14 Face Masks Top Dermatologists Actually Use
Face masks have always been a staple in any good skin care regimen, but they’ve absolutely taken the main stage within the last year. From a variety of formulations and textures—think bubbling masks and even dry masks to sheets masks and overnight offerings—choosing just one can be overwhelming. To make the decision process a little bit easier, we reached out to some of the top dermatologists in the country and asked what their must-have is, which in our book, is the ultimate seal of approval.
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“Hyaluronic acid is the active ingredient in this mask, which is great for hydrating, and the price is right,” says Beverly Hills, CA dermatologist Rhonda Rand, MD. “I get samples of a lot of hydrating products, but when it comes to masks, this one leaves my skin incredibly dewy, moist and soft.”
“Although I usually rely on my own probiotic DIY mask recipes (using fermented ingredients like yogurt and kefir) this mask is a nice alternative for nights when I'm short on time,” says New York dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, Whitney Bowe, MD. “It’s infused with probiotic-derived bioactives, or PDBs, which are molecules secreted by probiotics that promote healthy skin.” She also notes that they work to enhance the skin's innate immune function, calm inflammation and encourage the skin to go into repair mode. “I'm all about nurturing my ‘good bug,’" and I like using this mask because it brightens my skin and soothes it at the same time.”
“It infuses hydropeptides to help relax muscles," says New York dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD, of these cooling, refreshing under-eye patches. "The soothing properties make them great for pre-event prep or photos and even if you have a sinus headache."
“It’s one easy, luxurious and relatively inexpensive way you can get smaller-looking pores,” explains Norwell, MA dermatologist Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD. New York dermatologist Ritu Saini, MD adds that this is one of her favorites, too. “It contains green tea and peptides for antioxidant protection, fruit enzymes for exfoliation and hyaluronic acid for hydration. I also love that it’s paraben-, phthalate- and sulfate-free.”
“One of the at-home tips I give to my patients with oily skin is to use a cleanser with salicylic acid, which this cleanser contains, as a mask twice a week,” says Miami dermatologist S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD. “This cleanser is formulated exactly for that, and delivers very effectively on the claims in its name.”
“The winter months can take a toll on my skin, often leaving me looking blotchy, red and dry,” says New York dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD. "This mask helps address all the redness and dryness when I’m on the go. It’s loaded with chamomile and aloe vera, two powerful botanical anti-inflammatories, as the soft bamboo mask infuses my skin with much-needed hydration thanks to vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid." As for her pro trick for boosting your mask's power: "Try applying it after a warm shower to get the most radiant results!”
"I started using this mask recently and love it,” says Chicago dermatologist Dr. Quenby Erickson, noting that the detoxifying scrub-mask features clay to absorb impurities, biodegradable jojoba beads to gently exfoliate your skin, and coconut and botanical complexes to provide hydration. "The skin feels luxuriously soft and silky afterward."
“I have been using masks from Asia for many years now, even before the trend started in America,” says New York dermatologist Yunyoung Claire Chang, MD. “This ons is great for easy and affordable daily use." She also notes that masks shouldn't substitute your regular skin care products, but instead add to their effects.
“I seriously can’t live without this,” says Washington, DC dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD of this "topical filler" she uses as a mask under her eyes every night. "The formulation is unique because it contains a variation of small molecular hyaluronic gel particles and large ones, so it can penetrate the top layers of skin and form a seal over the skin to lock in the moisture overnight. We have Fillerina Grade 3 ($140) here in the office because I think it’s the perfect ratio of small-to-large molecular weight hyaluronic gel.”
June Jacobs Redness Diffusing Masque ($56)
Dr. Jegasothy says this mask is great for calming irritated skin or a complexion that's super tender. "It's especially good after in-office treatments that leaves the skin a little sensitive."
“This is my favorite mask because it features technology that comes from wound-healing science,” explains Dr. Waldorf. “Apply it for 40 minutes to absorb the 30 ccs of hyaluronic acid plus active ingredients for nongreasy moisture," she says. "They’re easy to apply and keep on while reading, drinking coffee, etc.—I can even put my glasses over them without mess!”
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque ($54)
New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD says she loves this mask because it has hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5, which are both excellent for hydrating and healing skin. “This is an especially outstanding formulation that feels great from the moment I apply it to my skin and leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and well hydrated. It gives me confidence that the products I apply afterward will be better absorbed and more effective. I use it once a week.”
“It sounds pretty gross, but I love the glow I get from using a snail mucin mask, particularly this one,” says Willowbrook, IL dermatologist Jessie Cheung, MD. “Snail mucin has exploded onto the scene in Asia and is a popular ingredient in the K-beauty sheet mask craze. The goop provides intense hydration and is soothing—I test a lot of skin care products and lasers, and will throw a snail sheet mask on my face when I need a break. I usually get a lot of compliments on my glowing skin the next day!”