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About Face Masks and Their Effect On Skin

Face masks are life’s little pleasures. They will never be as important as proper skin cleansing, consistent daily care or adding a serum into the skincare routine. We can sometimes even forget that they exist, and thus, in comparison, using a mask is like indulging in champagne on an exquisite afternoon or feeling relieved after unbuttoning your high waist trousers. A mask is something that you don’t use daily but it can totally change your day! Emphasis on „can change“. But will it actually change? Maybe the brain plays tricks on us because normally, before putting on a face mask, we turn our home into a small spa: candles, favourite music, a hugging bathrobe, a good drink. In a comfortable environment, we are naturally less critically minded. But if you were in a different setting, would you believe that ashes minimize the pores, that mud makes the skin glow and that algae are a really eager smoothing agent? Let’s have a closer look at it.

Masks are divided into:
creamy masks
gel masks
sheet masks
clay masks
peat and mud masks
exfoliating masks
night masks
texture changing masks

First, let’s see which type of mask is suitable with which type of skin:

Exfoliating masks are suitable for every skin type, especially for a mature and uneven skin tone.
Peat and mud masks are suitable for an unclean and problematic skin that needs to be boosted and nurtured.
Clay masks are suitable for oily and unclean skin.
Creamy masks are well suited to nourish dry, dehydrated and coarse skin.
Night masks are similar to creamy masks and are suitable for dry skin.
Sheet masks and gel masks aresimilar as the sheets are normally also saturated with a gel, and meant to cool and refresh every skin type.
Texture changing masks (gel turns into foam) that provide a quick effect are suitable for every skin type to eliminate signs of tiredness.

The job of a face mask is to quickly nourish and boost the skin, to resolve a certain issue and provide a visible result. That can happen when the mask’s ingredients include efficient active particles, and their concentration is bigger than in a cream. You must really choose the mask according to your skin type and the desired result. An example – clay mask is not good on thin, sensitized and dehydrated skin, sensitive skin may get red and stingy because of the acid-rich mask.

I have a feeling that face masks are not used very often because of the common conception that it is too much hassle, there are many rules to follow, and being scared of making mistakes. Don’t be afraid! Nothing can go very wrong – when the product is not suitable for you, the skin will let you know about it by triggering the itching or stinging sensation. Here is some general advice to simplify the matter at hand.

Masks have different exposure and removal times. One common rule is that any type of mask should be washed off. Yes, sometimes it is recommended to leave cream masks and night masks on the skin but to my mind, every mask leaves a layer on the skin, and to apply a cream on it or put make-up on it… brrrr… I have tried just for the sake of experimenting, but no.

The second rule is that regardless of the mask type, you don’t need to keep it on the skin for more than 10 minutes. Naturally, you can rely on the time specified on the package but, in general, 10 minutes is enough for the active ingredients to absorb. I recommend to apply clay, peat and mud masks on moist skin and rather apply more of it than less (the skin should not be visible from underneath), and you should wash it off before the mask gets completely dry. A naturally active mask may leave your skin red or give a burning sensation when allowing it to dry out completely. Rather, it is wiser to spray it with (facial)water and keep the mask slightly moist.

Exfoliating masks need to be removed before the end of their exposure time in case you get very red or have a strong itching/stinging sensation. You may and even need to exfoliate absolutely every skin type, just monitor the frequency and mask exposure time. I recently wrote a thorough article on the necessity to exfoliate skin and about different types of exfoliators. That article can be found here:

I would also like to give some tips on the components you should be looking for in a mask.

Hyaluronic acid – a compound inherent to the skin which concentration in skin diminishes over time. Hyaluronic acidhelps to bind water, it never causes skin irritations, and when the moisture level in skin is increased, the skin becomes “fuller” as if filled from the inside. Amazing! If I could, I would swim in hyaluronic acid every day :-) More information about hyaluronic acid can be found here:

Both D’DIFFERENCE face masks include hyaluronic acid: 5D Rejuvenating Mask and 5D Golden Beauty Mask.

Acids and enzymes – The world of acids and enzymes is broad and very exciting! Generally, acids are divided into AHA- and BHA-acids. AHA-acids have the biggest effect on ageing and dry skin with low moisture levelsBHA-acids are best suited for oily skin with wide pores and acne or pimples from time to time. Exfoliating skin is essential for every skin type. When using acids, you NEED to use SPF products after exfoliating, and thus in summer, it is wise to exfoliate skin in the evenings. Note that skin is more sensitive to the sun after using glycolic acid.

There are two face exfoliators/masks and one body peel in the D’DIFFERENCE series:
4D Delicate Smoothing Exfoliator is a face exfoliator with beads and acids suitable for every skin type, including sensitive skin.
5D Firming Faceglow Peel has acids and algae extract, a firming face exfoliator without beads for dry skin with signs of aging. 
5D Firming Bodyglow Peel is a firming body peel with acids, algae extract and beads, suitable for every skin type.

Peat, mud, and clay – I have arranged the natural active ingredients according to their activity and efficiency. The most powerful of them is peat that is rich in humic acid. After using a peat mask, the skin is very clean, clear and fresh. Often also pinkish or even red in worst cases. It is important to know how to use the mask, we spoke about that before. Several manufacturers have been experimenting with peat for years. Turbliss has the most holistic choice of peat masks.
Clay and mud masks are less active and they dry out the skin more than peat. I recommend them in case you have oily skin, and also for the oily areas in case of mixed skin.

Vitamin C – a very strong antioxidant that makes the complexion clear and stimulates collagen production. In case you have uneven skin tone and pigmentation spots, „raid“ the stores and find masks, serums, and essences with vitamin C.

Algae extract – a very interesting component that makes the pores tighter, visibly. Skin becomes smooth, and it provides a tender sensation of lifting your face into a smile, a firming effect to be more precise. Furcellaria lumbricalis is the Baltic Sea red algae extract that is included in the D’DIFFERENCE 5D face and body peels as well as in the face serum 5D Smoothing Serum.

Oils – for example, olive, jojoba, avocado or babassu oil. Oils make the skin soft and support its natural protective barrier. Especially efficient in masks that are meant to restore and balance dry and rough skin.

Now, a bit more about sheet masks and components that don’t contribute much to a mask. Raise your hand if you truly like using sheet masks. The packaging is crazy attractive and the titles so extravagant that completely sweep you off your feet, right? But after opening the package, you often discover that the product is exactly the same as the ones you have used already before. All that untangling, getting the eye and mouth holes in the right spots is an accomplishment in itself. Often you cannot do anything when the mask is on as the sheets are heavy and dripping, and you need to lie down during the entire time. Lay down. For half an hour, because not much of the mask is absorbed before that time.
Although sheet masks were among the La Prairie, Juvena and Talika selection already 15 years ago, the current sheet mask invasion is massive and is flowing in from Asia. The prices vary between 1 and 5€, and although I am not here to say that the price determines the product’s quality, but still, for 1-5€ you get a product which consists of components like water, glycerin, propylene glycol, PEG agents, etc. Many bulk agents, a few actives…

Friends – snail mucus doesn’t make you young and a 2€ mask doesn’t contain real gold; caviar works better when administered internally than when applying it on skinCollagen and elastin are not absorbed in the skin and don’t provide a firming effect. Themolecules are too big for that. Components that work in skincare products are the ones that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, not the ingredients themselves. I can say honestly that I have tried a large number of sheet masks together with our chemists because we wanted to initiate our own production. We let go of that plan because regardless of the materials and active particles, we didn’t find a single sheet mask that would do more than simply make the skin soft.

In conclusion:

  1. Choose a mask that is suitable for your skin type.
  2. Choose a mask according to the result you desire.
  3. Don’t worry too much about how to use it or for how long to keep it on – if you avoid the eye area and keep the mask on for max 10 minutes, you have made a safe choice.
  4. After the end of exposure time, wash the mask off and apply a serum and a face cream. Then make-up and voilà, you are ready to conquer the town!

Author of the article: Carmen Kibur, D’DIFFERENCE Brand Manager

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