Top Ten

7 Best Face Masks for Purging Your Pores

woman with clay mask

In the world of skin care, the topic of clogged pores often comes up when discussing things like acne, breakouts and pimples. Yet, despite being one of the most common beauty woes, it doesn’t make dealing with congestion any better. The good news is that there are a handful of ways to rid the skin of congestion. Some of which involve at-home facials using face masks that detox, purify and promote a more clear complexion.

Up ahead, we take a closer look at what causes congestion to occur, ingredients that help promote clear skin and the best face masks for clogged pores.

What Are Clogged Pores

“Clogged pores happen when oil, dirt or dead skin cells start to build up,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified NYC dermatologist, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. “People with oily or acne-prone skin produce more oil, which can cause clogged pores,” she explains. “Clogged pores can cause blackheads, pimples and [might also] lead to skin irritation,” she adds.

What Causes Pores to Get Clogged

Clogged pores—especially the kinds that turn into pimples—can be frustrating, to say the least. But, knowing what causes pores to get clogged in the first place can help you make a more informed decision on how to get rid of clogged pores and prevent future breakouts.

“Makeup and pollution can irritate the pores of the face,” says Dr. Jaliman. “Make sure the makeup you use is non-comedogenic [specially formulated to not clog pores],” she adds. She further explains, “to avoid clogging your pores with makeup, try to use products that are oil-free,” and always remember to remove all of your makeup and cleanse thoroughly before going to bed.

Physical factors like makeup and pollution aren’t the only factors—breakout-prone skin can be hereditary, too. “The size of your pores depends primarily on your genes,” explains Dr. Jaliman. “If you have larger pores, the dead skin inside them is more likely to make you break out,” she adds.

How to Keep Pores Clean

Despite some of the causes of clogged pores, there are a few things you can do to keep your pores clean. In addition to trying a deep-cleaning face mask, Dr. Jaliman says, “Exfoliating is crucial since it removes pore-enlarging dead skin cells.”

On top of that, she suggests visiting a dermatologist for in-office extractions. “You can also minimize pore size by getting the pores cleaned out by way of a facial,” she adds. “Also, microdermabrasion is helpful for the same reason—it gets rid of the dead surface skin,” she notes.

The Best Ingredients for Clogged Pores

Like many things in beauty, ingredients matter, especially when navigating congestion. When shopping for skin care products that help purge the skin—including face masks—Dr. Jaliman says to look for ingredients such as “salicylic acid, zinc, retinol [and] alpha hydroxy acids.” Discover why Dr. Jaliman believes these are the best ingredients for clogged pores, below.

  • Retinol: According to Dr. Jaliman, “Retinols are effective as they decrease the cohesiveness of the cells and help with exfoliation. Pores [can appear] smaller [since] there is no debris inside.”
  • Salicylic acid: Dr. Jaliman loves salicylic acid for clogged pores because it can “lessen the symptoms of acne.” In addition, “Salicylic acid encourages exfoliation of the skin and unclogging pores,” she adds.
  • Alpha hydroxy acid: Alpha hydroxy acids, a type of chemical exfoliant, are another ingredient to look out for. According to Jaliman, one of the most popular kinds of alpha hydroxy acid is lactic acid. “It plumps the skin, [makes] fine lines look less visible [and] gently exfoliates to reveal smoother and more glowing skin.” On top of lactic acid, you might also run into citric acids with similar benefits. “It can be used to treat multiple skin problems such as acne, hyperpigmentation, clogged pores, fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots,” says Dr. Jaliman. “Citric acid can be used on the skin in the form of peels, toners and masks,” she concludes.
  • Zinc: Did you know that the same ingredient found in sunscreen can also help keep clogged pores at bay? According to Dr. Jaliman, “Zinc reduces the inflammatory response to bacteria [and] helps with clogged pores.”
  • Charcoal and clay: Commonly seen in masks and cleansers for oily skin, these highly absorbent ingredients work like magnets, drawing out excess oil and dirt from your skin.

In addition to discovering the best ingredients for clogged pores, it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients that can make congestion worse. Dr. Jaliman says to avoid ingredients such as “mineral oil and petroleum” as “these ingredients [are known to] clog pores.”

The Best Face Masks for Clogged Pores

When it comes to clogged pores, knowledge is key. Now that you know some of the best ways to keep congestion at bay—and the best ingredients to use—take your skin care routine a step further with these best face masks for clogged pores.

  1. 1. SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask
    Buy now with Dermstore

    1. SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask

    When we think of ingredients that can help purge the skin, we often think of kaolin and bentonite clay. The cult-favorite cleansing clay can help draw out impurities and leave the skin feeling refreshed. As one of the star ingredients in this mask by SkinCeuticals, kaolin and bentonite clays work with exfoliating glycolic and lactic acids to help lift impurities from the skin, control sebum and leave the complexion looking and feeling nourished and smooth.

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. 2. Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud
    Buy now with Dermstore

    2. Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud

    There’s a reason you see charcoal pop up in detoxing face masks. Thanks to its ability to gently draw out impurities and deeply cleanse the complexion, charcoal is one of the most popular skin purgers out there. And there’s not a shortage of it in Peter Thomas Roth’s Irish Moor Mud. Enriched with charcoal, lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, Moor mud and volcanic ash, the luxurious mask can help reduce the repercussions of environmental stress, shrink the look of pores, draw out toxins and clarify the complexion for a hard-to-beat glow.

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. 3. Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask
    Buy now with Dermstore

    3. Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask

    Want a home face mask that requires little to no effort? Reach for Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask. The clay-based formula is enriched with blue tansy oil and white willow bark that not only draws out impurities from the complexion but help reduce the look of redness and inflammation—a common side effect of breakouts.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. 4. Eminence Organic Skin Care Raspberry Pore Refining Masque
    Buy now with Dermstore

    4. Eminence Organic Skin Care Raspberry Pore Refining Masque

    Eminence Organics Raspberry Pore Refining Masque revitalizes and firms to improve the look of your complexion. Raspberry juice nourishes, delivering antioxidant-rich benefits to protect and hydrate, as blueberry and blackberry juices work as an astringent to tone and tighten large pores. Soothing honey replenishes moisture, while the unique Biocomplex formula fortifies to strengthen your skin and promote a healthier, clearer look. Nut-free.Key Ingredients: * Raspberry Juice: antioxidant; source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids; astringent; tightens the look of pores * Honey: moisturizes and
    Buy now with free delivery
  5. 5. Caudalie Instant Detox Mask
    Buy now with Dermstore

    5. Caudalie Instant Detox Mask

    Searching for a detox mask that doubles as an anti-ager? You’ve come to the right place. Caudalie’s Instant Detox Mask is enriched with pink clay and Viniferine—a patented natural ingredient known for its ability to target dark spots—to not only purge your complexion but help absorb toxins and purify skin.

    Buy now with free delivery
  6. 6. ARCONA Tea Tree Mask
    Buy now with Dermstore

    6. ARCONA Tea Tree Mask

    Purging the skin might sound like it’s uncomfortable, but it’s actually the opposite—especially when Arcona is involved. Like many detoxifying face masks, the Tea Tree Mask has a clay base that gently draws out impurities. It’s also enriched with salicylic acid to help lift away dry, dead skin cells—which makes it easier for the clay to work its magic—and tea tree extract to cleanse the skin and leave a soothing sensation.

    Buy now with free delivery
  7. 7. Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
    Buy now with Dermstore

    7. Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

    They don’t call it a “cult-favorite” for nothing. Loved by bloggers and beauty gurus alike, Boscia’s Luminizing Black Mask gets its name for its ability to promote a brighter, more illuminated complexion. Enriched with powerhouse ingredients such as vitamin C, activated charcoal, honey and jojoba oil, the peel-off mask can minimize the look of pores, keep signs of aging at bay and leave the skin looking and feeling more radiant than before.

    Buy now with free delivery

Beauty Reporter

Jessie Quinn

Jessie Quinn is a writer and editor with work published in NYLON Magazine,,,, and more. She is a graduate of Academy of Art University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Journalism. Originally from Los Angeles, she currently resides in Brooklyn—her home for the last five years. In Jessie’s free time, you can find her creating content for her beauty blog, Hair Skin Kale, testing out DIY beauty recipes, exploring her neighborhood, or binge-watching episodes of Friends. Her background in fashion has taught her that beautiful skin never goes out of style. Follow her on Instagram.