Hydrating Masks: Everything To Know About It

We all strive for soft, supple, glowing skin. Too often, however, this goal is thwarted by the very skin we are trying to improve. Dryness, excess oil, and acne play the antagonist part making youthful, smooth skin out of reach.

If that wasn’t bad enough, harsh chemicals, pollution, and the sun’s UV rays can make your skin dry and wrinkled. It’s enough to make you want to stay inside for the foreseeable future.

Although there are many products like moisturizers, etc out there to combat skin issues, we prefer masks. They give major hydration without feeling heavy or clogging your pores.

Vitamins, collagen, and plant extracts are just a few of the ingredients found in our favorite masks, which deliver spa-worthy results in the comfort of our own homes. Hydrated skin feels fresh, after all.

What Is A Hydrating Face Mask?

Hydrating face masks are formulated with ingredients that contain active compounds that function in a number of ways.

Some compounds actively draw moisture into skin tissues; others lock in moisture and prevent water loss by enhancing the skin’s barrier and reinforcing cellular structures.

Hydrating Mask Benefits

Hydrates Skin: Face masks adds moisture to dry or dehydrated skin making it easy to apply make up. Water from face mask goes down deep into the skin and softens it to become more elastic. The outcome is a more younger looking appearance.

Reduces Fine Lines: Periodic application of face masks can diminish fine lines, brown spots, and wrinkles associated with aging resulting in a smooth and soft skin.

Evens Skin Tone: Face masks are the perfect antidote to hyper-pigmentation. Applying them creates a smooth and even skin. Additionally, face masks enhances the oxygen level in the skin.

Tightens Skin: If you are struggling with loose skin, you can solve this problem by applying a face mask regularly. This will promote production of collagen which creates a tighter and firmer skin.

Types Of Hydrating Masks and How To Use Them

Several types of hydrating face masks are available and vary according to form, application method and treatment time.

Most masks are best used once or twice weekly depending on the severity of your skin’s dryness. If your product has accompanying instructions, be sure to follow them closely for the best possible results.

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are face-shaped fiber sheets infused with a serum of powerful moisturizing ingredients. When applied they adhere to the face and the serum is then slowly absorbed into the skin, resulting in deep hydration.

Sheet masks are packaged individually and are ready-made, with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth. They are designed to be easily applied directly from the package and removed with no mess.

Most sheet masks should be removed and discarded after about 15 minutes.

Cream Masks

Cream masks are dense formulas designed for direct application to the skin with a brush or fingers. While moisturizing gels, lotions and serums tend to be water-based, cream mask products are usually oil-based.

Cream mask

For this reason, they tend to have a more powerful occlusive effect, and are therefore better suited for sealing in moisture.

Most cream masks should be rinsed off after 10–20 minutes.

Overnight Masks

Overnight or sleeping masks are rich cream or serum formulations designed to be applied before bed and washed off in the morning. Overnight wear allows the ingredients in these masks more time to soak into the skin and replenish moisture.

The skin’s circadian rhythm is known to fluctuate from day to night. During the day, sebum production is at its highest; during the night, the protective barrier function weakens and the skin loses moisture.

Overnight masks can help prevent any skin dryness that may develop and ensure skin is hydrated by morning. However, the longer a product is left on the skin, the greater the risk of triggering an allergic reaction.

When selecting an overnight mask product avoid any formulations containing ingredients to which you are sensitive or allergic.

Some overnight masks may contain ingredients that can stain fabrics. If you are concerned about this possibility, you may wish to cover your pillow with an old T-shirt that you can set aside for these occasions.

Microbiome Masks

Microbiome masks are specially formulated with a blend of actives to replenish and support your skin’s microbiome. The microbiome plays a major role in impacting the skin’s well-being, appearance and feel.

The microbiome formulation protects the skin’s microflora, keeps the good bacteria intact and the bad bacteria away from your skin.

It is deeply and rapidly hydrating. It enlivens dry, parched skin rapidly and strengthens the skin barrier function. It also calms, soothes and relaxes the skin. It is ideal for sensitive skin. Try out Hydrating mask from Recherche.

Whitening Masks

Professional hydrating mask products

Whitening masks aim at improving the complexion of the skin. Combined with a unique blend of botanicals, it inhibits enzymes to prevent production of dark pigments and pro-inflammatory factors that leads to skin darkening.

Concurrently, it hydrates the skin and promote skin renewal for a fairer complexion. Try out Whitening and hydrating mask from Recherche.

How To Choose A Hydrating Mask For Your Skin Type

Those with dry skin are most likely to benefit from the moisturizing, barrier-restoring effects of hydrating face masks. Also, the gentle, natural ingredients in many hydrating masks may also benefit those with sensitive skin, who may experience irritation from other types of face masks.

Hydrating masks may exacerbate sebum production for oily skin types, causing oil buildup and clogged pores – and potentially triggering acne breakouts. However, this skin type can choose hydrating face masks with water-based formulations.

Selecting a mask that contains ingredients appropriate for your skin type will help minimize your risk of experiencing irritation, breakouts or allergic reactions.

Dry Skin

Those with dry skin should select masks containing gentle hydrating ingredients such as HA, glycerine and plant oils.

Ingredients suitable for dry skin type include Vitamins A and C, HA, aloe, plant oils, ceramides, glycerine, honey, green tea, oats, collagen, elastin and keratin.

Cream formulations offer a more powerful occlusive effect than lightweight gels, serums and lotions, and will reinforce the skin’s protective barrier, further protecting against moisture loss.

Sheet masks that contain bacterial cellulose (also known as bio cellulose) can also provide potent benefits to those with dry skin.

The fibers in these masks are highly absorbent and can store many times their dry weight in water, which makes them effective at delivering large doses of cooling, hydrating ingredients.

One study found that these masks safely and effectively increased skin moisture uptake by 7–28%.

Oily Skin

Oily skin tends to respond well to products that are noncomedogenic, including lightweight gels, lotions and serums.

Ingredients suitable for oily skin type include: Vitamins A and C, green tea, oats, collagen, elastin and keratin.

Those with oily skin may also benefit from antibacterial or anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as oats, green tea and vitamin A, which can help reduce the risk of acne breakouts.

Sheet masks are not suitable for oily skin, as they are not breathable and encourage acne-causing bacteria to remain in contact with the skin.

Cream-based and overnight masks also tend to be unsuitable for oily skin, as they contain ingredients that can exacerbate oil buildup and clog pores. Purifying and hydrating mask from Recherche can be a good choice as it is suitable for oily skin.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin will benefit from soothing, hydrating ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, such as ceramides, honey and vitamin E.

Ingredients suitable for sensitive skin type include: Vitamins A and E, aloe, ceramides, glycerine, oats, honey, green tea, collagen, elastin and keratin.

That being said, most of the ingredients in hydrating face masks are gentle and unlikely to cause irritation. Even those with very sensitive skin should rarely experience side effects from their use. Try Soothing and Hydrating mask from Recherche.

Should You Use A Hydrating Mask?

Hydrating masks can, for the most part, be used by all skin types, however some ingredients and masks should be avoided by some. For example, those with oily or acne-prone skin should avoid ingredients and masks that smother the skin, such as rich waxes, oils, creams or sheet masks.

Those with sensitive skin should select masks with as few potentially irritating ingredients as possible to avoid triggering allergic reactions or worsening dryness. Common skin irritants include:

  • Fragrances
  • Soaping agents
  • Alcohol
  • Synthetic preservatives

For all skin types, immediately rinse off and stop using a face mask if any unpleasant side effects occur. These may include:

  • Burning, stinging or itching
  • Severe redness
  • Swelling
  • Dryness or tightness
  • Breakouts
  • Hives

Bottom Line

Hydrating face masks are formulated with ingredients that encourage moisture retention in the skin.

Hydrating masks are highly unlikely to cause irritation, however ingredients such as fragrances, preservatives and alcohol may trigger negative reactions for some. Avoid products containing these ingredients – especially if you have sensitive skin.

Professional hydrating mask products are easy to use and tend to provide more powerful results. Hydrating masks can also be made at home with natural ingredients, and carefully formulated to address your skin’s needs.

WRITTEN BY

Coreenna Ong

Head of Research

Coreenna Ong has more than 20 years of extensive experiences in research and development, conceptualization, formulation, production process development and bring to market skincare products in the beauty industry. Ms Ong is currently the Director, Research and Development at Recherché skincare.

Recherché is a Singapore cosmeceutical skincare brand, with its products clean, green, plant-based and specially catered for Asian skin. It is also the pioneer in developing edible skincare actives to specifically address skin concerns.

Within just 2 years, Ms Ong’s research has led Recherché to win several awards and accolades for its products.

Ms Ong’s research focuses on harnessing the latest formulation technologies, knowledge and techniques to distil and extract nature's essence, and then apply them synergistically for maximum results.

She has authored 2 best-selling Beauty and Wellness books with Marshall Cavendish. The books had multiple runs and remained popular and in print circulation for several years. They are currently available in the Singapore National Library collection.

Ms Ong was also a Beauty columnist for Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore's largest Chinese-language newspaper publication, with huge regional presence. As its weekly expert contributor, she shared the latest research and technologies from the Beauty industry, and addressed the many skincare issues and concerns of the newspaper's readers regionally, including offering beauty tips, quick fixes and insider knowledge.

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