Nearly everyone has a daily skincare regimen that they follow, especially for the face. Since it is the first thing anyone you meet immediately registers about you, it makes sense to pay proper attention to how your face appears. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of caring for your skin every day, keeping it glowing healthy is an easy thing. But there are times when you feel that your skin could use a little extra TLC and that’s when a good facial mask comes in.

Everyone’s skin is different and everyone needs a facial mask that will suit their skin type and the specific problems that come with each type. So it’s not a matter of just scrubbing your face clean and slapping on the first mask you can grab off the shelf. You may be doing yourself more harm than good if you do.

Why are Face Masks Good for You

Face masks are an essential tool in your skin care kit. Since they use potent ingredients, a once-a-week application is usually enough to keep your skin healthy. It is also enough time to properly treat a particular skin condition that could become bothersome later on if left uncared for. These masks enable intensive facial treatments in a short amount of time.

Here are a few benefits of using a facial mask:

  • Deep cleansing: Your daily skin care regimen to remove dead skin cells, dirt, oil and makeup can really only remove the impurities on the surface of the skin. A good facial mask can draw out the ones that lie beneath the top epidermis layers – virtually detoxifying your skin as the ingredients slowly penetrate the pores. This deep-cleansing quality also helps with the treatment and prevention of low-grade acne and other persistent blemishes.
  • Unclog and refine pores: Some facial masks use bentonite or kaolin clay to absorb excess oils and dirt that have become trapped in the skin pores. Removing these blackheads allows the pores to shrink back to their normal size and makes them seem to disappear with regular use.
  • Glowing, even skin tone: There are specific mask formulations that stimulate blood circulation under the skin to give it a fresher, rosier appearance. It can help diminish hyperpigmentation and increase the flow of oxygen to the skin to even out its tone and texture.
  • Increase skin hydration: For skin that feels dry and chapped, facial masks with hydrating ingredients are a true boon. Creamy masks can provide instant moisture and helps the skin feel softer and smoother.
  • Diminish fine lines: Regular use of the right face mask, especially the ones with anti-aging formulations, will help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
  • Firmer skin: Loose, sagging skin can add years to your look. Some face masks include ingredients that enhance collagen production and lessen the damage brought on by free radicals in the body and in the environment. This results in firmer, tighter, and more youthful-looking skin.

The Right Mask for Each Skin Type

Now that you know what facial masks can do for you, the next step is to find one that is the right fit for your skin type and special conditions.

  • Dry, sensitive skin: It is inevitable that as we age, we lose the ability to produce enough natural skin oil to keep the skin looking dewy and youthful. Parched skin is also more prone to fine lines, chapping, and dry patches. The best masks to use are ones with skin hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid that can draw moisture from the air into the skin. Other nourishing ingredients to look out for are rich oils (almond & macadamia), white algae, yogurt, rosewater, oatmeal and ceramides. The best types of masks are cream masks and hydrogel sheet masks that are currently all the rage.
  • Oily skin: Those with this skin type suffer from an overproduction of sebum, the skin’s natural oils from glands at the base of the pores. Natural ingredients used to treat this type of skin include tea tree oil, sulphur, and witch hazel, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The best masks for this skin type are ones made with speciality clays (kaolin or bentonite), activated charcoal, or mineral-rich mud which absorb the excess sebum while gently exfoliating the skin surface and drawing out impurities stuck in the skin. You can also look for masks with lactic or citric acids that help soften the embedded dirt and oils as they gently tighten the pores for a more refined appearance. A quick caveat about these masks: the clay and mud masks harden as they stay on the skin for longer periods of time. Be sure not to leave them longer than the recommended time (usually 10-15 minutes) or you may over dry your skin, which would conversely trigger it to produce even more sebum.
  • Mature skin: There are a multitude of issues that someone with mature skin has to deal with: thinning skin, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, dryness, and loss of elasticity. You can look for facial masks that have anti-aging ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, and antioxidants to fight off damage from free radicals. Other natural ingredients that are helpful include extracts from acai berries and licorice, as well as kojic acid that will help with gently re-surfacing the skin and lightening surface spots. Since your skin also needs moisturizing, you can look for masks with natural Omega-3 oils to help nourish and plump up the skin. To exfoliate the skin without damaging its fragile surface, ingredients like hyaluronic acid and lactic acid will do the trick.
  • Acne-prone skin: This type of skin is also sensitive and reactive in its own way as it can stem from an overactive sebum production or from an imbalance in the skin’s moisture levels. It needs gentle treatment from a facial mask with ingredients that will not overstrip the natural oils while allowing antibacterial ingredients to work on the inflammations. To help clear severe breakouts, look for ingredients with a potent beta hydroxy acid like salicylic acid which deeply penetrates oil glands to remove the excess sebum. Gentler alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acids can also be beneficial to less acne-prone skin without having the potentially irritating effects of salicylic acid. The best facial mask type to treat this condition is a gentle clay-based mask because of its innate oil-absorbing quality as well as its ability to deliver acne-treating ingredients directly to the skin pores as it dries and hardens. Washing off the clay mask will also reveal tightened and more refined pores.

Your Best Face Forward

Facial masks have been around for ages and all the great beauties of the past have made it a part of their beauty regimen. Today’s modern face masks have come a long way in terms of the science and knowledge about the natural ingredients and specialized formulations that have specific treatment properties. They come in a variety of types – cream, sheet, mud, clay, peel-off, gel, and rubber. Each one targets specific skin types and conditions that need the right combination of ingredients to bring out everyone’s best features.

Take the time to find the facial mask that will work for you, so you can always be ready to face the world with healthy and glowing skin.