Is your skin not loving your mask?
Have you ever tried a face mask, thinking it would solve all your problems, skin and otherwise? At stressful times I have often tried to add an element of a spa experience into my days to make my life feel more luxe, peaceful, and productive while otherwise being sedentary. Even if the face mask did seemingly very little to improve the quality of my skin, at least I enjoyed the routine and it made me feel I was regaining some control of my life.
I am often asked about masks by clients and friends who think that a mask will solve the major skin problems they are having, but they are uncertain of what ingredients and products address their specific issues, and which ones will make their problems worse. Like any good doctor, first I must make a diagnosis before recommending a treatment. I will discuss the top issues people come to me with and recommend a beauty prescription for each.
1. Dry, flaking, uneven skin tone, or sun-damaged skin
Usually people who have dry, flaking skin will try to remedy the texture of their skin surface by using harsh scrubs. I hardly ever recommend that as a course of action for a few reasons: scrubbing particles can create tears in the skin and will break down the skin’s protective barrier leading to moisture loss which is exactly the cause of the dry skin, the exfoliation is hardly ever even, the tugging action on your skin as you scrub stretches and tears elastin, causing a loss in firmness. A better alternative to a scrub for this skin concern is a mask with an AHA: an alpha hydroxy acid. Look for ingredients like Glycolic acid and lactic acid. These ingredients work on the surface of the skin to encourage the healthy shedding of skin cells that can be interrupted by sun damage, dry skin, oily skin, genetics, and various skin disorders. A mask with an AHA will put everything back into balance, unclog pores, stop and prevent breakouts, and smooth wrinkles. Try Wondergloss Pumpkin Latte Mask.
2. Oily skin and clogged pores
Anyone who has excess oil production and blackheads knows that it can be tricky to find a product that will absorb excess oil without triggering the skin to overproduce oil after application. Often masks for this concern contain irritating ingredients such as menthol or peppermint that give the skin a cooling, tingling feeling that makes the user feel like it is deeply clearing out the pore.
Unfortunately, these ingredients are actually triggering more oil production when they interact with your pore’s receptors. The key to finding an effective mask for oily skin is to find one that is effective and gentle. Look for masks that have absorbent clays like Kaolin and bentonite, sans any minty ingredients or fragrances. Try Versed Skincare Find Clarity Purifying Mask or The Inkey List Kaolin Face Mask.
3. Dehydrated, tight feeling skin
People who have dry skin that is parched don’t react well to traditional clay masks, and it wasn’t until recent years that masks made for hydrating skin became commonplace. Thankfully now skincare for this previously unrepresented condition is far easier to come by. Skin that is dehydrated needs more than just oil; oil is a great ingredient for restoring the skin barrier and protecting the skin, but it does little to replace the moisture that was lost due to a break in the skin barrier. Skin with this concern needs a humectant, like Glycerin or Hyaluronic Acid, which can bring water from deeper layers of skin and the air around the skin surface and bring it into the skin cells. These ingredients should be combined with antioxidants to prevent free radical damage, and ingredients that will restore the skin barrier to protect the new moisture levels. Oils like Jojoba, Avocado, and Sweet Almond are great as the skin readily recognizes this oil as similar to the kind it produces and can use it to patch up holes in the protective barrier on your skin. Try Derma E Hydrating Mask with Hyaluronic Acid or Paula’s Choice Rehydrating Moisture Mask.
If you know your skin concern it’s pretty easy to find your match. Many people will have different issues in different areas of the face, so multi-masking (the act of putting different face masks onto different parts of the skin) is a great way to treat trouble spots and create an even complexion. Most skin issues need to be addressed in a daily skincare regimen; a mask is not a cure-all or replacement for consistency. Masks can, however, be a great troubleshooter when skin is acting up and is an indulgent experience you can feel good about.