Chances are, you've seen (and taken!) your fair share of face-mask selfies. But not all masks are created equal. Some might smooth your skin so your stage makeup looks #flawless; others might brighten it so you don't need as much makeup to begin with. Dance Spirit turned to the experts for a breakdown of the different kinds of masks.
"Exfoliating treatments include products that chemically and physically remove dead skin cells and help unclog pores," says Dr. Jessica Weiser of New York Dermatology Group. "They're an excellent substitute for, or addition to, exfoliating cleansers or pads. Look for active ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, and citric), beta-hydroxy acids (salicylic), and fruit enzymes like bromelain (pineapple) and papain (papaya)—these ingredients gently pull away debris, reduce blemishes, and brighten your skin."
Over-exfoliating can remove too much skin, leading to irritation and dryness. Reach for an exfoliating mask no more than once a week, Weiser advises.
"Detoxifying masks can remove impurities from your skin without stripping its surface of oils, thanks to their active ingredients of either clay or charcoal," Weiser says.
"The concept of 'detox' doesn't have a formal definition in the wellness world," Weiser explains, so these types of masks can vary greatly. She warns against using detoxifying products more than once a week, or during the same week you've used any exfoliating products, to avoid irritating the skin's surface and triggering inflammation.
Sheet masks are cheap, convenient, and super-fun to use. You can find them in almost every drugstore, and they cater to a wide variety of common skin issues (including redness, dryness, and oiliness, to name just a few).
When it comes to results, just be realistic about what sheet masks can and can't do. While the packaging might list a myriad of beneficial ingredients, your skin will most likely only absorb one or two.
A version of this story appeared in the April 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Mask-erade."