Five facial masks for flawless skin
Skin Care MattersSunday, May 14, 2017
with Michelle Vernon
Nothing beats a good facial, right? But even more so, nothing beats a good mask.
Masks are most commonly used as the last step in a facial protocol to deliver vital nutrients, rehydrate, exfoliate, and/or purify the skin. Check out my top five types of mask that my clients love.
1. Light therapy mask
LED (light emitting diode) therapy is the new rave in skincare. Most light therapy comes with a variation of light colours and wavelengths which are unique in the effects they have on the skin.
Red light (620-750nm): It will stimulate the growth of collagen. Collagen is an essential protein that is used to repair damaged tissues and to repair the old tissues. It can remove fine line and shrink pores.
Blue light (476-795nm): Bacteria in acne contains porphyrins. Because of the high affinity with wavelength, the blue light is able to kill porphyrins. In addition, the blue light has calm action which is very effective for hypersensitivity.
Green light (495-570nm): The green light can balance the colour pigment and reduce fine lines, improve ageing skin and speed up the healing process of
a wound while lightening the skin.
Purple light (380-450nm): It combines red light and blue light, which has two phototherapy effects. It particularly has a good effect on repairing acne.
Yellow light (570-590nm): It can improve the exchange of oxygen in the cells to the skin cells to replenish their energy, decomposing pigment, promoting lymphatic drainage, improving wrinkles and rough skin.
2. Sheet masks
Sheet masks have been widely used in Korea for ages. The sheets allow for better penetration of the active ingredients into the skin with its occlusive action. They are face-shaped masks that are easily applied and left on the skin for product absorption. They are usually left on for about 10 to 20 minutes
Sheet masks are soaked with beneficial ingredients such as hydrolysed collagen, hyaluronic acid, skin-lightening agents, vitamins and/or minerals. Hydrolysed collagen is probably the most widely known. It rejuvenates skin, gives an immediate glow and plumps the skin. These particles are broken down to amino acids that aid in maintaining and rebuilding healthy proteins in the skin, but do not replace lost collagen.
There are several types of sheets used. Bio-cellulose masks are hydrophilic, meaning they love water, so are especially good for hydrating the skin. They adhere to the skin nicely and don't dry out, allowing for better product absorption. Bio-cellulose is also used as an occlusive dressing in medicine to heal and soothe burns.
Hydro-gel masks, also hydrophilic, blend serums with gelatin to create a thin, cooling film that is hydrating and occlusive, but are thinner and can tear more easily.
Non-woven fibre masks are less expensive, but can dry out quickly and do not adhere to the face as well. Sheet masks are a great add-on to a facial, especially for the immediate gratification effect.
3. Molding masks
Molding masks, for the most part, can be used on all skin types and conditions and are typically infused with functional ingredients such as alginate, seaweed, vitamin C, pearl powder, gold minerals, etc. Inflammation, acne and post-peel clients can benefit greatly from the soothing, healing and cooling properties associated with these masks.
Packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, alginate promotes blood circulation, reduces redness and creates a lifting effect. Seaweed is anti-inflammatory and increases skin's metabolism. Vitamin C is a natural skin brightener as well as pearl powder, which has more concentrated minerals for skin lightening.
Gold minerals have soothing, tightening and anti-ageing benefits. A major benefit of molding masks is the ability to lock in moisture and promote product penetration. They come in a powder form and are mixed with water, turning it into a rubber-like consistency. The mask is applied to the entire face with a large spatula (even the lips and eyes can be covered) and left to dry for 10 to 20 minutes while molding to the shape of the face. Once dry, it can be easily lifted off, leaving the skin looking more vibrant and refreshed.
4. Enzyme masks
Enzyme masks are mainly used for exfoliation, skin brightening and cell turnover. They can range from mild to strong, depending on the ingredients and the amount of activity they create when in contact with the skin.
Fruit and vegetable enzymes are good for all skin types, but they have varying properties. Some are better for dry, sensitive skin, while others are better for thick, oily skin.
Papaya (papain) is probably the most commonly used since it is gentle and delivers antioxidants while brightening the skin. It is most commonly used for dry, sensitive, dull, and photo-damaged skin.
Pineapple (bromelain) contains high amounts of vitamin C and works well to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Pumpkin enzymes can be more potent as they contain natural levels of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, breaking apart bonds that anchor cells together to allow for a deeper exfoliation. Pumpkin also contains potent antioxidants including beta-carotene — a derivative of vitamin A.
5. Mud masks
Everyone needs a good mud mask every now and then. There are several types of mud masks used to absorb excess sebum, draw out impurities and fight breakouts. The most commonly used mud masks include minerals such as clay, bentonite and/or kaolin. These ingredients have the ability to naturally detoxify the skin and are antibacterial. They can also micro-exfoliate, meaning they attach to dead skin cells, leaving the surface of the skin softer and smoother. Clay has been used in skincare since ancient times.
Bentonite, one of the most commonly used clay bases, was discovered in rock formations and was soon after being used to purify and rejuvenate that skin. Mud masks became popular when people started bathing in the Dead Sea and appreciated benefits including softer, more vibrant skin.
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