Written by Lauren Young
Emerging from Korean origins, the importance and recent hype of skin care has made its way into Western culture through the commercialization of lotions, creams, and face masks. This hype has fed into an image of having “glass skin”, meaning the appearance of flawless, poreless and dewy looking skin, much like that of a porcelain doll. While there may be attractive packaging or features in the wide variety of face masks that are available, the active ingredients are what you should be looking at when purchasing your next face mask. Active ingredients are the nutrients absorbed by the skin. On a molecular level, the applied formulation partitions and diffuses into the stratum corneum, the outer layer of the epidermis, and then into the viable epidermis. These ingredients contain co-solvent properties that increase the skin’s uptake of other nutrients in the mask .
In addition to the type of ingredients listed in the mask, your skin type should also be a huge factor in deciding what is right for you. Bubble masks and clay masks are great for oily skin, as they are both designed to even out the skin tone and draw out impurities. Clay treatment has been seen to increase the number of collagen fibers in the skin by up-regulating fibroblast expression and overexpressing collagen genes . Collagen attributes to our skin’s strength and elasticity and also replaces the pre-existing dead skin cells. For drier skin, mud masks are a great alternative because of mud’s water-based properties. Cream masks and sheet masks are also great in helping to achieve “plump” looking skin by providing a boost of hydration. Both of these are great for a variety of skin types, especially those with combination of both dry and oily skin. Charcoal masks also serve a beneficial purpose in toning the skin. The activated charcoal plays a role in the removal of lignin (reddish) and tannin (brownish) color that may be spotted throughout the skin . These are just some of the common ingredients associated with each type of mask, but of course each brand is designed differently. Other ingredients you could look for are chemical exfoliants, vitamin C, or other peptides. Exfoliants help get rid of dead skin, while vitamin C anti-aging nutrients to keep a youthful glow.
All these masks have their own personal pros and cons and may or may not lead to a difference. Doing prior research on active ingredients and knowing your skin-type are your best bet in finding the best skin care products for you.
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