It’s safe to say our skin care routine gets a lot more extensive during the winter season. Unlike summer, when the hot, sticky air makes us want to wear less — with the exception of sun protection, of course — our faces need the equivalent of a coat, scarf and hat once temperatures drop. And more often than not, that may include an overnight face mask on top of our serums, eye creams and retinol. But we can’t help but wonder (in our best Carrie Bradshaw voice)…are they actually necessary?
First, a primer on what they are and what they’re actually meant to do. According to New York City-based AcneFree consulting dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, they are simply masks you apply before bed and wash off in the morning. Though the idea of wearing a product while you sleep isn’t novel, this particular trend can be credited to South Korea. They’re designed to be the final step of your nighttime regimen — yes, even after retinol — to seal in your products, thus making them more effective.
“First cleanse and exfoliate, then apply serums and essences, and then use the sleep mask to lock everything in,” says King. “Different masks will have different ingredients designed to target specific skin concerns, but the primary goal of all of these masks is the same: hydration.”
In general, overnight face masks tend to contain more intense hydrators as well as antiagers and other ingredients according to your skin type and concern. Given the overall hydrating benefits of sleep-masking, those with dry skin benefit most, specifically with ingredients that plump the skin with moisture and help repair the skin’s barrier function, such as ceramides and argan oil.
“Those who tend to have oily or acne-prone skin may prefer lighter moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the skin without clogging pores,” says King. “Those seeking antiaging benefits may choose a night mask with retinol, which stimulates collagen production and improves the skin’s tone and texture and brightening antioxidants.”
At the same time, those with oily skin may benefit the least since overnight masks are also locking in ingredients from previously used products, which can lead to excess oil come morning. Certain precautions should also take place for sensitive skin types. This includes avoiding harsh active ingredients, like glycolic acid or salicylic acid, that can cause irritation if left on the skin for hours.
Ahead, 13 overnight face masks for every skin woe, from dryness to breakouts.
Originally posted on StyleCaster.