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Face Mask Wrecking Your Skin? Try These Skincare Treatments

A jar of yellow cream sitting on a brown box, a jar of pink gel surrounded by watermelon slices, a jar of brown clay
Youth to the People/Glow Recipe/Majestic Pure

Wearing a face mask has become part of our daily lives, but even if you’re totally used to it, your skin might not be. Here are some skin treatments you can use to help, literally and figuratively, smooth out the bumps of mask wearing.

Why is wearing a mask so rough on your skin? While we take a deep dive into the topic here, the short of it is that the constant press of foreign materials against sensitive skin can make it feel dry or dull, or even cause breakouts. Fortunately, there are plenty of skin treatments that can help you get things back to normal.

Below are the five most popular types of beauty masks that will help with face-mask-affected skin. Check out the benefits of each and our recs to find the perfect one for you!

Clay Masks

An open glass jar with reddish-brown clay treatment inside
Majestic Pure

Clay mask treatments are some of the most popular for your face. They’re the kind that tend to come to mind when you think of a spa day. Made of a thick paste, you apply it, then allow it to set for a certain amount of time.

Made from earthy ingredients and enriched with a variety of botanicals and vitamins, clay masks can address a number of skin issues. Their unique ability to absorb oils and impurities make them especially good for unclogging pores and reducing blemishes.

Below are some of our favorites:

Majestic Pure Moroccan Red Clay Mask: Featuring Moroccan red clay “mud” as the active ingredient, this mask is full of nourishing vitamins and natural minerals. It can replenish the skin, as the thick rich clay draws out any impurities. It also contains niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B3, which is an effective treatment for both acne and wrinkles.

Fresh Umbrian Clay Mask: This offers a more herbal approach. The unique clay is sourced from Italy and has a mineral blend that’s particularly effective at balancing and detoxing the skin. Plus, it contains gentle, yet effective botanicals like sandalwood to shrink pores and calm irritated skin, and chamomile and lavender to soothe.

Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay: The willow herb in this mask has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps soothe irritated skin and clear blemishes because the clay draws out the source of the irritation.

Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

Addresses blemishes and irritation for smoother, clearer skin.

Charcoal Masks

A tube of black charcoal paste surrounded by tubular pieces of charcoal
Origins

One of the most frustrating side effects of wearing a face mask is the dreaded “mask-ne.” These inevitable breakouts appear predominantly along the cheeks and jawline where your mask rests.

To deal with these annoying blemishes, a charcoal treatment might be the answer. Charcoal is used to cleanse and detox many things, including skin.

Below are two of our fave charcoal masks:

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask: The active charcoal draws out impurities and absorbs all the extra “gunk” clogging your pores. It’s gentle enough to use all over your face, or you use it as a spot treatment to attack those pesky areas where acne keeps popping up.

Boscia Charcoal Pore PuddingMade with two types of charcoal—black and white—this treatment absorbs a huge amount of impurities. It also lifts them away without stripping your skin of the good oils and nutrients necessary to balance your skin and prevent further irritation.

Resurfacing Masks

Three jars of Herbivore Blue Tansy stacked on top of each other.
Herbivore

Skin “resurfacing” sounds a lot scarier than it is. Essentially, resurfacing masks and treatments use the natural chemical properties of different ingredients to exfoliate the skin. This promotes cell turnover to reveal fresh, healthy skin.

While exfoliation methods are primarily physical, such as “scrubs” made with salt, crushed nut shells, beads, or other abrasives, they run the risk of creating microtears in the skin. This openings are avenues that allow bacteria and impurities to get in.

Chemical resurfacing, however, uses natural acids to loosen the bonds and remove dead skin cells. Below are some of our favorites:

Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask: A powerful skin treatment, this mask is packed with good botanicals and enzymes. Blue tansy oil is notable for its soothing properties, which help reduce redness and inflammation. Meanwhile, the white willow bark extract contains high natural levels of BHA to treat acne. The fruit enzymes have natural AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) to eliminate dead skin cells.

Bliss Green Tea Wonder Gel Mask: A wide variety of ingredients can be used as the base for a resurfacing mask. The acids—mostly BHA and AHAs— are key, as they exfoliate the skin naturally. This gel mask perfectly combines the balancing and clarifying benefits of green tea with the resurfacing effects of azelaic acid.

Bliss Green Tea Wonder Gel Mask

Overnight gel mask perfectly balances and clarifies.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask: Some resurfacing masks combine AHA or BHA treatments with other types of skin treatments. The salicylic acid in this mask works to unclog pores and resurface the skin. Meanwhile, the creamy-white clay gently draws out impurities and balances even the deepest layers of your skin.

Brightening Masks

A jar of Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask surrounded by watermelon slices.
Glow Recipe

Combined with the usual stressors of winter temperatures and dryness, some face masks can leave your skin looking dull and tired. A brightening treatment can refresh your skin, making it radiant and smooth. Typically, these use ingredients that promote cell turnover.

A few of our faves are:

Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Sleep Mask: This overnight treatment is designed to work with and enhance your skin’s natural repairing mechanisms. Hyaluronic acid and watermelon extract provide intense, non-oily moisture. Meanwhile, two AHAs (plant-derived lactic and glycolic acids) gently remove the dead skin cells on the surface to reveal brighter, clearer skin.

First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Ginger & Turmeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask: There’s nothing stressed, dull skin loves more than Vitamin C, which is the key ingredient in this gel mask. It also contains ginger and turmeric, both of which help calm irritated skin and reduce inflammation.

Moisturizing Masks

Two jars of SuperBerry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask.
Youth to the People

One of the biggest skincare mistakes we tend to make is letting our skin get too dry. This is usually out of fear that too much moisture will cause a breakout. In fact, though, the opposite is true!

Overly dry skin kicks oil production into overdrive as your skin tries to balance things out. This leads to an excess of oil and clogged pores. This is why it’s a good idea to treat your skin with a moisturizing mask occasionally. These are designed to keep your skin balanced and properly hydrated.

Some of our favorite hydrating masks are:

Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Mask: Loaded with tons of nutrients, this mask can help brighten and repair skin. It features a blend of superberries with antioxidants that fight and balance free radicals, which can cause a myriad of adverse effects. Meanwhile, Vitamin C firms and brightens, while a combination of squalane and hyaluronic acid provides plenty of moisture without the heaviness.

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask: This is a moisturizing treatment in its simplest form. The mask treatment is essentially a longer-lasting, richer version of Clinique’s regular moisturizer. It’s paraben-free, with a creamy formula that won’t feel oily or heavy on your skin.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask: You’ll find a wide variety of ingredients in moisturizing mask treatments—especially those that prioritize plant-based products, like this one. It takes advantage of the healthy fats and oils in avocado to provide rich, natural moisture. Meanwhile, the hyaluronic acid and mineral-rich Swiss glacier water provide nutrients and lock in hydration.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »

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