What You Need to Know About What Peel-Off Masks Are Really Doing to Your Skin

Peel-off masks deliver some serious satisfaction when it comes time for removal and have taken the social media world by storm, but are they as effective as their traditional slather-on, rinse-off counterparts? According to Delray Beach, FL, dermatologist Janet Allenby, MD, it’s largely up to the mask’s ingredients to really decide how helpful it will be.

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“Placing an occlusive barrier on the skin (precisely what occurs when using a peel-off mask) will enhance penetration of these ingredients, which may be great if it is what the person needs, but if someone with sensitive skin uses a mask designed to fight acne, it may cause too much irritation and cause problems,” Dr. Allenby explains, adding that hydrating masks are usually the safest bet for all skin types and can create a nice glow. “As skin ages and is damaged by environmental elements or diseases (acne or eczema, for example) the skin loses its barrier function, so these can really help.”

As for the act of removing or peeling the mask off the skin, it’s pretty safe to chalk it up as a ploy to trick consumers into purchasing the product as it provides no additional benefits to our skin, only making us feel like we’re eradicating blackheads, dead skin and dullness right before our eyes (true story). The good news, however, is that the peeling action won’t cause any harm (unless you’re this girl): Dr. Allenby says that if the mask can be pulled off relatively easily, it’s most likely not going to cause any harm or stretching issue to healthy skin do to skin’s elasticity. However, if you have sensitive skin, try to avoid these masks as they can be a bit abrasive when you remove them and rinsing off with water is much more gentle. 

So while peel-off masks aren’t bad for your skin, they generally don’t provide any extra benefits your traditional face masks can’t offer, either. No matter which formulation you choose, look for ingredients on the bottle or jar that work with your skin type for the best results. 

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