliate dead skin cells,” Dr. Levin says. Try Yes to Tomatoes Acne Fighting Paper Mask. “Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acid can also be beneficial for acne-prone skin without as much potential irritation as salicylic acid.” Here are more dermatologist-approved face masks for acne.
If you need to calm and soothe
To calm and soothe irritated skin, seek out masks with ingredients such as oat, aloe, or chamomile. “For especially dry and sensitive skin, I recommend looking for moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe, and coconut oil,” Dr. Levin says. “I also like vitamin B3 (niacinamide) for my sensitive skin or rosacea-prone patients who are also looking for anti-aging properties, since vitamin B3 reduces the enzymes that occurs with aging as well as improving redness.” Some of the best drugstore face masks do just this, including Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask from First Aid Beauty, Aloe Soothing Renewal Mask, and Mario Badescu Healing & Soothing Mask. Next, don’t miss these 13 recipes for perfect homemade face masks.