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What Are Face Masks Effective For?

What Are Face Masks Effective For? What Are Face Masks Effective For?

Face masks are traditionally perceived as a spa treatment paired with the stereotypical cucumber-slices-over-the-eyes. But don't let the spa have all the fun when many over-the-counter mask products are designed to let you use them at home. Depending on their formulation and their ingredients, face masks can be effective at treating several common skin conditions.

Absorbing Oil

Many face masks are formulated with clay, reports skincare expert Paula Begoun, who tests dozens of these products. She says these help to suck up excess oil on your skin due to the clay's absorbent nature. Additionally, the contracting nature of the clay can help pull and lift dirt and other debris out of your pores as the mask dries.


Some facial masks are made with emollients and other moisturizers instead of the traditional dehydrating clay. Such emollients hydrate and soften your skin, according to Diane Berson, a dermatologist writing for Oprah's "O" magazine. Begoun says these masks carry "benefit for dry skin" to help address dryness and replenish your skin's natural moisture barrier.


Some masks are intended to help slough off dead skin cells. After using the mask, you'll reveal newer skin cells that may be softer and less damaged than the surface cells. For example, "Real Simple" magazine says some of the best face masks contain beta hydroxy acid or alpha hydroxy acids, which accelerate skin cell turnover. Other facial masks contain physical granules such as ground apricot kernels to help scrub away dead skin as you rub the mask off.

Acne Treatment

Some clay-based masks work well for treating acne, reports Begoun. This is because they may help to absorb excess oil that might clog your pores and may also contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. This combination helps clear your skin and ensure a blemish-free complexion, especially when used on conjunction with traditional acne medications.

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