What Lies Behind the Mask: What Facial Masks Can Do For You

When you think of pampering yourself, relaxing at the spa, or hanging out with your college friends for a movie night, chances are you envision yourselves in some sort of a facial mask. You just can’t help it. The feel of a mask is just so appealing.
But just what can masks do for you? Are facial masks really beneficial for your skin? They certainly feel good.

What is Facial Mask?

Instead of an expensive trip into a spa, a facial mask is a way to apply high doses of beneficial ingredients into the skin by using a fast-penetrating mechanism such as lightweight oils, alcohols, or glycols.
Today’s masks are superior products that use the most potent blends of ingredients available over the counter, incorporating the best of what nature has to offer, and delivery mechanisms that are scientifically proven to target skin problems that everyone faces.
They can benefit all sorts of skin types, regardless of your problem. They’re the perfect skincare treatment to help you with your skincare concerns, regardless of the cause. The right mask can help to hydrate skin, remove excess oils, and help improve the appearance of your pores. They are a great way to help draw out impurities. “Depending on what your skin type is, there is most likely a mask out there that can give you an instant boost,” explains Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Cornell Weill Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Deirdre Hooper, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Louisiana State University explains, “Face masks are occlusive – they blanket the skin and drive products in deeply. Masks can deliver higher concentrations of active ingredients to plump, hydrate, and balance the skin.
They can really be a great tool in your medicine cabinet because they can help award you with instant gratification in targeting a variety of conditions like dryness, inflammation, redness, or even acne.
They generally contain ingredients like clay, black moor mud, aloe vera, seaweed, algae, essential oils, massage oils, herbs, and vitamins.

Benefits of Using a Mask

There are many benefits to using a skin mask, some ethereal and some functional. They include:
    • Relaxation
    • Deep cleansing
    • Unclogging pores
    • Glowing skin
  • Aids your overall skincare regimen

How Are Face Masks Applied?

There are several main types of masks, based on their application and job.
  • Cream Masks (great for normal to dry skin) are typically applied to dry skin and then wiped off using a tissue, washcloth, or sponge. They are “rich in oils and moisturizers that penetrate deeply and replenish dry cells,” according to Nancy Reagan, licensed aesthetician and founder of Bella Reina Spa in Delray Beach, Florida. Hyaluronic acid has the oompf to attract and bind moisture to plump up flat skin cells.
  • Exfoliating Masks (great for most skin types) contain either chemical or physical exfoliants that encourage the natural shedding process and encourage healthier, smoother, more even-toned skin. They slough off dulling dead skin cells and purge deep-seated dirt in your pores using hydroxy acids (like glycolic and lactic acids) and fruit enzymes (typically from papaya and pineapple). They can be either cream-based or contain mechanical particles that you can see and feel, like jojoba beads or rice. They also contain natural skin-brightening properties, which will give you that healthy, lit-from-within glow that can be seen instantly.
  • Peel-Off Gel Masks (great for dry and sensitive skin) typically come in a gel form which, when applied to the face, will set into a rubbery substance that can easily be peeled off. They are great for dry and sensitive skin types that need hydration before firming and detoxifying. They’re infused with collagen and antioxidants that help the skin recover, offering total hydration.
  • Sheet Masks (great for most skin types) are made of fiber, pulp, hydro-gel, or biocellulose. They’re especially effective on resistant skin types when paired with serums. “Just like we do in the treatment rooms, you will want to apply hyaluronic serums under it so that the occlusive nature of the mask can push the serums deep into the skin,” Reagan says. Skip rinsing and immediately apply a moisturizer.
  • Clay Masks (great for normal to oily skin) will prove to be restorative as it detoxifies skin and rehydrates without oil. “Because they are occlusive (closing off the skin to the air), clay masks cause the brain to send down natural skin plumpers,” Reagan says, “and at the same time they are firming, detoxing and tightening.” Some will even provide clarifying enzymes and/or sulfur to treat breakouts and soothe redness.

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