Face masks offer a great way to pamper and improve the skin and target specific concerns.

To maintain a healthy and radiant glow, it's important to stick to a great skincare routine. However, even those who are diligent about applying skincare products morning and night will sometimes have to deal with troublesome complexion issues. 

This is where face masks come in. "Masks can deliver higher concentrations of active ingredients to plump, hydrate and balance the skin," says Dr. Deirdre Hooper, a professor of dermatology at Louisiana State University. While a regular routine might saturate the skin with small concentrations of active ingredients over time, a face mask causes the skin to absorb an extra dose of good ingredients in one short sitting.

However, not all masks are created equally. Certain types of masks are created to accomplish very specific goals. While some masks are designed to pull excess oil and gunk out of the skin, others are made to put a mega-dose of moisture back into the complexion. 

Read on to learn about different face masks that address specific skin concerns.

Skin Issue: Acne and Too Much Oil

Skin requires a baseline of oil to remain healthy and vibrant. However, when the skin produces too much oil, it may cause blemishes, blackheads and an excessively shiny appearance. While blotting papers and toners help when used regularly, an acne-reducing clay mask is one of the best ways to pull oil out of the skin and restore balance to the complexion.

"Clay draws out the impurities from deep in the pores," explains Dr. Michele Green, a New York dermatologist. A clay mask feels wet going onto the face, but as it dries, it becomes hard and tight. As this happens, the clay physically pulls excess oil and sebum out of the pores while simultaneously putting a lot of good antioxidants back into the skin.

It's important to keep in mind that clay masks may be very drying. It's a popular misconception that oily skin needs to be "dried out" in order to reduce blemishes and excess shine. This is actually not true. In fact, drying out oily skin might cause the complexion to go into panic mode and overproduce oil due to the sudden dryness.

Hence, it's important to use a hydrating and acne-safe moisturizer after one has used a clay mask. Exercise caution with clay masks when using an anti-blemish toner or treatment regularly. This may help ensure that the complexion stays hydrated and isn't stripped of the moisture it needs to be healthy. 

Skin Issue: Dull or Aging 

With age the skin naturally loses some of its brightness and may start to appear more dull. Dullness and signs of aging may be targeted by using masks made for exfoliating or brightening. This is typically a fancy way of saying that the mask includes a safe amount of acid or physical exfoliants to help remove dead skin cells and encourage the rejuvenation of new cells.

Don't be put off by the word "acid." Brightening masks typically contain glycolic or lactic acids, which often help encourage skin cell turnover. The concentrations in at-home masks are smaller than the percentages found in professional chemical peels, rendering them a safe choice.

When using a brightening mask with acid, always err on the side of caution. While it's normal for the skin to feel a slight tingle, be cautious if feeling a burning sensation. In these cases rinse of the mask immediately.

Similar to clay masks, exfoliating or brightening masks may produce effective results. However, they often dry out the skin in the process. This is why it's important to follow up one of these masks with a rich and hydrating night cream. Try to only apply these masks in the evening as acids might increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Furthermore, be sure to protect the skin with sunscreen during the day while regularly using acid-based products.

Skin Issue: Dry and Flaky

When the complexion is dry to the point of flaking, it means that the skin is being deprived of the moisture it needs. While some suffer from dry skin regularly throughout the year, many people are especially affected during the cold winter months.

Unlike oily or dull skin, dry skin doesn't need anything that could be harsh or dry it out further. Instead, it needs all the hydration and moisture it can get. Hydrating masks can help remedy dryness and restore moisture to the complexion.

Hydrating masks are made to lock in skincare products and prevent the skin from losing moisture. Look for ingredients like olive oil, vitamin E and aloe that can leave the complexion more supple and hydrated than it was before.

Remember, dry skin desperately craves moisture. While virtually all complexion types benefit from the regular use of a moisturizer, dry skin especially needs regular hydration. Look for thick creams that contain hydrating ingredients and antioxidants to give skin the moisture it needs. If a moisturizer on its own doesn't seem to be doing the trick, try following it with an ultra-nourishing face oil.

Skin Issue: Sensitive or Irritated 

Using face masks is an effective way to target specific skin issues . However aside from the dermatological benefits, face masks can also provide a fun way to relax and unwind at home. As a regular way to pamper and give the skin a little extra love try using sheet masks. These types of masks originated in Asia and have recently exploded in popularity all across the world.

A sheet mask is a sheet of paper that's soaked in a highly concentrated serum. After smoothing the mask onto the face, it's worn for as long as advised on the package (typically around 10 - 15 minutes) and then removed. Unlike most other masks one doesn't have to wash off the residue from a sheet mask. Instead, let it absorb naturally or rub it into the skin. Due to the lack of excessive washing involved in using a sheet masks, they are a good option for skin that is sensitive or easily irritated. 

As an added bonus, use any leftover serum in the package or on the discarded mask to smooth onto the neck, chest or body for added hydration and nourishment in these often-neglected skin areas.

Not all face masks need to be purchased at the store. Give the skin a little treat with something easily whipped up at home. Try a homemade probiotic face mask. This concoction is made with a probiotic capsule, organic yogurt and a dash of ultra-hydrating olive oil. Homemade masks are affordable, easy-to-make and helpful for remedying a vast array of skin issues as well.


  1. Gahara, M.; Do Face Masks Actually Do Anything for Your Skin?; Fitness Magazine Website
  2. Jaret, P.; How To Manage Oily Skin; WebMD Website
  3. Komar, M.; Do Face Masks Actually Work? 4 Dermatologists Weigh In; Bustle Website