Caring for Your Skin At Home: Masks

I consider the mask the heart of the facial.  Whether it is a hydrating gel mask, a detoxifying oil absorbing clay mask, or an antioxidant rich aging with attitude mask these treatments are the crux to helping treat your skin.  The ingredients in most masks deliver high concentrations of active ingredients.  But just as I have discussed in other posts, it is of the utmost importance that you choose the right mask for your unique skin conditions and to use the mask you choose correctly.

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Many people think  a mask means something clay based that drys and makes the skin feel tight.  This is never how a mask should be used and not all skin conditions benefit from a clay based masked.   And even if they do, it depends on the type of clay.  Each clay has a different property and purpose.  Below I will discuss the different types of masks, which skin conditions they are best for and how to use them properly.  If you are unsure what your skin type is or you are still uncertain how best to care for your skin, check with your Esthetician, or I invite you to sign up for an online consultation with me.

To start, always apply the mask on clean skin.  If you are using a gel or cream based mask it is best to first exfoliate so that the mask will be able to penetrate and give much better results.  Masking is not something that should be rushed, give the mask the time it needs to work, usually 15-20 minutes.  After you gently remove the mask apply your toner, serum and moisturizer or just moisturizer if you do not use the other two products.

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If your skin in dehydrated or dry it is best to use a gel or cream based mask.  Keep in mind that if you have never masked before or if your skin is extremely dehydrated or dry the mask may cause some tingling or stinging.  If this should happen after a few minutes remove with cool water and then apply your moisturizer.  The next day make sure you moisturize morning and night and drink lots of water.  Then on the day after try the mask again.  Eventually your skin should accept the mask.

As for clay based mask, as I mentioned above, each clay has properties that make it beneficial for different skin types.  However, which ever clay mask you choose it is important that you never allow the clay to dry fully.  After about 3-5 minutes you should either continually mist the mask with water or apply a damp wash cloth over your face.  While the mask is still damp it allows the minerals to penetrate, as it dries it draws out toxins but if it gets too dry it will cause dehydration and irritation.  After 15 minutes, gently remove the mask. Follow with the rest of your skin care products:  toner, serum, moisturizer.

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French Green Clay is best for oily skin.  It absorbs oils and impurities.  It is also a mild exfoliator and stimulates blood flow.

Kaolin Clay is often white in color but can range in color depending on its combination with other elements.  It is the  mildest of all the clays and it adsorbs impurities without removing the skins natural oils, making it great for dry and sensitive skin types. .  It stimulates circulation to the skin while gently exfoliating and cleansing.

Rhassoul or Morrocan Red Clay is good for all skin types.  It is extremely absorbent and good for detoxifying the skin. It has been shown to improve skin's elasticity, clear clogged pores, stimulate circulation, reduces flakiness, remove dead skin cells and improves the texture and appearance of the skin. 

Fullers Earth Clay is used as a skin-lightening agent made up mostly of volcanic ash. This clay is a strong absorbent and is good for drawing excess oils from the skin and stimulating circulation to the skin.

There are other types of clay, far too many to discuss in this post.  In addition there are many ingredients to add to clay or to use separately such as colloidal oats to calm sensitive skin, charcoal powder to detoxify, honey, many herbs and extracts.  

It’s important to find a great mask your skin needs to replenish nutrients and lost hydration or to absorb excess oil and remove toxins.  Always read the ingredients and don’t be fooled by the big marketing hype or label claims.

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