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Do Face Masks Work The Way Your Derm Says So?


Sheet masks are probably the most well-known and iconic staples in K-beauty. They’re basically the gateway drug into the whole world of skincare and are wildly popular throughout Asia.

These days, you can find a sheet mask for almost every skin concern you can imagine – but how do face masks work? And are they even effective at all?

Today, we’re digging into these fad beauty products to determine once and for all how they work and which ones are best for you.

Do Face Masks Work?

This is the ultimate question, right? Well, there are hundreds of different types of masks, (Think: clay, sheet, peel-off, etc.) and their effectiveness will change based on the type of mask you choose, the ingredients, and your skin type.

Face masks are great at delivering concentrated ingredients to the deeper layers of your skin. What do face masks do? They can draw out impurities, deliver anti-aging actives, or deeply hydrate your skin. (To name just a few benefits.)

Just like any other skincare product, what may work wonders for one person, could wreak havoc on another skin type.

Dermatologists normally recommend hydrating and soothing face masks, because they work well for most people and give almost immediate results of glowing, moisturized skin.

The most important thing to consider before you use a face mask is the ingredient list. Glitter, fragrances and dyes can be major irritants for your skin. (Even if it looks fun on Insta.) Instead, opt for natural ingredients, actives that are proven to work with your skin type, or dermatologist-recommended ingredients.

How Often Should You Put A Mask On Your Skin?

How often you use a face mask depends on what the mask treats. In general, hydrating and soothing face masks can be used every day. And in Korea, many skincare enthusiasts use a sheet mask daily!

If you are using clay masks, exfoliating, or anti-acne masks, these should be limited to once or twice a week. This is because they often have harsher ingredients to fight skin issues. Overusing these masks could irritate or dry out your skin.

Do Face Masks Work For Acne?

The short answer is ‘yes’. Acne is usually a result of clogged pores, overactive oil glands, or inflamed skin. Using soothing sheet masks, or clay masks that have clarifying and oil-absorbing ingredients can all help reduce acne.

Look for masks that have AHA’s or salicylic acid. Tea tree oil is another natural ingredient that can kill bacteria and dry out acne. If your acne is a result of inflamed or dehydrated skin, ingredients like aloe vera and green tea will soothe your skin, helping breakouts in the long run.

What Face Mask Is Right For My Skin Type?

Normal Skin: If your skin is normal, look for ingredients that will enhance your glow or gently exfoliate! Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and squalene are all ingredients proven to plump skin up and hydrate deeply.

Dry Skin: With dry skin, you’ll want to avoid drying AHA’s and harsh clay masks. Instead, opt for soothing sheet or gel masks that contain aloe vera, jojoba oil, or other moisturizing ingredients.

Combination Skin: Sulfur is a great ingredient when it comes to combination skin. It’s anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, so it’ll even out your oily and dry skin patches, soothing redness. Vitamin E is great for overall skin health, and kaolin clay masks can help to deep-cleanse your complexion.

Oily Skin: When it comes to oily skin, clay masks are your friend. Zinc oxide can help prevent and treat breakouts, cucumber extract can gently soothe your skin, and citric acid can help to purify your pores, leaving your skin free of excess oil.

Do’s And Don’ts for Face Masks

Do: Always cleanse your skin before using a face mask. The mask will work better if your skin is clean, and you won’t trap grime into your pores if they’re squeaky-clean.

Don’t: Let your sheet mask completely dry out on your skin. Always read the instructions on the package. Sheet masks are only meant to be kept on around 15-20 minutes. If they begin to dry out, they will start to draw moisture back out of your face, which is the opposite of productive.

Do: Exfoliate regularly while using face masks. If you never exfoliate, dead skin cells can build up, making a barrier against the ingredients in your mask. By exfoliating regularly, (i.e. Once or twice a week.) your face masks will penetrate deeper and work better.

Don’t: Use heavy moisturizing products before your mask. If you apply your moisturizer beforehand, it could prevent the active ingredients in your mask from reaching your skin. Hydrate your skin after you’re done masking.

Final Thoughts On Face Masks

At the end of the day, everyone loves to come home and slap on a face mask.

They’re fun, luxurious, and make you feel like you’re showing love to your skin. As long as you’re using ingredients catered to your skin type and concerns, don’t overthink it! Go and mask, guilt-free.

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