Wednesday, 20 April 2016

CAN YOU OD ON SHEET MASKS?

Ashley Benson and co. Photo: Instagram/@itsashbenzo
It's no secret that we are a generation that loves a good beauty product trend. We strive for the best, coolest and sometimes weirdest products on the market, but at the end of the day, all that matters are the results. From brow gels to solid color correctors, if our YouTube gurus vlog about them, we try them. Sheet masks were by far the trendiest of them all, but quickly cemented themselves as a staple in everyone's routines.


The Korean beauty obsession is now easily available stateside, and there are options formulated to battle every skin issue from hydration to aging. Plus, unlike fancy oils and creams, they're highly affordable. But is it possible that we could have too much of a good thing? Thanks to the popularity and value of sheet masks, the use of them has skyrocketed to almost daily instead of the originally recommended 1-2 times per week. So, we had to ask — can sheet masks actually harm our skin if we overdose?

According to dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz, it all depends on what the ingredients are. "The sheet masks are just another vehicle to deliver active ingredients," he explains. "When you put one on, what you're doing is allowing active ingredients to be in contact with the skin so you can increase the penetration of the product."

He added that it's actually similar to a technique that was once used with Saran Wrap. "In the old days, we used to put Saran Wrap on the ankles and knees of psoriasis patients to help the creams absorb better because it didn't breath and we didn't want anything evaporating," he says. However, dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman notes that if you're acne-prone or have oily skin, you should proceed with caution. Since sheet masks smother your skin to deliver the ingredients more quickly, they can clog your pores. "[The masks] are for hydrating or for brightening, but... if you're occluding your skin that frequently you could really break out."

Dr. Shultz also said to take note of the active ingredients in the mask that you're using: If you tend to have sensitive or acne-prone skin, steer clear of masks with acids in them, as they'll be more likely to irritate you. Aside from the ingredients, you should also pay attention the material that the mask is made with — especially if you are acne-prone. (Cloth masks are more occlusive, so will be more likely to break you out; gels would be a better fit.)

As for those with dry skin, frequent travelers or who are looking to brighten dark spots, Dr. Jaliman says daily sheet mask usage shouldn't be a problem — in fact, your skin will probably love it. "You'll like using them with frequency because it's a way to push those brightening and moisturizing ingredients into your skin and see more of a difference quickly," she notes. And, if you're not sure just how many sheet masks your skin can handle in your routine, just don't overdo it until you know your threshold. As with any product, both Dr. Jaliman and Dr. Schultz recommend making sure they don't cause clogged pores as you increase your frequency of use. 

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