Never wear a mask for longer than the recommended allotment—whether it deep-cleans or deeply nourishes. With the cleansing ones in particular, pay attention to them as they dry: That’s when you need to remove them.
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“Everyone has different levels of tolerance for ingredients and products, so start slow and work your way up,” she says.
Sheet Mask: Best for Moisture
“Sheet masks are a great way to impart moisture to dry, dull skin,” says Dr. Susan BardOpens a New Window. of New York City. The mask creates an occlusive environment which allows for greater penetration of moisturizing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides, in a short period of time (15-30 min). It also allows for better penetration of other active ingredients that can help with anti-aging and soothing.”
Aloe Masks: Best for Treating Sunburn or Irritation
“The anti-inflammatory properties in aloe help soothe and relieve burns,” says Bard. It’s just like applying aloe lotion to your sunburnt body, only this one is sensitive enough for your face and won’t clog your pores.
Vitamin C Masks: Best for Sun Spots and Discoloration
A mask with Vitamin C will help even your skin tone, neutralizing discolorations from the sun, or the remnants of pesky acne blemishes.
Bio-engineered Masks: Best for Sensitive Skin
For her patients with sensitive skin, Lauren Meshkov Bonati, M.D.,Opens a New Window. of Edwards, CO, recommends a high-grade mask specifically engineered to calm and soothe the skin—whether it’s naturally sensitive or just momentarily (following a laser treatment or even a shave). These are great because other masks can be overdrying, or just designed for oily skin. Bonati recommends: SkinCeuticals Biocellulose Restorative Face MaskOpens a New Window.. “It’s especially great for reducing discomfort and heat experienced post-laser treatment, but can also be used to simply hydrate and protect delicate skin.”
Clay Masks: Best for Oily Skin
Dhaval BhanusaliOpens a New Window., M.D., of New York City favors clay masks (like kaolin), applied twice a week to control oil production and shine. You should still follow each application with a moisturizer, however, to reinvigorate and hydrate your skin.
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Salicylic Acid Masks: Best for Acne-prone Skin
For his patients who breakout easily, Bhanusali suggests masks with salicylic acid. (It’s not as caustic as it sounds—the opposite in fact.) Salicylic acid decreases oil production, since the ingredient can dissolve dead skin cells and further prevent clogged pores. Dr. Bhanusali recommends: Yes To Tomatoes Clear Skin Acne Fighting Sheet MaskOpens a New Window., because it has anti-inflammatory properties and ingredients, to counter any overdrying and redness (in the rare event it should occur).
Hyaluronic Acid Masks: Best for Dry Skin
Look for another acidic ingredient if it’s dry skin you’re treating. (Yes, you can still do a mask if you’re prone to dryness.) Dr. Amy SpizuocoOpens a New Window. of New York City says hyaluronic acid while be the most nourishing and moisturizing of your options.
Hybrid Masks: Best for a Faster Regimen
Cleanse, moisturize, exfoliate… What’s the order of operation for a full skincare regimen? Alexander Dane, M.D.,Opens a New Window. of Morristown, NJ, thinks it’s best to find a mask that does all three, and to cycle it into rotation once a week after cleansing. Dane recommends: Avène Cleanance MaskOpens a New Window.: “It’s a clay mask that turns into a scrub and contains glycolic and salicylic acid as well as biodegradable beads that help exfoliate the skin,” Dane says. “It also contains zinc gluconate that soothes irritation and redness, improving your complexion.”
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Clarifying masks: Best for Optimizing Your Skincare Regimen
Onyeka Obioha, M.D.,Opens a New Window. of Beverly Hills, CA, tells her patients to invest in a skin-clarifying mask—that is, one that focuses on “clearing the canvas” so you can start with a healthy, fresh slate for other products to work more effectively. This straightforward kind of mask should deep-clean the pores, balance oil production, and leave your skin feeling smooth and hydrated. “I love (clarifying masks) with anti-inflammatory properties, such as turmeric,” she says.
2-in-1 Masks: Best for Same-Day Events
In general, if you have an event and need to look like your most handsome and alert self, then try a back-to-back application of two types of masks (one to soak up impurities and the other to deeply hydrate and restore your skin). For the latter, Dr. Sarkar likes to find hydrating masks with serum, since it can deeply penetrate the skin and thus brighten and even out your complexion. You’ll be camera- or date-ready on the spot.