- Face masks for dry skin replenish moisture, exfoliate and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Cream, gel and sheet masks are generally the best types of masks for those with dry skin.
- Face masks that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, collagen and essential oils can help protect the skin’s natural barrier and add moisture.
- In addition to scientifically proven moisturizing ingredients, natural ingredients such as avocado, oatmeal and honey can be effective for dry skin.
Face masks for dry skin deliver a potent, focused and much needed dose of moisturizing, replenishing ingredients to combat dryness. Deep penetrating, hydrating masks address dry skin that appears uneven or rough in texture, and that flakes, cracks and peels. Additionally, these masks help minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Best Face Masks for Dry Skin
Cream, gel and sheet masks are best-suited for dry skin. If this is your skin type, you’ll want to choose a mask formulation that hydrates and, in some cases, exfoliates dead skin cells.
Dry or dehydrated skin can lead to sensitivity, redness and inflammation. Excessively dry skin can also lead to skin concerns such as wrinkles and fine lines; uneven skin tone could worsen and appear more noticeable.
If your skin is dry, this is an indication it is lacking in natural oils. Cream masks can replenish this moisture and the natural oils in dry, rough skin.
Your cream mask should contain noncomedogenic oils that are as close as possible to your skin’s natural sebum, such as carrot seed or rosehip oil. These ingredients not only mimic your skin’s natural oils without clogging pores, they also add nutrients and antioxidants while working to replenish moisture in your skin.
It’s also important to look for cream mask ingredients that gently moisturize and attract water to your skin, such as ceramides (lipids) or humectants such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin. These deep penetrating ingredients keep working to lock in moisture – even after the mask is removed.
Gel masks rehydrate and soothe skin that is dry and irritated. These masks include aloe vera, a humectant, or other calming ingredients such as cucumber. If your skin is both sensitive and dry, gel masks would be an ideal choice.
Sheet masks are made with fabric or paper that is saturated with active ingredients. These masks are formulated for a one-time use and can be applied to your face, and left on while your skin absorbs the beneficial ingredients. The mask forms a seal while it works. While this is soothing to dry skin, a sheet mask could make breakouts worse for those with acne.
Best Face Masks for Dry Skin with Specific Skin Concerns
Some face masks for dry skin are better suited to some skin concerns than others. Know what ingredients to avoid to ensure you choose the best mask for your skin.
Sensitive, dry skin
Gel or cream masks may be the best choice for those with sensitive, dry skin. Look for an oil-free mask formulation (or a mask with noncomedogenic oils) that contains calming ingredients such as aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.
Acne-prone dry skin
If you have both acne and dry skin, you’ll want to avoid sheet masks. These masks are highly comedogenic and can worsen acne. Instead, try cream or gel masks. It is also advisable to avoid using any mask that contains drying medications that target acne; instead, try using those medications as a spot treatment.
Ingredients to Look For
There are a number of ingredients that can replenish the skin’s moisture, including noncomedogenic oils, essential oils, ceramides, emollients and humectants.
Oils that mimic natural sebum:
- Fatty acids
- Jojoba oil
- Squalene (from plants)
- Carrot seed
- German chamomile
Ceramides, anti-aging lipid compounds that help protect the skin’s natural barrier and can be plant-derived or synthetic:
- Ceramide A
- Ceramide EOP
- Ceramide NG
- Ceramide NP
- Ceramide NS
Deep penetrating natural humectants, similar to natural sweat, that attract water from the air and bind it to the skin’s surface:
- Aloe vera
- Hyaluronic acid
Ingredients to Avoid
If you have dry skin, it’s important to avoid ingredients that could exacerbate irritation or dryness. There are multiple ingredients known to irritate many skin types; others are particularly harsh for dry skin.
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
- Cetyl alcohol
- Denatured alcohol
- Stearyl alcohol
- Bar soap
- Clay masks
- Excessive use of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Synthetic fragrances
Hyaluronic Acid Face Mask
Hyaluronic acid is a moisture-replenishing humectant commonly used in purchased and DIY face masks. It’s generally safe for use on all skin types, and allergic reactions are uncommon.
Hyaluronic acid helps rehydrate skin by attracting water to the skin’s surface, then binding the water molecules with the tissue. When included in a face mask formulation, this acid can deeply penetrate the skin – so it can keep working long after you’ve rinsed off your mask.
This acid has been proven to offer significant skin hydration, and is available in multiple forms such as lotions, creams and serums. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and revitalizes the dermis, leaving it looking radiant, soft and smooth.
Collagen Face Mask
The purpose of collagen face masks is to replenish the collagen supply below the skin’s surface. Collagen helps protect the skin and prevent dryness.
However, while collagen masks are popular, dermatologists and aestheticians disagree on their efficacy.
Many people use collagen masks with the intent of boosting the collagen in their skin. Some mask formulations tone and tighten the skin temporarily – however, this effect may not be due to the collagen.
Some dermatologists argue that topical collagen isn’t an effective skin treatment. While it’s possible that expensive transdermal applications may be effective, in general, collagen molecules don’t penetrate the skin when applied topically.
Therefore, while it won’t cause harm to use a collagen face mask, there’s no evidence it actually works to boost collagen production.
Essential Oils Face Mask
While some essential oils can irritate dry skin, others can help replenish moisture and fight dryness. Essential oils can be added to a DIY mask or they can be included in purchased formulations.
Essential oils are a popular natural ingredient in many personal care products, including skin care products. The following essential oils are purported to add moisture to the skin and repair damage to the skin’s surface:
- Carrot seed oil is antioxidant-rich and known for regenerating new skin cells and repairing cracked, rough or dry skin
- Geranium helps to fight inflammation and boost circulation
- German chamomile moisturizes and calms the skin
- Lavender repairs damaged skin, reduces flakiness and calm symptoms of irritation
Compounds contained in essential oils such as rosmarinic, linalool, citronellol, limonene, eugenol and caffeic acid can be irritating to the skin. Some people are allergic to essential oils; if you intend to use these oils in a face mask, be sure to test a small area of skin first.
Natural Ingredients for Dry Skin Face Masks
In addition to a wide range of noncomedogenic and essential oils, there are many natural ingredients that replenish the skin’s moisture and protect its barrier.
- Avocado encourages collagen production and contains omega fatty acids that moisturize the skin
- Banana contains antioxidant-rich phenols and high levels of vitamin A, and cleanses debris from the skin
- Cucumber is made primarily of water and can help add much-needed moisture to dehydrated skin when used topically
- Honey is a natural exfoliator with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties
- Oatmeal contains beta-glucan and starch to help draw water to the skin
- Seaweed is an antioxidant-rich, natural emollient
Making a simple, DIY face mask with these ingredients—alone or in combination with other natural ingredients—is an easy, inexpensive way to nourish and moisturize your dry skin at home.
Treating Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, it’s vital to add moisturizing, revitalizing products to your skin care routine. While a mask can be an effective way to infuse your skin with many beneficial, moisturizing ingredients, you can’t rely on a mask alone to take care of your skin’s need for moisture.
Face masks aren’t meant to be used daily. For best results, only apply a face mask once or twice per week.
Use a moisturizer and a mild exfoliant in a daily routine to help reduce dryness and flakiness, and promote healthier skin. Hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and aloe vera are effective choices. Gentle exfoliators such as glycolic acid can also help remove dead skin cells.
Apply a broad spectrum SPF 30 or above to help protect your skin’s natural barrier from the elements.
Whether you purchase a face mask or make your own at home, a mask is only one part of your overall skin care routine. In order to appropriately address dry skin, consistently using products that replenish moisture is key throughout your daily regimen.
The best face masks for dry skin include gel, sheet and cream masks, depending on your skin type and concern. Look for hydrating, nourishing ingredients such as argan or almond oil, natural fatty acids, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.
If you’re unsure of whether a specific mask will work for your particular skin, talk to your dermatologist. They will be able to help you choose the best products and ingredients for your particular needs.
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