• Put on a Mask!

Put on a Mask!

If the magazines are to be believed then your ‘skincare regime’ is not complete without a weekly mask. I’ve personally never had enough patience for them. Besides I’m always a bit scared of being caught out by the rest of my family with a strange white face. Some people do swear by them. But is a mask really necessary now and what does it actually do? Masks can be roughly divided into two types, cleansing masks and moisturising masks.

The “cleansing mask”

These are the masks for the more oily, blemished skin. It would be nice if there was a mask available that could clear blocked pores. But that is not what you can really expect from a mask. In order to clean the inside of a pore (where all the sebum plugs are) the ingredients in the mask need to go through the layer of dead skin cells and then, once inside the pore, be able to break down the fatty substance. For this you need an exfoliating and oil dissolving ingredient such as Salicylic Acid. The usual ingredients in a cleansing mask, such as clay or mud, most certainly cannot do this. What they can do is remove the top layer of grease so that at least your skin looks better. And because the mask has temporarily closed off the skin it will feel more soft.

The “moisturising mask”

If you look at the ingredients in a cream mask there is not much difference from those in a normal day or night cream. Where the mask does differ, though, is that it is usually more rich and you apply a thicker layer over your skin. And this is what makes it feel as though an improvement has been made. Because the skin has been temporarily closed off less moisture will evaporate and more moisture will be retained in your skin. Your skin will then feel very soft. Popular choices in this area are ingredients such as vaseline, glycerine and paraffin. Actually just normal stuff.

Unwanted ingredients

Unfortunately there are often unwanted ingredients contained in masks (see the list here). An increase in moisture in the skin can occur because it is more easily retained (such as above). But it can also be a sign of irritation. The increase in blood flow, swelling and tingling/prickling of the skin suggests effectiveness but these are actually signs of inflammation and therefore extremely unwanted. The substances in the skin which are released by this process make sure that, in the short term, the blood is sufficiently circulated and the skin hydrated but also reduce the skins barrier function and in the long term cause ageing of the skin. So best avoided!

If you still like to use a mask every now and again then take a look next week at my blog (‘Make Your Own Mask’). I’ll give you some tips about how you can make your own mask. It is very cheap and you know for sure that there are no ingredients that are harmful.

Regards Jetske

(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read the blogs:
Is There a Cure for Bags
Do Anti-Oxidants Really Work in a Cream?
Angel Dusting ‘ (about how you can bend the truth…)
A Night Cream Only for the Night?
Acne Improves in the Sun? A Myth
Burning Skin Sensation‘.

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