What are face masks?
Makeup and skincare trends come and go like the seasons and one such obsession revolved around face masks. These sheet masks are marketed as quick fixes for many skincare problems, with a promise to deliver a huge quantity of active ingredients at a time. They say it’s like using an entire bottle of serum on your skin. But, is that always a good thing?
If you’re wondering what a face mask is, they are roundish sheets with cut-outs in the eyes, nose and lips areas. They come soaked in serums with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, collagen, niacinamide, vitamin C, etc. There are also other masks that come in a creamy format, supposed to be applied evenly on your skin and left for a similar duration before washing it off.
You are supposed to place the masks properly on your face, let the ingredients penetrate your skin for about 15-20 minutes before removing the mask. The leftover serum on your face is supposed to be massaged into the skin. So, are they really effective?
How do they work?
Face masks work by pushing ingredients deeper into the skin, infusing your pores with their goodness and allowing your skin to absorb more of the product; and, because of the occlusion phenomena of the mask on your skin, the substances in them stay in touch with your skin for longer.
Depending on the substances used and the aim of the mask, it traps moisture or an ingredient in the skin and forms a film that serves to moisturize, hydrate, exfoliate the skin or absorb excess oil. Face masks, as a result, allow chemicals to permeate deeper into your skin in less time.
A face mask can provide a more concentrated dose and more potent version of its contents than other types of application, whether it's vitamin C for fine lines, salicylic acid for acne, or retinoid for lightening dark spots.
Are they worth all the hype?
The promise that face masks may enhance the appearance and health of your skin is attractive, whether they're comprised of an unidentifiable goop in a funny colour or a plastic sheet that you stick to your face. It attracts those looking for a quick yet efficient skincare remedy in the shape of a mask. However, it doesn't imply they're the greatest option to improve your skin.
Aside from their ubiquity, it's unclear if they live up to the hype. For example, sheet masks haven't gotten much attention in the medical community, and dermatologists believe they're only of limited use. A face mask's components are generally quite similar to those found in a toner, cleanser, moisturizer, or serum.
A face mask, like other skincare items, is designed to improve the look of your skin. For instance, a mask containing hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture and is anti-inflammatory, can reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles and give your face a healthy shine. The effects, on the other hand, are transient. Your skin seems better because it is hydrated, but this is a temporary benefit that will disappear as your skin returns to its normal hydration condition.
However, if your skin is sensitive or irritated as a result of surgery or even a sunburn, these masks can help. Sheet masks are also more moisturizing since the moisturizer may be applied evenly and absorbed directly on the skin thanks to the paper covering your face. Cream masks, on the other hand, are usually targeted at specific skin issues and concerns, such as acne or wrinkles.
While it may claim to infuse your skin with kiwi, mulberry, or other exotic ingredients, whether or not the substance can be absorbed in the skin is dependent on the particle size of the ingredient. When the proper dosage and particle size of the right component are applied, a broad range of face masks performs exceptionally well for the skin.
The secret is to focus on the ingredients
On your masks, look for phrases like hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and dye- and paraben-free. When applied to your face, harsh chemicals, allergies, and preservatives can trigger a slew of problems. You also risk being allergic to one of the chemicals and having your skin irritated. This is especially true for the ones who have more sensitive skin.
Sheet masks work effectively because the sheet stops water from evaporating quickly and increases the time the substance is on the face, allowing for improved absorption and hydration. This maintains the skin's suppleness and radiance.
Vitamin C and aloe vera are frequent constituents in sheet masks, as are pearl, snail extract, and seaweed. There are also bubble sheet masks with charcoal and other detoxifying substances, as well as sparkling water and a variety of different chemicals.
You should pick the proper ingredient and not be distracted by the attractive covers from verifying the contents on the back of the packet or jar. It's also critical to select products that are appropriate for your skin type.
How to choose the right face masks for your problems?
If you choose to go ahead with the trend of face masks, make sure to choose ones that have ingredients that are designed for your specific skin type and skin concerns.
- Oily skin - Salicylic acid
- Dry skin - Hyaluronic acid
- Acne-prone skin - Salicylic acid, aloe vera, green tea, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
- Rosacea - Niacinamide
- Fine lines and wrinkles - Retinoids like retinol and retinaldehyde, anti-oxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid and resveratrol
- Dark spots and pigmentation - Licorice root extracts, vitamin C, kojic acid, soy, tranexamic acid, retinoids
Lastly, pricey doesn’t always mean effective
A more costly product does not always imply a superior quality. Some face masks contain fancy and exotic chemicals that have not been evaluated in clinical studies, so we don't know if all of them are completely safe. You don't have to buy the most costly ones because you think they will be better, and this is true of any skin-care item. You have to find out what works for you and pick products accordingly.
Some at-home DIY masks can also yield effects, depending on the materials used, she notes. Lactic acid, which is found in milk and yoghurt, exfoliates the skin and can make it seem brighter. Aloe vera also includes antioxidants that might help you seem younger. Caffeine in coffee, on the other hand, can reduce the appearance of pores by drying out the skin.
There's also the issue of long-term viability. Sheet masks may eventually be subjected to the same scrutiny that proved flushable wipes to be a threat to the environment.
In the end, sheet masks can give you a short boost, but they come at a higher financial and environmental cost than serums. If you enjoy resting with a mask or if you're getting ready for an event where you want to look hydrated and plump, go grab a face mask. However, it is not a required part of anyone's daily regimen as they’re neither magical nor sustainable. And, most of them are definitely not designed for regular use.