“Humidity and moisture gets trapped on the skin under the mask, allowing bacteria to breed on the skin. This can result in inflammation and breakouts,” Faye Purcell, a product development chemist at Q+A, told HuffPost.
But thankfully it’s winter, otherwise known as the time of year we all love to use those other face masks … the skin care kind.
There’s nothing like a good face mask in your skin care routine to help treat skin concerns. When it comes to face mask formulas, Purcell suggests looking for products that contain ingredients such as zinc, zinc PCA, niacinamide, clay (like bentonite and kaolin), charcoal and AHAs such as malic, glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid.
Zinc is a great starting point, according to Purcell, as it is a skin-balancing active ingredient that helps to prevent an overproduction of sebum, which can clog pores and cause breakouts. Niacinamide, which has become increasingly popular over the past 18 months, is a good active ingredient for pore cleansing and blemish prevention.
“Unlike many blemish-busting ingredients, niacinamide is well tolerated by many skin types and it’s the perfect active to use in combination with other active ingredients,” Purcell said. “It pairs up well with most acids, vitamin C and even retinol, so it can be easily added into your current regimen.”
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) improve skin texture and minimize the appearance of pores thanks to their exfoliating properties. AHAs are a must-have in your skin care routine, Purcell said, adding, “They encourage desquamation (the shedding) of the outermost layer of skin, revealing a bright and smooth complexion. They complement all skin types, even those with dry and sensitive skin.”
When it comes to clay-based masks, Purcell recommends kaolin clay as it draws out impurities, shrinks pores and decreases sebum. It’s a natural clay that is very useful in face masks as it helps to detoxify and purify.
Bentonite is another natural clay that has the power to absorb excess oil (known as sebum) and is the perfect ingredient for oily, acne and blemish-prone skin types.
Activated charcoal is an ingredient that pairs well with natural clays. “Activated charcoal is created through a heating process which gives it its brilliant detoxifying power. Acting a bit like a magnet, the charcoal sucks out all that dirt and toxins from the skin leaving the complexion soft, purified, and clear,” Purcell said.
Vitamin C is also another star ingredient that people should add to their skin care regimen. “Incorporating some antioxidant vitamin C skin care products into your routine will help keep skin healthy and protect it from any harmful pollutants as well as any bacteria from under the mask. Vitamin C in particular does this very well and can neutralize any free radicals, repair any damaged cells from mask-wearing but also help brighten the appearance of skin,” Purcell said.
We’ve rounded up face masks packed with the ingredients Purcell has recommended. Maskne be gone!
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