Don’t just grab what will look good on Instagram—choose a mask with ingredients that cater to your complexion concerns.
Acne is the most common skin condition, and one of the most powerful ingredients for eliminating it is salicylic acid (find it in Kora Organics Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask, $48).“It can cut through dead skin cells, and it’s particularly effective at cutting through oils,”says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, of New Haven, Connecticut. But it can also be irritating. Enter ultragentle charcoal:“I think of charcoal asa tape strip to remove blackheads,” says Long Island dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD. Try Olay Masks Pore Detox ($10) and Garnier Black Peel-Off Mask with Charcoal ($8). For flare-ups, try Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Zit Zapping Dots ($9),with both salicylic acid and charcoal.
If your pores strike you as gargantuan, genetics are probably to blame. But it could also be a combination of surplus oil pooling on your skin’s surface and skin-cell accumulation around the pore’s opening. Your first order of business: Sop up the grease. A mask with clay—like GlamGlow Instamud 60-Second Pore-Refining Treatment, ($42) or L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clarify & Smooth Mask ($13)—will work on any skin type. To get rid of excess surface cells, NewYork dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, recommends a mask with an alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic or lactic. Try Ole Henriksen Cold Plunge Pore Mask ($36), which contains lactic acid.
Airplane air is notorious for sucking up moisture. Hyaluronic acid (HA) can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it the exact opposite—a moisture magnet and the perfect antidote to a long-haul flight. Even if you’re not a frequent flier, you could likely benefit from extra HA, as found in Clarins SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask ($34). “When we’re about 30, the hyaluronic acid in our skin starts to decline critically,”Gohara says. “We begin noticing fine lines, dryness, and saggy skin.” Sheet masks, like Georgia Louise Glo Pulse Aqua Sheet Masks ($75 for 10), are occlusive, holding their ingredients tight to your face. This makes them a bad idea for the acne-prone, but a godsend if your skin is dehydrated. Since HA works by attracting water in the environment, apply the mask to damp skin. We also like Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Micro-Bubbling Cloud Mask ($48).
Overnight Skin Softeners
The sleeping mask is skin care for slackers: It works while you rest, and you don’t even have to rinse it off. “Nighttime is when skin turnover happens,”Mariwalla says. “A lot of renewal processes goon, a lot of repair.” You can help things along with the right active ingredients. Mariwalla recommends green tea (try AmorePacific Time Response Skin Renewal Sleeping Masque, $200) to help with redness. She also advocates using a quick-absorbing gel formula to protect your pillows. Good picks: Dior Hydra Life JellySleeping Mask (4; $69) and Neutrogena HydroBoost Hydrating Overnight Gel Mask ($3).
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of ELLE.