How Often Should You Use a Face Mask to Get Clear, Healthy Skin ----- Back

13.12.19 - Knowledge

How Often Should You Use a Face Mask to Get Clear, Healthy Skin

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Words by Antoinette Barnardo

From charcoal mask to clay mask to overnight mask, face masking is no longer an occasional indulgence but an integral aspect of a good skincare routine. With the availability of different face mask formulations that target various skin concerns, it can be a little confusing to determine how often you should use a particular type of mask. For instance, can you use a clay mask more than once a week? And is it OK to apply an overnight mask every single night? 

To help you navigate the roadmap of how often you should face-mask every week, we will look at these three factors: the mask formulation and the skin concerns it treats, your skin type, and the environmental conditions. Knowing how often you should use a face mask will help you get the most out of it to achieve clear, healthy skin. 

What Is a Face Mask?

Just like your serums, face oils, and moisturizers, face masks are loaded with active ingredients to treat and prevent skin concerns. Facial masks are often used for: 

  • Anti-aging 
  • Anti-pollution 
  • Blemish-clearing 
  • Brightening 
  • Exfoliating 
  • Hydrating 

Face masks also come in different types to suit your preferences — charcoal, clay, gel, and cream are just some of the common ones you see on the market. These can be in the form of wash-off masks, leave-on masks, sheet masks, or peel-off masks. 

How Often Should You Use a Face Mask?

The type of mask formulation and the skin concerns it targets will affect how often you should use a particular face mask per week. 

1. Anti-Aging Masks

Recommended Frequency: 1 to 2 times a week 

Besides loading up on your retinol in the form of moisturizers and serums, anti-aging masks are also a great way to get your vitamin A fix while pampering your skin. To up the efficacy of your anti-aging masks, look out for other skin-firming ingredients such as: 

  • Antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids 
  • Collagen 
  • Peptides 

One thing to note is that some anti-aging masks may contain exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to speed up the skin renewal process. That's why we recommend you to use an anti-aging mask once or twice a week to ward off signs of aging without risking skin sensitivity.

2. Brightening Masks

Recommended Frequency: 1 to 2 times a week 

Brightening masks are wonderful for lightening hyperpigmentation and perking up dull skin for a more radiant complexion. Some powerful skin-brighteners are: 

  • Fruit enzymes like papaya or pineapple extracts 
  • Ginseng extract 
  • Licorice root extract 
  • Niacinamide 
  • Turmeric 
  • Vitamin C 

Based on the list above, we see that some of the substances used in brightening masks are also active ingredients. Hence it's best to use them only once or twice a week to prevent over-sensitizing your skin. 

Tip — choose a brightening mask that also contains calming or hydrating ingredients like chamomile extract, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid to minimize redness and sensitivity.

3. Charcoal Masks

Recommended Frequency: 1 to 2 times a week 

Charcoal masks contain activated charcoal which absorbs excess oil and draws out impurities from the skin. This makes them an ideal pick if you have oily skin and blackheads or reside in a polluted area. 

However, since charcoal masks can be drying on the skin, we recommend using it once a week first and see how your skin responds before increasing to two times per week. 

4. Clay Masks

Recommended Frequency: 1 to 2 times a week 

Clay face masks are a favorite when it comes to skin detox. A 2010 study published in the Journal of International Geology Review highlighted that clay minerals possess powerful adsorption properties. This means that they can "remove oils, secretions, toxins, and contaminants from the skin" to heal blemishes. 

While clay masks are ideal zit-busting skin rescuers, too much of it could also lead to skin dryness. As such, clay masks should only be used once a week for those with dry or sensitive skin. For oilier skin types, you may choose to use a clay mask twice a week if your skin agrees with it. 

Tip — use clay masks as a spot treatment by applying the facial mask on your problem areas. Wash it off after 10 minutes and see your breakouts appear less prominent and angry-looking. 

5. Exfoliating Masks

Recommended Frequency: 1 to 3 times a week 

We all know that exfoliation is an essential step for a glowing complexion. To make sure you get your weekly dose of exfoliation, exfoliating masks are a great alternative to face scrubs and chemical exfoliants. 

Since exfoliating masks often contain active ingredients like AHAs, salicylic acid, fruit enzymes, or physical beads to help you slough off dead skin cells, it's best to only use them one to three times a week. For more details, check out our guide on how often you should exfoliate your skin

6. Overnight Masks

Recommended Frequency: 2 to 3 times a week or more 

As its name suggests, overnight masks are not your usual kind of wash-off masks. Instead, this type of facial mask is meant to be applied and left on overnight so that the mask can work its magic while you sleep. 

Since most overnight masks contain humectants and occlusives, these hydrating and moisturizing masks can be used two to three times a week for most skin types. If you have dry skin, consider increasing the frequency to more than three times a week or use it daily. 

Other Factors to Consider

Besides looking at the facial mask formulation and the skin concerns it addresses, other factors such as your skin type and the environment can have an impact on how frequently you should face-mask. 

Skin Type

Depending on your skin type, how often you should use a particular type of facial mask may vary accordingly. For example, if you have dry skin, you may be able to get away with using a hydrating overnight mask every single night. 

On the other hand, if you have acne-prone or oily skin, it may be unwise to use the same type of mask more than three times a week. This is because some overnight masks contain occlusives which can clog your pores and worsen your breakouts. 

The Environment

Has the weather been turning cold and dry lately? Or maybe the recent wildfires have been causing your skin to act up due to worsening air pollution. As such, the environment is a major consideration when deciding how often you should mask and which types of facial masks to use. 

For instance, in the winter, you may consider using a hydrating mask more frequently. You can also add an overnight mask on top of your usual creams and moisturizers to provide your skin with a much-needed hydration boost. 

When it comes to rising pollution levels, it may be a good idea to use a charcoal or clay mask more often to detox your skin. Of course, always be conservative and listen to your skin before upping the frequency. 

Should You Use Peel-Off and Sheet Masks?

While peel-off and sheet masks are increasingly popular nowadays, you might want to give them a second thought before using them. 

Peel-Off Masks

It may feel immensely satisfying to peel off the gunk from your skin and see your blackheads disappear. However, part of this “gunk” is essential for good skin health — like the healthy skin cells and facial hair that are also removed. 

What this means is that you're damaging your skin barrier which could lead to other complications such as dryness, inflammation, and irritation. 

Sheet Masks

Being a single-use facial mask, sheet masks are adored for their convenience and efficacy. However, there's a dark side to using them — sheet masks aren't exactly eco-friendly. 

If you think about it, after using a sheet mask, you're likely to throw away the contents which are: 

  • The mask: A 2006 study in the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal pointed out that most sheet masks are made from materials like cotton and rayon whose production processes are not environmentally friendly.
  • Plastic sheet: Most sheet masks come with a plastic sheet to maintain their shapes which equate to more waste.
  • The packaging: It's often made of aluminum and plastic that can't be recycled. 

We all have a part to play in saving the environment so choose to mask responsibly. 

Can You Mix and Match Your Face Masks?

It's possible to use more than one facial mask a day. There are two ways to do it: multi-mask or mask in sequence. 

Multi-Masking: This method refers to using more than one type of mask at the same time. An example would be to apply a charcoal mask on your oily T-zone while using a brightening mask on your dull patches. 

Mask in Sequence: This method means using one type of mask followed by another type. The trick is to match the right mask formulations together. Always pair a mask that contains active ingredients with another mask that's infused with hydrating or skin-soothing properties. 

A recommended mask-in-sequence regimen would be to use YORA's Clarify Face Mask first. It's a great option as a deep-cleansing mask, thanks to the Australian white clay and activated charcoal in it. The added salicylic acid and smooth bamboo beads also gently exfoliate your skin for a glowing complexion. 

After rinsing off the Clarify Face Mask, follow up with YORA's Revitalise Face Mask to replenish your skin's moisture. This overnight gel mask contains Axolight® to lighten your blemishes and T.R.U.E. Active Complex to minimize visible signs of aging. The overall effect is smooth, hydrated, baby-soft skin when you wake up in the morning. 

Your Skin Is the Best Judge

The bottom line when it comes to how often you should use a face mask boils down to three main factors: the mask formulation, your skin type, and the environment. When you consider all these factors, it's easy to use the right face mask at the right frequency to help you get clear, healthy skin

While the above guidelines provide a recommended usage frequency for each mask formulation, know that the ultimate determining factor is still your skin's needs. Listen to what your skin is telling you as it's still the best judge on whether you should reach for a charcoal mask, an overnight mask, or something different. Most importantly, always take a conservative approach when using masks with active ingredients in them such as anti-aging, brightening, and exfoliating masks.

Words by Antoinette Barnardo

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