Anti-Aging & Cosmeceutical Corner
Navin M. Geria
Senior Technical Advisor
Doctors Skin Prescription
Navin Geria, ex-Pfizer Research Fellow, is senior
technical advisor and principal of the dermatological
research company, Doctors Skin Prescription (DSP),
Boston, founded by dermatologist David J. Goldberg,
MD JD and plastic surgeons William P. Adams, MD
FACS and Jason Pozner, MD. Geria has more than 30
years of experience in the personal care industry and
was previously with Clairol, Warner-Lambert, Schick,
Bristol-Myers and most recently, Spa Dermaceuticals.
He has earned nearly 20 US patents, has been pub-
lished extensively and has been both a speaker and a
moderator at cosmetic industry events.
WHAT’S BEHIND THE POPULARITY
OF TODAY’S FACIAL MASKS?
MASKS ATTRACT today’s consumer with the promise of immediate results in treating a variety of
skin flaws. New formats and formulations
that address individual needs appeal to
consumer looking to try something different without spending a fortune. In the
US, facial masks have significantly outperformed much larger segments such
as facial moisturizers according to Karen
Grant, vice president and global beauty
industry analyst with The NPD Group,
Port Washington, NY.
Facial masks are among the oldest face
treatments. Cleopatra had her own special formulas. This column will briefly review the role of facial masks in improving
skin conditions. Masks remove dry, dead
skin cells from the surface making the
skin smoother and the pores less dilated.
Masks can be either a “wash off” (clay
based) or “peel off” (synthetic polymer
based). Masks can moisturize intensely,
making wrinkles look less pronounced.
Masks containing a cooling ingredient like
menthol increase blood flow to the skin,
making skin look rosy. Facial masks are
based on three major categories; namely,
vinyl- or rubber-based, earth-based and
wax-based. Masks provide three main
benefits, acne-fighting, anti-aging and
Vinyl- or rubber-based masks are very
popular because they are easy to apply
and remove in one single sheet. They are
based on substances such as polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl acetate or latex. When the vehicle evaporates, a thin and pliable vinyl or
rubber film remains and is left on the face
for about 30 minutes. Due to occlusion,
facial hydration is improved. The formulas
usually contain exfoliating agents such as
AHAs and BHAs.
The Clay’s the Thing
Earth masks are formulated with absorbent clays such as bentonite or kaolin that
produce an astringent effect on skin; this
effect is boosted by adding ingredients
such as zinc oxide, salicylic acid or AHA.
Clays are rich in mineral salts. They are
absorbent and re-mineralizing. They are
also used in foaming products such as
shampoos and shower gels. White clay
is ideal for masks, creams and shampoos
for normal hair. Green clay is perfect for
masks, anti-dandruff shampoos and prod-
ucts for oily hair. Red clay is recommended
in masks and shampoos for dry hair. Pink
clay, a mix of red and white clay, is suitable
for moisturizing masks.
Furthermore, Fuller’s earth has skin-stimulating properties and removes dead
skin cells. Moroccan clay is effective in detoxifying the skin without leaving it dry or
Alban Muller’s Amipeel-off mask is
a powder made up of alginates extracted
from brown algae that have moisturizing
properties. It contains natural silicon in
the form of diatomaceous earth, which re-
mineralizes and firms the skin. Specially
formulated to gel quickly on the skin’s
surface, this soft, thin mask peels off in
one piece to leave the epidermis soft and
relaxed, according to the company.
Masks are primarily composed of clay,
mud or earth minerals. Clays from the var-
ious parts of the world are selectively used
for their inherent properties. Clays absorb
oils from the skin and they also remove
layer of the skin with it when it is removed
making facial skin smoother.
According to Dr. Howard Murad, MD,
clay masks designed for oily or acne prone
skin should not only remove oil but also
heal and soothe as well. There are more
than 12 types of clays used in masks.
These masks are blended with additional
actives such as sulfur, seaweed, tea tree oil,
eucalyptus, zinc and licorice extract. One
caveat; clays can be too harsh if they re-
quire a lot of rinsing to remove them.
Finally, wax masks are formulated into
thin lotion with beeswax, petrolatum and
cetyl alcohol that usually is applied with a
soft brush on the skin covered with a thin
gauge cloth. This mask treatment is avail-
able only in professional salons or spas.
Masks come in a variety of styles
including polyvinyl acetate.