Hello everyone, your friendly neighborhood Esthetician here to ruin yet another viral beauty trend. I’m gonna cut straight to the chase- those black peel off masks you’re seeing everywhere? STOP USING THEM! Or if you’ve been interested in trying them, DON’T DO IT! Why is this? you say…. Well, I’m glad you asked:
You’re stretching your pores.
Those peel-off masks contain ingredients that allow them to adhere to the skin so they require you to peel them off. Because you’re pulling on the mask, and ultimately your skin, over time your pores will stretch as well. (Kind of like after you’ve used a hair tie a bunch of times, and it’s larger than when you bought it). When you stretch your pores, it not only looks unflattering, but it allows for even more bacteria and gunk to settle into them. Which equals more blackheads, which equals a sad face.
You’re removing a layer of skin that you need.
There’s a reason it HURTS to pull off these face masks. One, because you’re literally ripping all of the vellus hairs (i.e. peach fuzz) out of your face… but also, the first layer of skin (AKA the stratum corneum) is coming off with it. When this layer of skin is not in tact, you risk exposing your skin to other bacteria if you’re not careful after the mask is removed. Essentially, you’re super-exfoliating your skin. Which is not a good thing, if you couldn’t already guess. It also takes about 30 days (give or take) for your skin to repair the damage you’ve done. So sorry to break it to you, but your pain was for nothing. RIP your stratum corneum.
You’re damaging the lipid barrier on your skin.
If you’re not an esthetician, you probably don’t know what a lipid barrier is. Or maybe you do. I really have no idea. But if you don’t already know…. Simply put, it’s the protective barrier that holds all of the important oils and water in your skin. It protects against dryness, dehydration, skin sensitivities, etc. Along with the first layer of skin, you’re also damaging this essential part of your skin’s health. If your skin can’t protect itself against water loss and lubricate itself, you age faster. These are facts.
I know people with oily skin think this mask is a great idea because of the amount of oil and blackheads they’re prone to. But did you know that if you get rid of the good oils your skin needs, that you can cause your sebaceous (oil) glands to over produce, making you even oilier? Ummm hard pass, thanks.
You’re causing capillaries to break.
Capillaries = small blood vessels. Most people have a few broken ones on their face here and there due to sun exposure or even blowing your nose too hard (check around your nostrils, I’m sure you’ll find a few). When these break, it can cause the skin to be more sensitive, but it also brings redness to the face as well. When you tug on the skin that hard to remove these masks, you rupture these capillaries and then they sit close to the surface of your skin, causing that discoloration. Ever heard of color correcting? Redness is usually what we try to avoid.
You’re not removing the entire blackhead.
I know you’ve seen the videos. They’re sooooo satisfying. I get it. I do it for a living, trust me. But what you’re pulling out is only the top part of the blackhead. Which means you’re leaving the bottom part inside your pore to just collect more debris and form yet another blackhead. Very counterproductive, don’t you think?
You could also be removing sebaceous filaments, which are also necessary to protect your skin. Not all oil is bad people!!
Another thing that is extremely troubling to me, is the DIY versions of these kinds of masks. Any idea as to what one of the main ingredients are? Hmmm?
GLUE. IT’S GLUE.
Um, excuse me, but you should not be putting children’s craft supplies into your skincare routine. The glue is obviously used for the adhesive part of the mask, and most DIYers will tell you to use “non-toxic” glue to make it seem less harmful. Yeah, no. Don’t put glue on your face. The fact I even need to explain this is like, blowing my mind.
The one component to this mask that I don’t hate is the charcoal. Charcoal is known to be a great detoxifying ingredient, and other charcoal masks are fantastic for drawing out impurities in the skin. The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment are both masks that contain activated charcoal, and you don’t have to surgically remove your skin to get them off. What a relief.
Anyway, just please avoid these masks. There are so many other ways to remove stubborn blackheads, oil, and uneven texture on the skin. Regular chemical peels, weekly (SAFE) exfoliation, etc. are great places to start. Contact your esthetician or dermatologist to get a thorough skin analysis so you can find a solution that best suits YOU. Always read reviews and do the research before using new and “trendy” products. Protect your skin and treat it well, and it will love you back!!