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Face Masks: Are They Really Beneficial?

Face masks have become a staple in many skincare routines, promising everything from deep hydration to pore-tightening benefits. But with the sheer variety of face masks available on the market—from sheet masks to clay masks, and everything in between—it’s easy to wonder if these products live up to the hype. In this blog, we’ll get expert insights from our dermatologist, Dr. Julie Fridlington, on whether incorporating face masks into your skincare regimen is truly beneficial and how to choose the right ones for your skin type.


What is the purpose of a face mask? 

Dr. Julie Fridlington: Face masks work by covering your face in a specific formulation (depending on skin type and treatment goals) for a set period of time, often 10-20 min. Some face masks are even left on overnight. The goal of a face mask is to allow concentrated ingredients prolonged exposure to the skin for deeper penetration and more absorption. Face masks can be used in a skin care routine to help provide an immediate burst of therapeutic ingredients for improvement in things like dryness, oiliness, and inflammation but need to be combined with other skin care products for longer lasting results.  


Are there specific face mask ingredients to combat certain skin concerns?

Dr. Julie Fridlington: Just like other skin care products, your key concern will determine the type of mask and which ingredients you will be looking for. One thing that is important to remember is that while masks may contain many therapeutic ingredients, they also have the potential to cause irritation, rashes, and sensitivity, especially in patients with naturally sensitive skin. Before you apply a mask, know your skin and check the ingredients list.


Look for key anti-inflammatory ingredients like Alpha Hydroxy Acids (glycolic & lactic acids) Beta Hydroxy Acid (salicylic acid), azelaic acid, sulfur & retinol. These are also ingredients that can help with exfoliation.


Look for soothing ingredients like aloe vera and niacinamide.

Pigmentation/Dark Spots:

Potent antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and resveratrol can help with pigmentation correction as well as skin brightening. Kojic acid, azelaic acid, and licorice root have natural brightening properties in the skin. Exfoliators like salicylic and glycolic acids can help remove dead skin cells and build up to improve luminosity of the skin.  

Oily Skin:

Seek ingredients that can remove excess oil include charcoal, sulfur, clay, glycolic acid and salicylic acid.  

Dry Skin:

For skin in need of serious hydration, look for water loving molecules like hyaluronic acid and ceramides that will help pull moisture into the skin.  

Anti-Aging/Fine Lines:

Look for collagen stimulating molecules like retinol and antioxidants like Vitamin C.& Vitamin E.  

Unfortunately, masks also often come loaded with fragrances, preservatives like parabens, and other irritating substances that can detract from the intended effects and cause irritation and even allergies on the skin. More is not always better when it comes to skin care. A few simple products may be all you need for lasting results. Always remember to look for products that are fragrance free or hypoallergenic when possible.


What at-home ingredients do you recommend for a DIY face mask?

Dr. Julie Fridlington: Fruit enzymes like pineapple and papaya are common “at home” ingredients to help with exfoliation and brightening. Milk and yogurt are lactic acid containing products that can also help with natural exfoliation in a non-irritating way.  Oats, honey, turmeric and coffee are other commonly used household mask agents. Aloe vera is an easy “at home” soothing agent and can be used as a base to add other ingredients.  


Do you have any brands of face masks that are your favorite?

Dr. Julie Fridlington: One of my favorite readily available masks for any skin type to help with hydration is the Neutrogena Moisturizing Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Mask which uses hyaluronic acid to help draw moisture into the skin. To help absorb excess oil on the skin and improve the appearance of pores I like the Revision Pore Purifying Clay Mask. For improvement in acne and blemishes the Proactive Skin Purifying Mask uses sulfur to help heal and prevent breakouts and blemishes.  


How would you rate using skincare face masks on the glow-up scale?

Dr. Julie Fridlington: It is important to note that although a mask may give your skin a temporary boost in hydration, improve hyperpigmentation, and help control breakouts, these results will be best maintained over time with a daily skin care routine that targets your specific concerns. Depending on the type of mask being used, once a week can be effective. Masks can be a great addition to a skin care routine and help create a natural “glow up.”  



To ensure you’re using the best products for your skin type and concerns, we recommend booking an appointment with our dermatologists today to get personalized advice. Take your skincare routine to the next level and visit our website to book an appointment in San Antonio or Bulverde, TX.