8 Types Of Face Masks That Handle The Most Common Skincare Issues

Woman with Skincare mask

Andrea Jordan
May, 03, 2017 5:05 PM UTC

The mask market can be a bit overwhelming. With so many kinds available, how do you know which one to choose? We asked Suneel Chilukuri, M.D., of Refresh Dermatology in Houston, to break down the different varieties to help you select what’s best for you.

The first step? Hone in on your skin issue, then look for a product with ingredients that target it. “Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps improve blackheads and whiteheads. Dry or sensitive skin types should use masks with ingredients like lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, cucumber and papaya,” says the cosmetic and dermatologic surgeon.

“If you’re looking for general skin health and antiaging benefits, find masks that contain alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid and vitamins C and E.” Next determine the right mask formula. We’ve picked eight types and got the scoop on how they work.

This feature originally appeared in the May 2017 Issue of ESSENCE Magazine.

Don't expect to slather this liquid all over. "Splash it on and let it absorb," as it says on the label. "This [system] is best for those who are busy and don't have time to let a mask sit," says Chilukuri. More like a serum, "a splash mask typically contains higher concentrations of lactic acid, glycerin and antioxidants." 

$38 available at Sephora

Hydrogel is—you guessed it—water in a gel. In the past it was used for healing wounds because of its punch of moisture and soothing properties. The hydrating salve is also safe for sensitive skin.

$60 available at Erno Laszlo

This mask cleans out the pores. "As it dries, it removes oil and dirt below the skin's surface. The peel is most effective in eliminating blackheads or minimizing enlarged pores," says Chilukuri.

$11 available at Amazon

Apply a thin layer of this gel and watch it fizz. Bubble masks react with oxygen in the air and help clear away dirt and oil from deep within the pores. 

$14 available at e.l.f. Cosmetics

Similar in makeup to a basic sheet mask, which is soaked in a serum, this lace version employs compression technology for great results. The added pressure can reduce con gestion as it rids your skin of impurities.

$55 available at Nordstrom

This creamy mask, which is made of metallic, ironlike particles, is removed with a magnet. Says Chilukuri, "The magnetic removal improves microcirculation while rehydrating and brightening the skin."

$75 available at Sephora

Primarily an in-office or spa treatment, this gel and powder duo moisturizes and rejuvenates the skin. The combo creates a paste that conforms to the structure of your face. Once the paste dries, lift it off for a refreshed complexion.

$46 available at Sephora

Updated Techstile technology makes this the first dry sheet mask. Its dry print is infused with 87 percent active ingredients that micro-penetrate the epidermis as you move and your body temperature rises.

$120 available at Nannette de Gaspé