March 25, 2015

What do masks do? Part 2



Last week I talked about a few of the types of masks used in clearing Adult Acne to calm, soothe, heal and purify.  Having gone over Clay and Gel Masks, this week I’m concluding Mask Madness Month with an overview of Cream and Exfoliating Masks, as well as some of the other types of masks you may have come across.

Some of these other masks are quite fun to use. There are masks that are packaged in thin sheets with holes for eyes, nose and mouth, and are placed onto the face and wet with water to adhere to the skin, and then removed after 15-20 minutes.  These masks provide super hydration and plumping, and are often a part of a professional facial, although I’ve seen places where they’re sold for home use as well.  In addition, there are firming masks, usually made of things like aloe and egg white, that tighten the skin temporarily, reducing wrinkles and sagging for a night on the town. 

A favorite of mine, that happens to be professional only, is a type called an Alginate Mask, which is applied in a super-thick, gooey consistency, dries like rubber, and then lifted off in one piece.  Cool, huh ?  Given this description, you can see why it would be very difficult if not impossible to apply this mask by yourself.  I use this to calm the skin after extractions, or when I want deep penetration of special treatment serums.

So, what about the Cream and Exfoliating types of masks I mentioned that are more typically used at home like the Clay and Gel masks I spoke of last week?  

Let’s see what they’re all about.

Exfoliating Mask
I must confess – I have never used a honey mask that peels off, nor have I ever used one on my clients.  But I do use quite extensively an exfoliating gel mask that can be rubbed off by a method known in the Esthetics world as a “Gommage” technique.  Say, Go-Mah-jjjjj…. Reminiscent of rubber cement, this mask can be left on until just barely dry, then gently rubbed off into the sink before rinsing off the remainder, in order to manually exfoliate the skin (sometimes this kind of mask comes in a cream or clay consistency rather than a gel).  The cool part is that this type of mask usually contains fruit enzymes that break apart the proteins of dead skin cells, removing far more of them than you would with a grainy scrub alone.  In fact, IMHO, any gommage mask that does not contain fruit enzymes is a waste of batteries.  The greatest thing about it is that having been turned into what is essentially a gentle scrub by being rubbed off, this type of mask exfoliates twice – once by breaking apart dead skin cells, and then by scrubbing them away.  It is for this reason that a more sensitive skin can still benefit from this enzyme action without having to rub the mask off.  Just rinsing is just fine.

Product Spotlight :
Daniela’s BHA/Enzyme Peel

This is a very special mask.  It contains enzymes from Pomegranate and Pumpkin, two protein dissolvers that are a bit stronger than the usual Papaya and Pineapple found in most enzyme exfoliating products on the market, and Betaine Salicylate, the kinder, gentler form of Salicylic Acid derived from Sugar Beet.  I have the vast majority of my Adult Acne clients using this right before either the Zinc and Sulphur Mask or the Purifying Comfort Mask, depending on the type of acne they have.


Cream Mask
Considering what Cream Masks look and feel like, it’s natural to wonder what the difference is between a cream mask and just taking a thick moisturizer and slapping it in huge amounts all over the face and leaving it on in the same way.  There is indeed a substantial difference – their respective delivery systems.  Cream masks contain ingredients that ensure the skin is saturated and covered completely, in order to quickly deliver hydrating, soothing and smoothing properties in a short amount of time for rapid relief.  Moisturizing lotions and creams for daily use have delivery systems designed to work over time, with ingredients that allow for more even and comfortable spread-ability for ease of application.  It can happen that a moisturizer (such as this one sold in my web store) is formulated to be applied thinly for daily moisturizer and liberally for a hydrating mask. But most moisturizers either dehydrate the skin when applied this way (if there are too many of a class of ingredients that mix oil and water together, called Emulsifiers), or would be wasteful because their delivery systems do not allow for the saturation needed for a treatment mask.  So, if your skin is especially parched, has dry patches, or just needs some relief from general dryness on a weekly basis, a designated Cream Mask is the way to go.  

It should be noted that the vast majority of the time, cream masks are not appropriate for acne-prone skin, since they most often contain pore clogging ingredients that are fine for everyone else.  Remember - if your skin is clog-prone, gets oily at all, and even has large pores, any dryness you experience is dehydration.  You don't have the kind of dry skin that is addressed by a cream mask!  Professional consultation is urged.



As you can see, there are many different types of masks to choose from, each of them with their own amazing benefits and qualities, lending a most helpful hand to the clearing of Adult Acne.  Now you can see why I’m so crazy about them and why I insist that all my clients use at least one!

If the descriptions of the masks I just talked about here are not enough to get you going, please contact me for more individualized attention. 

If you’re ready to go for it, you’ll receive a special gift for your purchase of mask from now until April 1st, 2015; a fan mask brush and a try-me size of my powerful Salicylic Acid spot treatment, along with a Dixie cup so that you can master the Ice Therapy Spot Treatment technique I talked about a few weeks ago.  If you have drier or more sensitive skin, you’ll receive a try-me size of a hydrating booster instead.


Want to get 10% off your purchase at my webstore? Pin this blog post to any one of your Pinterest boards by pinning any one of the photos above, and email the link from your board of the pinned post along with a question about your adult acne, Rosacea or sensitivity problem. You will get a personalized discount code along with a detailed answer to your question.  Happy Pinning!