This Gentle Mask Fixed My Stress-Induced Breakout

Family visits usually make for a mixed bag of emotions. There's the obvious plus of getting to see loved ones for the first time in what might feel like eons, but under the excitement usually lurks some anxiety — because no one grills you harder about your relationship status, how much money you have in savings, and the state of your apartment than a parent.
I had one of these family-fueled weekends recently, and ended up with a face full of zits to show for it. Of course, I wouldn't have traded the experience, but when the storm settled, I was relieved to have a night to myself. Finally alone, I decided to give myself a much-needed chill-out session with Monastery's XX Glycolic Mask.
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I've been using and loving gentle acids for my combination skin ever since I heeded dermatologist Rachel Nazarian's advice and started using alpha-hydroxy acids to keep breakouts from forming. Acids work double-duty to prevent dead skin from building up (which can cause acne) and to dissolve whiteheads and blackheads over time, and if you pick the right ones, you won't be left dry and irritated.
I've been screwed by harsh chemical exfoliants in the past, so it wasn't just the inclusion of the milder glycolic acid that had me excited — the rosewater base seemed to promise a gentle and soothing experience, too. I smoothed a layer of the clear gel onto my face and let it work its magic. Five minutes later, I washed it off and immediately noticed smoother, softer skin, diminished pores, and zero redness. My cystic acne bumps were still there, but I swear they were less apparent thanks to the overall brightening effect the mask had.
In another week or so's time, there will be no evidence left of any family-induced stress on my face, which means maybe I can finally focus on cleaning my place. My mom told me I desperately need to — 17 times.
Monastery XX Glycolic Gel, $68, available at Monastery.