How Do Facial Masks Work on The Skin?

Facial masks can be a great addition to skincare routines. They fulfill cosmetic purposes and some even serve as treatments for certain skin diseases.
How Do Facial Masks Work on The Skin?

Last update: 04 December, 2020

Facial masks have gained popularity when it comes to daily skincare routines. The great number of uses and variants make them a very attractive option for taking care of your skin.

On the market, you can find clay masks, carbon masks, hyaluronic acid masks, masks with enzymes, or just moisturizers. Therefore, you can choose according to the needs of your skin.

Below, we’ll tell you how they work.

How are nutrients absorbed into the skin?

Face masks are very useful when you make them part of your skincare routine. However, it’s important to note that, on their own, they don’t produce any major changes that will last over time.

The basic pillars of dermatological care are cleaning, sun protection, and hydration. Skin masks fulfill their functionality based on their ingredients. At the same time, you need to combine them with the proper cleaning of the skin beforehand. What’s more, you must moisturize your skin afterward.

Applying facial masks accentuates the direct contact of the ingredients with the skin’s surface. The pores are clean and the skin absorbs more product. They can generate an immediate effect which you notice when it comes to the luminosity and brightness of your skin.

However, this is only temporary, which is why you must make facial masks a regular part of your skincare routine.

A man using a charcoal facial mask.
Facial masks act due to the time of contact with the skin, but you must repeat their application to maintain the effects over time.

What masks can you apply to your skin?

Before putting a mask on your skin, you should clean your face gently to remove any makeup, dirt, or residue. Micellar water is a good ally when it comes to performing this step before application.

After cleaning with micellar water, you should rinse your face with warm water, which will allow the pores to remain more permeable. Therefore, your skin will absorb the ingredients more easily.

In most cases, you should leave the product in contact with your skin for a period of 20 to 30 minutes. This gives the ingredients more time to penetrate the skin’s surface and achieve their effect.

Masks according to skin type

When choosing a mask, you should take into account the results you want to obtain. You’ll need to select the ingredients according to your skin type and adapt them to address your specific concerns.

Dehydrated skin

Dry skin requires considerable hydration, so this type of cosmetic treatment is very useful. Keep in mind that people with dry skin should apply moisturizing facial masks every 2 weeks. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, avocado, or shea butter contribute to hydration and water retention.

Acne or inflammation

Facial skin masks are not long-term acne treatment. However, they can help reduce inflammation and prevent acute breakouts.

Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) remove dead cells from the skin’s surface and pore-clogging debris. Regarding the latter, research shows a positive effect on acne scars.

Oily skin

For this type of skin, the best products are those that remove excess oil and therefore increase the permeability of pores. Some of the products that provide benefits for oily skin are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, sulfur, and charcoal.

Fine wrinkles

Masks don’t completely eliminate mild wrinkles from your face. However, they can help minimize the appearance of fine lines. Experts recommend Vitamin C for this type of skin because of its great antioxidant potential. In turn, it generates a constant stimulus for the production of collagen.

Vitamin E is also an effective anti-aging option, along with resveratrol and ferulic acid. Both work to protect the skin from external agents that cause fine wrinkles, such as pollution and sun damage.


Niacinamide has antioxidant properties, reduces erythema, and improves skin tone. In fact, according to studies conducted by The British Journal of Dermatology, it contributes to the inhibition of oxidative processes.

Spots and hyperpigmentation

You won’t observe immediate results when it comes to this type of pathology. Therefore, the use of facial masks complements depigmentation treatments. The most useful ingredients, in this case, are kojic acid, tranexamic acid, and azelaic acid.

A woman at a spa recieving a faciel treatment.
Each type of skin should be treated according to the corresponding ingredients.

Caution with skin mask ingredients

Many facial masks are attractive in their aesthetic and sensory aspect. However, they don’t all manage to fulfill the functions they claim to offer. You have to be careful not to fall for commercial hoaxes.

Those containing fragrances, dyes, or parabens can be harmful to the skin, especially for the most sensitive cases. It’s best to read the labels and analyze their composition to avoid these products and opt for the hypoallergenic ones.

Homemade masks can be safe and effective, as long as you’re aware of the ingredients that you should and shouldn’t use. Due to their harmful effects, it’s preferable to avoid the following:

  • Lemon: Like vinegar, lemon is an acidic product that produces residual pigmentation and irritation.
  • Egg white: This can cause skin infections, even more so if you have active wounds.
  • Sodium bicarbonate: This substance has high levels of alkalinity that destroy the skin barrier, causing it to lose its own moisture.

Facial masks as a complement to your skincare routine

Facial masks complement a good dermatological care routine. Along with cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection, they’re great allies you should use to improve the texture and appearance of your skin.

Remember that the price doesn’t always indicate the quality or effectiveness of the product, so keep this in mind when choosing facial masks.

However, the best thing you can do is identify the characteristics and needs of your skin. That way, you’ll be able to choose the right product for you and enjoy maximum effectiveness.

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