Dr. Aparna Santhanam is a dermatologist and beauty consultant based in Mumbai, India. Not only does she run her own dermatology, hair and wellness practice, she is also the author of the best-selling book Skin Deep. Here, she shares some of her tips and insights on facial masking.
How do masks work for our skin?
Dr. Aparna Santhanam: There are two main kinds of masks — a sheet that you put on your skin for a certain amount of time, or a clay- or gel-based mask where active ingredients are directly applied onto the skin. What all these masks do, to a certain extent, is exfoliate a few layers of dirt off your skin, leaving you feeling more hydrated, cleaner, and fresher. Clay- and gel-based masks can also reduce the surface oiliness of your skin, and with the right ingredients, certain masks can lighten dark spots too.
Day and night masks: can you use them interchangeably?
Dr. Aparna: Many people do use products interchangeably, but it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting on your skin at which times of the day. Using a day product in the night is unlikely to cause huge problems for your skin, but using a night product in place of a day product could mean that you’ll be losing out on the photosynthesizing ingredients in day products that are necessary to keep your skin safe from the sun.
Can you leave a mask on overnight?
Dr. Aparna: There are masks you could sleep with, but not all masks can be left on overnight — especially clay masks which can be drying for the skin. If you occasionally fall asleep with a mask on, don’t worry — it’s not the end of the world. The ingredients in these products are rather superficial and don’t penetrate deep enough into the skin to cause long-term damage. However, setting a timer on your phone to wake you up in 20 minutes is never a bad idea.
Are there any other masking mistakes to avoid?
Dr. Aparna: Avoid applying mud masks too close to the sensitive eye area. Instead, you can try using eye pads — or even wearing goggles — before putting the mask on. Also, don’t forget to apply the mask around your neck area if possible as the whitening properties in a mask could cause a color difference between your neck and your face if it’s always only used on your face.