Whether you are 13 or 53, controlling acne can be a life-long battle. Those nasty bacteria P-acnes that live in the pores of acneic skin never go away. But, acne can be controlled with gentle yet efficacious skin-care products. In addition to a daily skin-care regimen, a weekly routine involving masks will help reduce oil production, deep clean your pores and minimize breakouts. The best acne masks include ingredients like sulfur, clay, green tea, honey, aloe vera, yogurt and oatmeal for their antibacterial, soothing and oil-minimizing properties.
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Clay masks are best for acne-prone skin because clay removes excess sebum (oil), has natural antibacterial properties, speeds healing and is an excellent exfoliant. Green clay and bentonite calcium clay, both of which are appropriate for oily, acne-prone skin, may be used to make your acne mask. Mix 2 tablespoons clay with 2 tablespoons warm water, apply to clean skin and leave on for about 15 minutes. Your skin may feel tingly, but this is normal, as the clay is pulling toxins from the skin. Clay dries rather quickly, so rinse it off right after the point where it is still slightly damp to the touch and before it looks flaky. Don't allow it to fully dry, as that will dry out your skin. For easy removal, just re-wet the mask, massage it a bit, and then rinse it off with warm water.
Sulfur is one of the best ingredients in an acne mask because its natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties help to kill the P-acnes bacteria in the pores. When combined with clay and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid -- sister to salicylic acid) you have the makings of one of the best DIY acne masks. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons bentonite clay, 1/4 teaspoon sulfur powder, 1/4 teaspoon crushed aspirin, and 1/4 teaspoon green tea powder. Add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon distilled water and stir into a smooth paste. If the mixture seems too dry, add more water or apple cider vinegar; if too watery, add more clay. Apply the mask to your face, and allow it to sit until the clay starts to dry. Then rinse the mask off with warm water. People with sensitive skin may want to avoid a sulfur mask.
Honey and Aloe Vera Mask
If your acne-prone skin is sensitive, a mask with honey and aloe vera is best for you. Aloe vera has wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, and honey is an antiseptic that prevents the growth of bacteria. Honey also has anti-inflammatory properties and it's a natural humectant, adding moisture to the skin. Mix 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice or pulp with 1 tablespoon honey. Smooth the mixture over your face, paying attention to any affected areas. Allow the mask to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
Oatmeal and Yogurt Mask
An oatmeal and yogurt face mask is best for all acne-prone skin types, especially sensitive types. Oats are filled with natural cleansers -- saponins -- that gently remove dirt and oil from the pores. Yogurt has bleaching effects, and its high zinc content helps to reduce spots and scars. Additionally, the lactic acid present in yogurt is moisturizing. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of ground oatmeal with 1 tablespoon of organic yogurt, then add in 1 teaspoon honey. Apply the mask to your face, allow it to sit for 15 minutes, and rinse it off with warm water.