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Do Face Masks Really Do Anything for Your Skin?

Are you struggling with deciding whether it is worth adding a face mask to your routine? You’re certainly not alone! Many of us already use cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and other products on a daily basis – is a face mask really going to make a difference? We’re answering all of your questions to help you determine whether a mask deserves a spot in your skincare regimen. 

What is the Point of a Face Mask?

Face masks are designed to give your skin a concentrated boost of active ingredients that target a range of issues. There are masks made for a variety of different concerns, including dehydration, dullness, irritation, acne, texture issues, signs of aging, and more.  

It’s important to note that an at-home mask often isn’t going to offer the same dramatic results as serums, and shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for these types of products. For example, if you’re looking to brighten your complexion, daily use of a well-formulated  vitamin C serum will better help transform your skin compared to weekly use of a radiance-boosting mask. However, a face mask can still be a great supplement to your serums and other skincare products to help you target your concerns and more quickly achieve your goals. 

Different Types of Face Masks

Face masks can be roughly broken up into a few different categories: 

  • Sheet Masks: Sheet masks have become increasingly popular, thanks to their ease of use. They are made with materials like cotton, cellulose, and coconut gel. The material is infused with active ingredients that help address specific concerns. 
  • Clay and Mud Masks: Masks formulated with clay or mud are made to purify the skin, helping to draw out excess oil, dirt, and impurities in the pores. They are especially great for combination and oily skin types, as well as blemish-prone complexions.
  • Gel and Cream Masks: Gel and cream-based masks can target a wide variety of different concerns, but will often feel hydrating and comforting on the skin. Gel formulas can be suitable for all skin types, but typically cream formulas have a thicker consistency that works best for normal to dry skin.  
  • Peel-Off Masks: A peel-off mask is applied to clean skin and then gently peeled off once it dries down. It’s great for removing dead skin cells and debris from the outer layer of the skin to promote a smoother texture and refresh and brighten the complexion. 
  • Sleeping Masks: As the name implies, sleeping masks are designed to be worn overnight, on top of your other skincare products. While sleeping masks can target different concerns, many are geared towards those with dry skin. 

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    Best Face Mask Type Depending on Your Area of Concern

    Of course, not all face masks are created equal. When it comes to picking the right face mask for your specific needs, you’ll need to consider the type of mask, as well as the specific ingredients it contains. 

    Those with combination or oily skin looking to reduce excess sebum and decongest the pores may consider reaching for a clay or mud mask, since they are specifically designed to purify the skin. Alternatively, these skin types can look for a sheet or gel-based mask made with ingredients known to fight breakouts and clarify the skin, such as salicylic acid, tea tree oil, or charcoal. 

    Parched, dry skin that’s in need of some extra support will want to look for a hydrating and moisturizing sheet, cream, or sleeping mask. The best products will contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and squalane, which can help restore hydration levels and improve the skin’s moisture retention abilities. 

    If you have sensitive skin and want to promote a more comfortable complexion, you’ll want a mask made with soothing ingredients like centella asiatica and colloidal oatmeal. You’ll often find these ingredients in sheet, gel, cream, and sleeping masks. It’s also best to avoid peel-off masks if your skin is sensitive, as they can aggravate the complexion.  

    Another major concern that affects people of all skin types is a dull complexion and uneven tone. If this sounds like you, you’ll want a mask made with effective brightening ingredients like vitamin C, azelaic acid, kojic acid, or licorice root. These ingredients can be found in virtually any type of mask – you’ll just want to choose whichever works best for your skin type. 

    Ingredients in Face Masks to Avoid

    There are some ingredients that have the potential to irritate the skin, ultimately causing more harm than good. This includes fragrances, dyes, parabens, and alcohol. Some people also have negative reactions to essential oils in face masks and other skincare products. 

    Ultimately, you need to prioritize properly cleansing your skin and regularly using moisturizers, serums, and sunscreen. That said, this doesn’t render face masks useless. In fact, when using the right product consistently, a face mask can be a helpful addition to your skincare routine. Once you’ve established a foundational skincare routine, you can consider working in a face mask to round out your regimen.