Is masking worth it for skin of colour, or should we avoid?
Now, one thing I love about masking is that you’re basically creating an occlusive environment where actives can penetrate without so much transepidermal water loss taking place. And by doing this, you’re creating a healing environment plus actives. At the same time, if you don’t use the correct mask, then you’re also creating an occlusive environment with irritants. And so, these can give you two very different responses to your skin.
So, what I would say is, when you pick the perfect mask, you’re going to get great results. If you pick a mask that has anything in it that’s going to irritate the skin, mainly drying alcohol, so denatured alcohol, fragrance, or essential oils are things that I really don’t like for us, or any comedogenic ingredients. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, then you’re going to make your situation much worse. You don’t want to lead to premature aging, blocked pores, acne, rosacea, or any other conditions that we suffer with.
There are four different types of masks.
So, the first type of masks are cream masks. Cream masks you tend to apply at nighttime and you leave them on overnight. They tend to have powerful humectants in them, such as hyaluronic acid. They also tend to have ceramides in them, and they’re great for aging skin, dry, aging skin, because as we age, don’t forget that we lose ceramides in our skin. So, the one that I’ve been wearing recently and that I absolutely love is Naturium. So, this is the intense overnight sleeping cream. So, as you can see, it is half empty. And you can feel the texture is actually much thicker and you still feel hydrated in the morning. And that really is the difference between a cream mask and a normal moisturizer, because you’re not going to get that same effect. So, I would recommend this if you have dry skin, you’re not acne-prone… so, mainly your issue is dehydrated, dry skin… this is a fantastic cream to purchase as your cream mask, and it has no fragrance in it and no irritants.
Now, gel masks are the second category, and gel masks you tend to wear for about 10 to 15 minutes. So, if any of you have purchased lip packs for lip pigmentation, then you will know in here, we have a product which is for your lip mask. And that is the third step. The second step, rather. So, what this does is it is filled with tyrosinase inhibitors that you leave on for 15 minutes. So, because it’s got a high water content, you can dissolve a lot of actives in it, but it’s a mask form, so you’re forming an occlusive. And so, you’re trapping the ingredients onto the skin so it can’t evaporate.
A mask that I love that you can purchase is from Peter Roth. So, it’s called Water Drench and it’s good for sensitive skin and normal to combination skin. So, I always get asked, “Dr. V, why are you missing out the normal to combination skin?” So, that one is one you can purchase. It’s a fantastic gel-based mask for skin of colour.
The next form of mask that I love are clay masks. So, clay masks, again, you have to be quite careful. The reason you would use a clay mask really is if you have oily, acne-prone skin. So, I tend to wear it when I’m on my period, because that one week before I’m on my period, I just break out, and it’s just, it is monthly struggle. And I’ve actually made a video on how I try to manage it. Literally the week before my period, I will start my acne routine. I’ll switch from my melasma anti-aging routine to my acne routine. And this is the product that I use and I would highly recommend.
So, the way clay works is it helps to absorb any excess oil, and I would also use salicylic acid. So, you might not want this particular product. This is the one that I like. It’s Purifying Clay Mask from Paula’s Choice, and it’s also got antiinflammatories in those, too. It’s got allantoin in it. And I believe… Yeah. It’s got green tea extract in it as well. So, it is very soothing. zinc. And I do feel like it’s very soothing to my skin. Don’t forget, with us, we also get the red marks and the brown marks, and really, we want to nip the red marks in its bud because the quicker we get that inflammation down, the less likely we are to get PIH. That really is the whole trick here is to almost try and prevent the acne in the first place, and if you get the acne, get it under control as quickly as possible.
The next masks I want to talk about are exfoliation masks. Now, what I would say is please avoid glycolic exfoliation masks and also enzyme exfoliation masks, the reason being that with glycolic… I’m talking about more than 5%. You just want to be a bit careful. Less than 5%, I’m okay with you using. It’s not my favorite AHA, as you know. Ha, ha. I get a lot of backlash for that, but I did make a video saying, “Is glycolic acid the devil?” It’s not the devil. It’s just my least favorite AHA. There are better ones. The other one I love is salicylic acid. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, it’s a fantastic leave-on exfoliant as well.
So, I could not find the exfoliant that I wanted. I wanted 5% lactic acid plus 5% mandelic. And so, guess what I did. I just made it myself. Can you write down below yes or no, if you’d like me to release this exfoliant for skin of color? Chemical exfoliant, which is 5% lactic plus 5% mandelic. So, it’s an AHA exfoliant, but with large molecules that don’t burn skin of color, and it’s a leave-on, so I could leave this on for 10, 15, 20 minutes. Then I would wash it off. And then you have a window for your actives. Once you’ve taken that top layer of dead skin off, you then have skin underneath that’s younger, juicer, and you have much better permeability of actives.
So, that is really the time where you want… Whether it’s this one or whichever exfoliant that you like to use, it’s absolutely fine, but that’s the time to do it. Exfoliate first and then apply actives that don’t irritate skin of colour.
And the fifth form of mask is your sheet mask. So, your sheet mask is great to apply after you’ve worn your actives because, again, you’ve now got your actives into the skin and you’ve occluded. So, you prevent any transepidermal water loss, and you’re getting maximum penetration. So, the one that I love, and literally the only one that I’ve found that has no fragrance in it and is biodegradable, is this one. So, it’s Aloe Calm Sheet from The Body Shop and I’ve literally, I’ve put it into the fridge and then I take it out and I put it onto my skin after my actives, and it’s very soothing on the skin. So, I would totally recommend this one for skin of colour.