- Face masks are made to target specific skin concerns through a deep-penetrating formula.
- Facial treatment masks are used to clarify, tighten, balance, plump and hydrate the skin.
- Common uses for treatment masks include cleansing, treating acne, brightening and skin tightening.
- Face masks may be purchased commercially or made at home from natural ingredients.
Face masks deliver highly concentrated amounts of soothing, nourishing ingredients to revitalize the skin. Different types of skin revitalization masks’ active ingredients are formulated to penetrate deeply into pores. Masks are commonly used to hydrate, clarify, exfoliate, tighten, balance and plump the skin. They can easily be incorporated into your skincare routine, and there are masks for every skin type.
Why Use a Face Mask?
A mask is a great way to get targeted, rapid treatment for a specific skin issue. Masks address skin problems like acne, inflammation, redness, uneven skin tone, and dryness. Some masks can be soothing and healing after skin rejuvenation or resurfacing procedures.
Cleansing masks are designed to remove grime from pores and dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Charcoal, clay, and peel-off masks can all loosen and lift debris from the skin, leaving skin feeling cleaner, tighter and smoother.
Face masks are often used for treating acne-prone skin. People with acne experience a combination of inflammation, excess oil and blocked pores. To calm breakouts, aace masks for acne should contain active ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and gently exfoliating.
Skin-tightening masks encourage collagen production and are made with rejuvenating, anti-wrinkle, anti-aging ingredients. Masks that tighten the skin are available for multiple skin types. These masks restore a more youthful-looking appearance by rejuvenating aging or loose skin.
Types of Face Masks
Multiple types of face masks exist to address a wide variety of skincare concerns. There are different masks for a range of skin types, whose ingredients address specific concerns.
Peel-Off Face Masks
Peel-off face masks work to lift impurities from your pores and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. These masks are meant to be applied to the skin, allowed to dry, then peeled off. This removes the top layer of grime and impurities from your skin.
Some peel-off masks can cause irritation and dryness. Others are made with glue that can be damaging to the skin. Peeling them off, especially abruptly or with force, can strip healthy skin cells and the hairs on your face, called vellus hair. Peel-off masks are best suited for surface cleansing, rather than removing blackheads or whiteheads.
Sheet masks are single-use masks made with fabric or paper that has been soaked in the mask’s hydrating active ingredients. These masks are meant to be applied to the face and left while your pores soak up the nourishing ingredients. Sheet masks are occlusive, sealing in their ingredients while they work.
While sheet masks are effective, they aren’t any more beneficial than their counterparts that come in a tube or a jar. In fact, they’re more expensive in the long run. And, because they seal the skin and raise the skin’s temperature while in use, they could trigger a breakout in someone who is acne-prone.
Korean face masks
Korean face masks include sheet masks, cream masks, and gel masks. Face masks made with Korean skincare philosophy in mind tend to focus on cultivating a healthy glow, moisturizing and brightening the skin through innovative formulas and all-natural active ingredients.
Korean sheet masks include hydrogel masks, point masks, rubber masks, and charcoal masks. These masks hydrate; the charcoal sheet masks draw out impurities, too. In addition to the higher cost, you shouldn’t use these masks if you’re prone to breaking out.
Cream face masks are deep-penetrating, moisturizing and rejuvenating. They help plump and tighten the skin and are appropriate for normal to dry skin types. Cream masks replenish the moisture in your skin. They come in multiple formulations for specific concerns, like plumping, tightening, brightening and hydrating the skin. Cream masks aren’t made for overnight wear and should be washed off after a few minutes.
Clay masks come in a variety of formulations for a range of skin concerns. They’re well-known for leaving your skin feeling smooth and hydrated without leaving behind a tight or oily sensation. Clay masks are great for your T-zone and are appropriate for almost any skin type. The clay in the masks absorbs excess oil from the surface of your skin.
Clay masks are meant to set for about 10-15 minutes, then rinsed off as soon as it begins feeling firm. Rinse gently to remove.
Charcoal masks gently attract and remove dirt from your pores to cleanse and clarify your skin. They function similarly to clay masks, removing excess oils without a tight or dry feeling afterward. Charcoal masks come in peel-off, cream and gel formulations.
How to Pick the Best Face Mask for Your Skin Type
When choosing a face mask, keep your skin type and skincare goals in mind. Do you want to hydrate, tighten, cleanse or soothe? Do you have any skin conditions you want to address, specifically? The best mask for your skin will depend on your skin’s unique needs.
Look for face mask ingredients that will encourage cleansing and open pores. Your face mask should be hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic and nonacnegenic. Avoid irritating ingredients like menthol, strong or unneeded fragrances, high alcohol content or polyvinyl alcohol (an irritant in peel-off masks).
If you have dry skin, you could benefit from a sheet, cream or gel mask to replenish moisture. Look for hyaluronic acid to add moisture, and Vitamin C or other antioxidants to address fine lines.
For oily skin, charcoal and clay masks are great options. Both charcoal and clay draw excess oil from the skin and leave it feeling smooth. Avoid emollient ingredients that clog pores and trap oil.
Gel masks are great for soothing and cooling sensitive, inflamed, dry or swollen skin. Niacinamide is a calming active ingredient for inflamed skin, especially rosacea-prone skin.
A Word About Face Masks for Men
Men’s face masks aren’t much different from women’s. If you’re a man looking to incorporate a face mask into your skincare routine, think first about how you’d like to treat your skin and what conditions you want to address. If you don’t want to use products with a floral or perfumed scent, read ingredient labels and ask questions until you find a formulation that suits your needs.
Best Face Masks for Acne
If you’re looking to use a face mask to address acne, your best bets are clay, charcoal, and gentle peel-off masks that help clear your pores. Sheet masks can actually clog pores, so steer clear of those if you’re looking to banish blemishes and calm your breakouts.
The best face masks for acne include exfoliating and anti-inflammatory ingredients like:
- Salicylic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Tea tree oil
How to Use a Face Mask
It’s easy to incorporate a face mask into your nighttime skincare routine. Use face masks as directed. For best results, you can apply a mask a few times a week.
- Before you apply your face mask, make sure you cleanse your face.
- Sheet, clay, charcoal, cream and gel masks should be applied after you wash your face, then rinsed off before you complete the rest of your bedtime skincare steps.
- A face mask designed for overnight wear should be applied as the final step of your skincare routine before bed.
DIY Face Masks
DIY face masks can be made and applied at home. They incorporate natural ingredients. While they may provide temporary results, DIY face masks are generally not as effective as face mask products you can purchase commercially.
If you’re looking to save money on the cost of commercial face mask products and it’s important to you to use all-natural ingredients, a DIY mask is a great alternative.
Natural face mask ingredients
Natural face mask ingredients are, to some, a wholesome alternative to commercial face mask ingredients. Before you apply your DIY mask, make sure you do a patch test on a small area of your skin to ensure you aren’t allergic or sensitive to the ingredients.
Some natural face mask ingredients include:
- Argan oil
- Olive oil
- Baking soda
- Green tea
- Egg white
- Lemon juice
- Aloe vera
- Tea tree and other essential oils
Face masks are a fantastic way to deliver a single, potent dose of nourishing, revitalizing ingredients to your skin. Researching the right ingredients and type of mask for your skin is critical to an effective face mask experience.
Masks are a compliment to your daily skin ritual, so it’s important to have a healthy skincare routine in place that you can incorporate a mask into.