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6 Best Face Masks for Acne Scars (2022)

6 Best Face Masks for Acne Scars (2022)

Whether you prefer cream masks or sheet masks, you’ll find something on our list you’ll surely love.

Product Name Ranking Key Ingredient Anti- Inflammatory Brightening/ Cell renewal Alcohol/Fragrance Free Price
Murad | Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel
Best Overall
AHAs; BHA; Urea; Hyaluronic Acid; Vitamin E Y Y/Y Y/Y Check Here
Peter Thomas Roth | Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
Strong Runner-up
AHA; Retinyl Palmitate; Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Hyaluronic Acid Y Y/Y Y/N Check Here
Andalou Naturals | Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Exfoliating Mask
Best Budget
AHAs; Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Manuka Honey; Aloe Vera Leaf Juice; Hyaluronic Acid Y Y/Y Y/Y Check Here
Tata Harper | Resurfacing Mask
Best Premium
Aloe Vera Leaf Juice; Witch Hazel Extract; BHA; Pomegranate Enzymes; Kaolin Clay Y Y/Y Y/N Check Here
MEDIHEAL | I.P.I Lightmax Ampoule Mask
Best Sheet Mask
BHA; Vitamin C; Green Tea Leaf Extract; Niacinamide; Vitamin E Y Y/Y Y/N Check Here
"
Best Overnight
Treatment
Niacinamide; VitaminC; Arbutin; Hyaluronic Acid Y Y/Y Y/Y Check Here

How to Pick the Best Face Masks for Acne Scars?

Acne pimples may be temporarily troublesome, but acne scars can cause long-term distress. They can leave us with uneven-looking skin that affects our self-esteem. And worse, they can impair the skin barrier and its ability to protect us from future breakouts.

Luckily, there are ways to fade acne scars, and face masks are one of the most easily accessible treatments.

 

Face masks contain concentrated active ingredients that can exfoliate, absorb impurities, reduce hyperpigmentation, and prevent more breakouts.

 

But with endless choices in the market, it can be difficult to know which to go for. Not to worry – to make that decision a bit easier, we’ve made a list of buying factors to help you find the best face mask for you. We’ve also included our top recommendations for face masks for acne scars. Let’s get to it!

Different acne scars need different treatments

Not all acne scars are the same. Some are raised on the skin’s surface, others form shallow indents, and some are flat and hyperpigmented. As such, acne scars need tailored treatment to get the most improvement. Acne scars come in three categories, which are:

Atrophic scars

Atrophic scars are the most common type of acne scar. They create slight depressions in the skin, due to the loss of tissue and collagen under the skin. These can become quite obvious especially for those with cystic acne. This is because cystic acne causes deeper infections and more severe tissue loss.

The types of atrophic scars include:

  • Icepick: Small, deep, narrow scars usually caused by severe acne.
  • Rolling: Sloping edges and uneven surfaces caused by scar tissue under the skin.
  • Boxscar: Deep, crater-like scars caused by the lack of collagen during healing.

Topical skincare treatments can improve minor atrophic scarring. For serious scarring, it’s best to go for more aggressive treatments like laser therapy, microneedling, or subcision.

An infographic showing the different types of acne scars: icepick, rolling, boxed, and hypertrophic. (Photo from: 123rf)

Types of acne scars. (Photo from: 123rf)

Hypertrophic scars

Hypertrophic scars create raised scar tissue on the skin’s surface. These usually form over old acne scars and are more common in people with darker skin. These types of scars form directly over the acne wound. This is in contrast to keloids, which spread beyond the acne site.

Topical skincare treatments are less effective on hypertrophic scars because of excess tissue. As such, this type of scarring may benefit more from laser therapy or surgery.

PIH/PIE

The overproduction of melanin caused by inflammation or sun exposure often results in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This occurs in many skin types but is often more severe in darker skin since it contains more melanin.

Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE), on the other hand, is redness. This shows up in and around the acne site and is more common in lighter skin types. This redness is typically caused by inflammation and damage to blood vessels in the area.

These types of discoloration issues can improve with chemical peels or acid peels. With consistent treatment, these can successfully fade hyperpigmentation with time.

Look for skin brightening ingredients

Brightening ingredients help even out hyperpigmentation. This helps scars become less visible and easier to cover up. Here are some tried and true skin brightening ingredients to help fade hyperpigmentation:

Arbutin

Arbutin is a natural, plant-derived skin brightener. It works by inhibiting melanin production in the skin, which it does more effectively than Vitamin C and Kojic Acid. It’s also gentler than hydroquinone, another brightening agent that can cause dryness and irritation in some skin types.

Bearberry extract

Bearberry is a flowering shrub from which Arbutin is derived. It contains a high amount of antioxidants that brighten skin and is great for addressing general discoloration. Pure Bearberry extract, however, is safer diluted as high concentrations can cause uneven brightening of the skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is undoubtedly the most popular brightening skincare ingredient. This water-soluble antioxidant disrupts the formation of melanin in the skin, lessening hyperpigmentation. It also helps with collagen production and fights free radicals.

One downside is that water-based Vitamin C formulas are unstable. They can break down when exposed to heat or light, diminishing their effectiveness. As such, it’s best to go for anhydrous or suspension formulas. These contain no water and are generally more stable.

One way to check for this is by looking at a product’s consistency. For instance, anhydrous Vitamin C serums tend to be thicker than their water-based counterparts. Suspensions, on the other hand, typically contain solid particles suspended in the formulation. Some manufacturers will also specify this on the packaging, so it’s always good to read labels before buying anything.

Other skincare ingredients with known skin brightening effects also include:

  • Centella Asiatica: Calms and heals inflamed acne lesions and moisturizes the skin.
  • Aloe Leaf Extract: Soothes redness, moisturizes, and helps reduce acne bacteria.
  • Licorice Extract: Improves skin cell turnover and also reduces acne-causing bacteria.
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E): Boosts wound healing and prevents the growth of bacteria.

 

Brightening ingredients can make the skin more sensitive to sun exposure. As such, sunscreen is an absolute must for added protection from UV damage.

Look for cell renewal ingredients

Acne is often caused by sebum-clogged pores and dead skin cell build-up. If left unaddressed, these can lead to deeper infections that can leave scars. The good news is that cell renewal ingredients can get rid of all that nasty gunk. They not only help reveal new skin but also clear away dirt and debris that could block pores. Here are some excellent skin-renewing ingredients:

AHAs

AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) are chemical exfoliants that work on the skin’s surface. These water-soluble acids have smaller molecules, allowing them to penetrate between skin cells. This helps dead skin cells shed faster, lessening the chance of them blocking pores. AHAs also improve other skin surface issues, like hyperpigmentation and roughness. Popular AHAs include:

  • Glycolic Acid: This is the smallest AHA and is derived from sugarcane. Glycolic Acid is generally safe in minimal amounts (1-2%). Higher concentrations (above 10%) should be used with caution. These can cause redness, irritation, and increase UV damage to the skin.
  • Lactic Acid: Lactic Acid is derived from milk and is gentler than Glycolic Acid. This makes it an ideal exfoliant for those with sensitive skin.

BHAs

BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) are oil-soluble chemical exfoliants. They mix easily with sebum in our pores, allowing it to penetrate much deeper than AHAs. In doing so, BHAs can fight deeper acne infections, control excess sebum, and tighten pores. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect and are generally less irritating than AHAs. Popular BHAs include:

  • Salicylic Acid: This breaks down the bonds between skin cells to encourage faster skin cell turnover.
  • Salix Alba Bark Extract (Willow Bark): Salix Alba Bark Extract contains Salicin, the unprocessed form of Salicylic Acid. This makes it much gentler on the skin and is more ideal for sensitive skin types.

AHAs and BHAs can have a sensitizing effect on the skin that makes it more vulnerable to sun exposure. As such, sunscreen is always vital to prevent UV damage.

Look for anti-inflammatory/wound-healing ingredients

Acne pimples can cause breaks or wounds in the skin. If left unaddressed, this can lead to more severe infections that leave bigger scars. That said, it’s important to look for anti-inflammatory and wound-healing ingredients. Here are some very effective ones:

Niacinamide

Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties that help calm inflamed acne papules and pustules. It also boosts ceramide and collagen production in the skin. This helps strengthen the skin barrier and improve wound healing.

Turmeric root extract

Turmeric Root Extract contains Curcumin, which has natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It fights acne bacteria and reduces inflammation, thus lessening acne scarring, as well. A bonus of Turmeric Extract is that it also stimulates collagen production for wound healing and inhibits matrix matello-proteinases (MMPs), which degrade collagen in the skin.

Manuka honey

Honey’s antimicrobial properties prevent the growth of P. acnes, which causes acne. It also has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and heal irritated skin.

Centella Asiatica

Centella Asiatica is a skin-soothing superstar derived from the medicinal Gotu Kola plant. It contains triterpenoids, which have potent wound healing properties. In addition to improving the overall tensile strength of the skin, Centella Asiatica also stimulates collagen synthesis more effectively than Vitamin C.

Look for fruit enzymes

Fruit enzymes are rich in vitamins that exfoliate and brighten dull skin. They’re also excellent for fading hyperpigmentation. In this sense, they’re like AHAs and BHAs, but gentler on the skin. Here are some good ones to look out for:

Pumpkin enzyme

Pumpkin contains natural AHAs, which boost skin cell renewal and address hyperpigmentation. It also has high amounts of Vitamin E and Zinc, which help control sebum and protect skin from acne-causing bacteria. It’s also rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and fight free radicals.

Pomegranate enzyme

Besides being an effective exfoliant, pomegranate enzymes are rich in antioxidants. It prevents hyperpigmentation by scavenging for free radicals that negatively affect melanin production. Pomegranate enzymes also have photoprotective properties that keep skin safe from UV damage and MMPs.

6 Best Face Masks for Acne Scars (2022)

Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel

Best Overall
Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel (From:Amazon).

Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel (From:Amazon).

Key features:

  • Glycolic, Lactic, Malic, and Tranexamic Acids to exfoliate and brighten skin.
  • Glycerin, Urea, and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.
  • Salicylic Acid and Turmeric Root Extract to reduce acne breakouts.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) and Bisabolol to soothe skin and heal wounds.
  • Best for all skin types, except very sensitive skin.

The Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel contains a potent mix of acids for effective brightening and fading of PIE/PIH scars. It hydrates and minimizes inflammation. It also fades hyperpigmentation, making this our favorite face mask for acne scars.

This Multi-Acid Peel contains three types of AHAs, making it a potent skin exfoliator. A blend of Glycolic Acid, Malic Acid, and Lactic Acid accelerates the skin turnover rate, allowing dead skin cells to shed off faster. This helps lighten discolored acne scars for more even-looking skin. The addition of Tranexamic Acid further boosts the brightening effect of this peel by addressing UV-induced hyperpigmentation.

Salicylic Acid works deep in the pores, removing impurities that could cause breakouts. It works in tandem with Turmeric Root Extract, which has antimicrobial properties that fights acne bacteria.

The combination of Glycerin, Urea, and Hyaluronic Acid provides intense hydration for dehydrated skin. Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid draw moisture into the skin. And Urea acts as a keratolytic moisturizer, which softens skin while breaking down dead skin cells. Together, they not only balance out sebum production but reveal brighter-looking skin.

The Murad Multi-Acid Peel is also formulated with Vitamin E and Bisabolol. Both compounds have anti-inflammatory properties that soothe skin and heal wounds. This offsets any irritation from the peel’s exfoliating effect, which may be beneficial for those with sensitive skin.

 

The Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel is alcohol and fragrance-free. It’s also formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, gluten, or animal-derived ingredients.

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Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

Strong Runner-Up
Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (From:Amazon).

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (From:Amazon).

Key features:

  • Pumpkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate and Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) for skin cell renewal.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) to reduce inflammation and acne-causing bacteria.
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) for hyperpigmentation.
  • Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.
  • Best for all skin types, except those sensitive to Citric Acid.

The Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is a triple-action mask packed with AHAs and vitamins. It promotes cell renewal and brightens the skin while minimizing acne breakouts. As such, it’s our second favorite face mask for acne scars.

The Pumpkin Enzyme Mask offers three types of exfoliation: physical, chemical, and enzymatic. Pumpkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate contains natural AHAs that exfoliate and boost skin cell turnover. It also contains Aluminum Oxide Crystals to scrub off dead skin cells to reveal vibrant new skin.

The combination of skin-brightening Vitamin C and A takes care of hyperpigmented scars. Both vitamins promote cell renewal that helps scars fade over time. They also fight free radicals that cause premature aging signs.

You also have Vitamin E, which soothes the skin and lessens inflammation. It’s especially beneficial for sensitive skin that may feel irritated after exfoliation. This skin-restoring ingredient also reduces sebum production and acne bacteria to prevent breakouts.

Lastly, you have the hydrating combo of Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid. Both humectants help lock moisture into the skin, minimizing water loss. It also prevents the production of excess oil that could clog pores and lead to more flare-ups.

 

The Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is best used 1-2 times a week. You can choose to wash it off right away or leave it on for 3-7 minutes to allow the enzymes and acids to work their magic.

 

\While the mask is alcohol-free, it does contain some fragrance. As such, it may not be suitable for those sensitive to fragrance. To avoid this, you can simply wash the mask off after massaging it in for a few minutes.

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Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Exfoliating Mask

Best Budget
Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Exfoliating Mask (From:Amazon).

Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Exfoliating Mask (From:Amazon).

Key features:

  • Pumpkin Puree and Glycolic Acid for skin cell renewal.
  • Bioactive Berry Complex and Vitamin C to brighten the skin.
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Manuka Honey to reduce acne bacteria.
  • Aloe Vera Leaf Juice to soothe irritation and heal wounds.
  • Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.
  • Best for all skin types, except those sensitive to Glycolic Acid.

The Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Exfoliating Mask is full of natural ingredients that help brighten acne scars. You get the full benefits of honey and pumpkin, which soothe skin and restore elasticity. It also comes at a very affordable price point, making this our best budget face mask for acne scars.

This mask thoroughly exfoliates the skin with Glycolic Acid and the natural AHAs in Pumpkin Puree. Both work by dissolving dead skin cells to reveal smoother and softer skin. This is further helped by Vitamin C and a Bioactive Berry Complex, which consists of fruit stem cells. Together, they boost skin cell renewal while brightening dark spots at the same time.

Those with active breakouts will benefit from Vitamin E and Manuka Honey. Both ingredients reduce acne-causing bacteria and help heal broken skin. This not only prevents active acne from worsening but also lessens new breakouts.

The Andalou Exfoliating Mask also offers an excellent dose of soothing hydration. Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid work to keep skin moisturized and sebum levels balanced. And Aloe Vera Extract restores the skin barrier by helping acne scars heal faster.

You can use this mask on damp skin, or as a leave-on treatment on dry skin for up to 20 minutes. If you’re sensitive to Glycolic Acid, you can leave it on for half that amount of time to avoid irritation. You can also perform a patch test first to see how your skin reacts to the mask.

 

The Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Exfoliating Mask features 98% nature-derived ingredients. It is also vegetarian, Gluten-free, and cruelty-free.

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Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

Best Premium
Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (From:Amazon).

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (From:Amazon).

Key features:

  • Aloe Vera Leaf Juice and Witch Hazel Extract to soothe inflammation and repair skin.
  • Salix Alba Bark Extract to exfoliate skin and minimize acne.
  • Pomegranate Enzymes for cell renewal and UV protection.
  • Beetroot Root Extract for moisturization.
  • Kaolin Clay for oil control.
  • Best for all skin types.

The Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask is a cult fave among A-Listers and Beauty editors, and it’s easy to see why. This mask has a 100% organic formulation with powerful antioxidants. It soothes and repairs the skin while enhancing radiance. It also protects the skin from UV damage, making this our favorite premium face mask for acne scars.

This award-winning face mask contains Pomegranate Enzyme, which is richer in antioxidants than Green Tea. It boosts cell regeneration and protects the skin from UVB damage. With the help of Salix Alba Bark Extract (BHA), both ingredients slough away dead skin cells and fade hyperpigmented acne scars. The result: A more luminous and even complexion.

Those with damaged or sensitive skin will love this mask’s healing benefits. Aloe Vera Leaf Juice brightens and moisturizes the skin while calming redness and reducing acne bacteria. Combined with the antiseptic properties of Witch Hazel Extract, these help lessen inflammation and clear clogged pores.

Thanks to the natural hydrating properties of Beetroot Extract, skin gets a dose of long-lasting moisturization that improves elasticity. Last but not least, Kaolin Clay goes to work on excess oil, absorbing it to prevent blocked pores that could lead to fungal acne.

This all-natural mask can be used up to three times a week for 20 minutes. It contains no alcohol but has fragrances sourced from natural, clinical-grade essential oils. As such, it’s safe and non-irritating for all skin types.

 

The Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask is Vegan, cruelty-free, and uses recyclable packaging. It’s also free from artificial ingredients, GMOs, toxins, and fillers.

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MEDIHEAL I.P.I Lightmax Ampoule Mask

Best Sheet Mask
MEDIHEAL I.P.I Lightmax Ampoule Mask (From:Amazon).

MEDIHEAL I.P.I Lightmax Ampoule Mask (From:Amazon).

Key features:

  • Salix Alba and Morus Alba Bark Extract to exfoliate and fade dark spots.
  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) to brighten and heal skin.
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract to control sebum and fight acne-causing bacteria.
  • Niacinamide and Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) for wound healing and UV protection.
  • Best for all skin types.

The MEDIHEAL I.P.I Lightmax Ampoule Mask contains effective brightening ingredients to treat past and present acne issues. This easy-to-use mask also comes with sebum control and wound healing benefits, making it our top sheet mask for acne scars.

This mask takes care of hyperpigmentation in several ways. Salix Alba Bark Extract (BHA) exfoliates the top layer of the skin, shedding away dull dead skin cells. And both Morus Alba Bark Extract (Mulberry) and Vitamin C brighten uneven skin tones by inhibiting melanin synthesis.

Improved skin healing is essential for getting rid of acne scars, and this mask offers just that. Niacinamide strengthens the skin barrier by boosting collagen and ceramide production. And Vitamin E not only promotes wound healing but protects the skin against UV damage, as well.

Besides brightening and healing, this sheet mask also has anti-acne benefits. Green Tea Leaf Extract doesn’t just eliminate acne-causing bacteria, it also controls sebum production. This ensures that skin is free from excess oil that could trigger breakouts.

This MEDIHEAL mask is both convenient and highly effective. Each individually packaged mask is hygienic and portable. The mask delivers its potent formula more effectively by preventing the product from drying out too fast, letting your skin absorb more.

The MEDIHEAL I.P.I Lightmax Ampoule Mask can be used every day for up to 15 minutes.

 

It has a pressed logo indicator, which is invisible when you first put on the mask. The logo gradually becomes visible after about 15 minutes, indicating that the treatment is done.

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Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask

Best Overnight Treatment
Paula's Choice Radiance Renewal Mask (From:Amazon).

Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask (From:Amazon).

Key features:

  • Niacinamide and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) to soothe and repair skin.
  • Salix Alba Bark Extract to exfoliate and fade hyperpigmentation.
  • Arbutin and Bearberry Leaf Extract to brighten skin.
  • Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.
  • Best for all skin types.

The Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask contains natural skin-lightening ingredients that fade hyperpigmentation. Its rich gel texture offers intense hydration that lasts all night. It can also be layered with other skincare products, making this our favorite overnight face mask for acne scars.

Arbutin and Bearberry Extract delivers potent brightening benefits that are effective yet gentle. Both work to limit melanin production, while addressing discoloration left by acne scars and sun exposure. Salix Alba Bark Extract, a popular BHA, also exfoliates the skin, which helps to lighten uneven dark spots.

Niacinamide soothes inflammation and restores skin barrier health. This preps the skin for optimum absorption of moisture and skincare ingredients. Vitamin C also addresses hyperpigmentation and early aging signs, enhancing the skin’s radiance.

The mask has a milky, silky, gel-like texture that feels refreshing on the skin. It contains Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid, two hardworking humectants that deliver long-lasting moisture to nourish skin overnight. Thanks to this formula, you’ll wake up to plump, glowing skin after every use.

 

The Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask is non-irritating and is safe to use as often as you want. It contains no alcohol, fragrance, parabens, and is cruelty-free.

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