These 7 Charcoal Masks Can Help Unclog Pores & Clear Acne

by Lisa Fogarty

Our obsession with all things charcoal has safely shifted from fad to fundamental beauty ingredient we can't live without. Amongst other charcoal-rich products, charcoal masks for acne prone skin are just about the most effective treatment imaginable for sapping sebum out of clogged pores, preventing pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads, and clearing up and healing acne.

So, how do they work?

Basically, activated charcoal naturally draws bacteria, chemicals, dirt, and micro-particles to the surface of skin and whisks them away before they have a chance to find a home in your pores, clog them, and give back the gift of acne. And this stuff is pretty magical: activated charcoal powder can actually absorb thousands of times its own mass in unwanted substances that can aggravate skin.

Many skincare companies have jumped on board the charcoal trend and, as a result of this frenzy, we get to benefit from charcoal masks galore. Whether you prefer a wash-off mask, peel mask, sheet mask, fun bubble mask, or you get a kick out of DIY-ing a mask in your kitchen using actual charcoal powder, there is no shortage of charcoal masks to take care of your skin needs.

Give acne prone skin a natural treatment that has been proven effective (and that won't dry out your skin like so many chemical-laden products) by stocking up on one or more of these highly regarded charcoal masks.


A Sheet Mask That Hydrates As It Minimizes Pores

Celavi Charcoal Facial Mask, $11 (12 Pack), Amazon

If you love charcoal, but hate the mess involved in many charcoal beauty products, these Korean charcoal sheet masks are the perfect solution. Each sheet is soaked with charcoal, collagen, vitamin E extract and other ingredients that help deep clean and minimize the appearance of pores and hydrate skin. Most reviewers say they use them once or twice a week, leave them on for 15-20 minutes, and that this product targets acne without leaving skin feeling and looking parched.


DIY Activated Charcoal Powder That Lets You Whip Up Your Own Facial Treatments

Schizandu Organics Activated Charcoal Powder, $18, Amazon

This high quality, 100 percent activated charcoal powder is vegan, gluten free, and sourced from USA hardwood trees. Mix a teaspoon of this powder with water and apply it to your face for a simple and effective acne-fighting mask that is void of fragrances and other additives. The best thing about this powder is that it's extremely versatile: use it to whiten teeth, help eliminate bloating and indigestion, or to heal bug bites — it truly is the ingredient that gives back.


A Blackhead Removing Bubble Mask With Green Tea Extract

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask, $11, Amazon

If you want a side of fun with your beauty, this charcoal carbonated bubble mask delivers: five minutes after you apply a thin layer of mask to your face you'll see and feel bubbles forming at the surface — this is the mask doing its job by pulling dirt and impurities from your pores. It's also filled with great ingredients that promote healthier, more hydrated skin. In addition to activated charcoal, you'll feel the nourishing effects of clay mud, green tea extract, pomegranate, and aloe vera leaf extract.


A Nourishing Charcoal And Mud Wash-Off Mask

Active Wow Charcoal Mud Mask, $20, Amazon

Exfoliate, cleanse, and nourish your skin with this charcoal and mud mask, which blends activated charcoal and kaolin with banana, coconut, guava, ginger, sandalwood, lavender, and watercress to provide a hydrating and refreshing treatment. After cleansing your skin, apply the mask and leave it on for 20 minutes before washing it off with warm water and applying moisturizer. Reviewers say this is the product that helped clear up their acne and made their skin feel and look so much smoother.


A Cruelty-Free Korean Sheet Mask With Two Times The Essence

Happy Skin Rejuvenating Facial Sheet Mask, $13 (5 Pack), Amazon

Boasting two times the typical amount of essence than other sheet masks, this cruelty-free Korean beauty charcoal sheet mask, which also contains collagen, brightens skin and helps balance your natural oils to reduce acne. Reviewers suggest steaming your face first (or using these while in the bath) to help remove blackheads. Many claim this mask helps their face look incredibly radiant and soft after continued use. Unlike a lot of other face masks, the purifying and detoxifying benefits of this one can be felt long after you've removed it — pat the essence into your skin before applying your moisturizer and you'll be amazed at how hydrated your skin feels and looks.


A Peel-Off Mask That 'Suctions' Blackheads Out Of Pores

ToullGo Suction Black Mask, $15, Amazon

The important thing to remember before using this peel-off charcoal mask, according to many reviewers, is to follow the directions so that you get the best results. Prior to applying the mask, cleanse skin and use a hot towel to help open up pores in clogged areas like your T-zone. Let the towel sit on your skin for 3 to 5 minutes and then apply an even, thin layer of mask to only those areas with blackheads (avoid eyebrows, eyes, and lips). Leave the mask on for 10 to 15 minutes and then carefully peel it off, starting at the corners. You may have to follow up with a separate cleanser to get rid of mask residue — but reviewers say this product works wonders at clearing up stubborn clogs.


A Charcoal Mask & Scrub That Exfoliates Skin With Black Sugar

Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask, $7, Amazon

There's nothing like a great multi-functional skin care product, especially when it's this simple to use. Apply this mask to your entire face for 5-7 minutes (it doesn't dry). Then, instead of washing it off, massage it into your skin for a minute or two to exfoliate and loosen up dead skin cells and clogs with black sugar crystals while charcoal saps excess sebum out of your pores and off of your face. Finally, rinse it off with warm and a gentle touch.

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