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Face Masks – Useful or Useless?

Face Masks – Useful or Useless?

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Good skin requires daily cleansing, moisturising and the application of a sunscreen. What makes the difference however between good and great skin, are the added extras that can be applied to further correct, enhance and maintain. Whilst serums provide longer-term management, the regular application of a face mask can deliver an instant skin solution with immediate visual results.

Face masks are nothing new and have been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian, Japanese and Roman cultures are documented to have used mud, honey, egg whites, rice bran and even gold as facial concoctions, to beautify and embellish their complexions. But where do face masks fit into the modern skin care regime? Are they a necessity, how long do their results last and what mask is best suited for which skin?

The reality is face masks are a temporary fix, designed to deliver a short- term solution. For the longer term management of any skin type or condition, a corrective serum will provide far more benefits and longevity. This isn’t to say however that face masks can’t play an important role, for the short term treatment of skin concerns. Unlike serums or moisturisers that are left on the skin for sustained periods, most face masks deliver a quick 10-20 minute fix that is often washed or wiped away.

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Although some face masks contain a higher concentration of active ingredients versus toners, serums and moisturisers, this is not always case – they are often just thicker formulations. No matter the concentration of active ingredients contained within a mask’s formulation, once the mask is removed, the effects will start to diminish.

Whilst there are many forms of masks on the market such as mud, cream, gel, cloth, peel-off and patches, masks can essentially be divided into two categories: those that set and those that don’t. Setting masks contain ingredients such as mud or clay and are designed to draw impurities out of the skin. This can include excess oil and dead skin build-up. This type of mask can also be very dehydrating on the skin. Rather than leaving them on until they are fully set, why not leave on for just 2-5 minutes for a quick deep cleanse and exfoliation. Simply wash off afterwards. Always remember, no matter what the label says, no mask can ‘detoxify’ systemic imbalances or ill health.

Non setting masks contain more moisturising and emollient ingredients and as such, can be wiped off the skin or even massaged in. These types of masks are more suitable for a wider array of skin conditions and may be left on for as long as desired. For super parched or dry skins, they can even be left on overnight.

Although there are masks designed to address wrinkles, dullness, pigmentation, sensitivity and breakouts, unless they are applied every day for a sustained period, their potency and long lasting effect is debatable. Setting masks however do provide instant exfoliation and oil-control for an instantly smoother and softer skin. Non-setting masks are great for instant hydration to visually refresh, moisturise and revitalise fatigued, dull or dry conditions.

Why not try a mask as part of a weekly ritual or a quick skin pick-me-up before a special event?

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By: Andrew R. Christie

Beauty & Skin Industry Specialist

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