HERE “A body mask can help with acne, keratosis pilaris, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage, and chronically dry skin,” explains Karen Fernandez, aesthetician at SkinSpirit locations in California, Washington, and Texas. “Some masks are formulated to exfoliate and brighten while others will soften and hydrate.” They also happen to be a bit cheaper than booking an entire spa session.
Brands like fan-favorite Frank Body have already been on this kick. Since 2013, it’s offered an assortment of masks, scrubs, and oils meant to be used on your extremities. “Body breakouts [happen] because of the oil, dirt, and sweat trapped in your pores,” brand cofounder Jess Hatzis tells Allure.
And doctors agree. “I have seen a surge in both facial and body acne during this pandemic. Acne has been one of the most common complaints in my practice recently,” New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Claire Chang, M.D., previously told Allure. The buttocks, Chang further explains, are a common area for breakouts, “due to irritation from sweating and tight-fitting clothes. Legs can be prone to acne after shaving due to irritation around hair follicles.”
Is the skin on your body different from the skin on your face?
Face skin is thinner than that on our bodies. In the same vein, body skin also has fewer sebaceous glands, making it less oily. “The biggest difference is that the skin on your face is normally thinner than the skin on your body,” Dr. Peredo says. “Also, skin cell turnover rate is slower on the body than the face, often resulting in drier, thicker, and scalier skin in those areas.”
Because of this difference, body masks have to be formulated accordingly. “[They will] incorporate larger exfoliating particles (for physical exfoliation) as well as higher potencies of certain exfoliating acids,” Danville, California-based board-certified dermatologist Samantha Ellis, M.D. adds. Despite the similar ingredients in their formulations, it isn’t advised to use a body mask on your face. “Body masks can be formulated with ingredients of a higher potency, so they are often not recommended for use on the face,” says Hatzis.
How to choose the right mask
Finding the perfect blend of ingredients is key to getting the most benefits out of your mask, but first, identify the issue you want to address. Acne-prone folks should be on the lookout for ingredients with antibacterial and detoxifying benefits like retinol and azelaic acid, says Dr. Peredo. Clay-based masks, like ones made with bentonite or kaolin have those detoxifying properties you’re looking for.