Sheet masks, face masks – there are so many terms floating around it’s hard to keep track. What’s the difference?
And are face masks good for your skin?
Firstly, face masks unfortunately can refer to vastly different things. There’s the surgical face mask that the entire globe has been made aware of due to recent pandemic events. Then there’s the face mask in skincare. This can refer to sheet masks, mud masks and any kind of formulation designed to improve skin.
Face masks have been one of the biggest things to hit the beauty shelves thanks to its popularity that originated in Korean beauty. Half of its appeal is the purchasing process. They come in a huge variety of shapes, colours, cute designs and are made for all kinds of skin issues.
The other half is the actual experience of masking for your face. Face masking and having a glass of wine may have become the new Friday night activity! Complete zen. #selfcare
It’s hard to ignore the allure of this oh-so-trendy skin care product. But are these face masks actually doing anything for your skin? Or are they just another trendy item to spend your hard earned money on, with the promise of a relaxing experience while treating your skin?
Continue reading to find out the truth about face masks.
Are Face Masks Actually Effective for Your Skin?
In general, face masks are a good “boost” to your existing skin care routine for short term, immediate results. Face masks work by penetrating the ingredients closer and deeper into the skin, allowing the active ingredients in the face mask to sink into your pores and absorb more of the product.
Face masks offer an immediate result that you can see – and you know people love instant gratification. So whether you’re looking to calm down a breakout, or have a boost in hydration, there’s probably a face mask for that. They offer a quick fix solution but the results are temporary.
The effectiveness of face masks really depends on two things: what type of face mask you are using and what type of ingredients you are choosing to treat what kind of skin type you have.
Sheet masks (those colourful ones that you use once), are best suited for hydration, soothing inflamed skin, and brightening.
Masks that come in gel, cream, charcoal, or mud form that you either wash or peel off your skin are typically made with active ingredients. These masks are made to target specific skin concerns like acne, or aging.
What that also means is make sure to keep up with the daily cleansing, moisturizing and SPF – those are non-negotiable for the skin.
There are also DIY face masks you can make at home with ingredients you most likely already have laying around. It’s important to note to really do the research on what will work for your skin type and to do a patch test of the mask first before applying it to your face to ensure it’s safe.
In general, it’s best to always cleanse before using a mask, and wash with warm water to help open up your pores for the ingredients to absorb better into the skin.
What Types of Face Masks Should I be Using for My Skin?
The following are common types of masks, and ingredients that are targeted towards specific skin ailments.
Acne and inflammation: Want to manage a breakout? Look for ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide. These are active acne-bacteria fighting ingredients that will help to keep breakouts at bay and prevent future ones. To soothe inflamed skin, ingredients like honey and aloe vera are great to reduce inflammation on your face.
Oily skin: If you want to treat oily skin then consider a mask that comes in a tube or tub. Both clay masks and charcoal face masks can be used to treat acne and oily skin. They work to deeply cleanse your face, reaching deep into your pores to draw out excess oil and dirt from the surface of the skin. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid can be great alternatives as well to help get rid of excess oil and sebum.
Dry Skin: If you want to add a hydration boost then a look for a face mask with ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that can hold more than double its weight in moisture so it makes an effective ingredient for treating dry skin.
Hyperpigmentation and dark spots: If you are experience dark spots or hyperpigmentation, look for a face mask with ingredients like antioxidants like vitamin C, and E. Free radicals and sun exposure can be damaging to healthy skin and change our skin’s melanin production, which is what causes dark spots and uneven skin tone. Antioxidants protect the skin from this and help reduce existing pigmentation.
Fine lines and wrinkles: Antioxidants can also help out in this department. A face mask with vitamin C and E can also work to boost collagen production which firms skin. It also helps to protect the skin from photo damage, which is one of the main culprits of accelerated skin aging.
Dull skin and uneven texture: If you’re wanting to improve your overall complexion and brighten and smooth out your skin texture, find a face mask with AHA, or BHAs. These hydroxy acids are good for chemically exfoliating the skin to get rid of dead skin cells, to reveal the youthful skin underneath.
Are Face Masks Safe for My Skin?
When shopping for face masks, it’s important to focus on the ingredients label, instead of the fancy packaging (we’re guilty of this too). Look for labels that say hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, fragrance free, alcohol free, and made without dyes, sulfates or parabens. These put your skin at risk for irritation, especially if you already have sensitive skin and are prone to breakouts.
It is also important to note what you’re currently using in your skin care routine and what may be compatible to use in terms of face masks. For example, if you’re taking any over-the-counter or prescription acne medication, your skin may be a lot more sensitive to different types of products so do consult a doctor if you’re unsure.
Generally speaking, face masks are a great experience and a good addition to your already existing routine. Although the results are temporary, they can add that little bit extra boost before a big event or after a stressful week. The effectiveness of a face mask on the skin varies on the type of mask/ingredients you’re using and what kind of skin condition you are trying to treat.
Most face masks are regarded as safe but do consult a doctor or do a patch test to ensure it won’t irritate the skin, especially if you have a sensitive skin type.
We don’t know about you, but we’re ready to ditch our plans tonight to mask and chill.