The Sheet Mask is the New Go-To Facial. But What is This Funky Looking Thing?

The popularity of the Korean sheet mask has surged in the U.S.

Even if you’re not familiar with the name, it’s possible you’ve seen them while scrolling Instagram.

They look similar to the mask worn by Friday the 13th villain Jason Voorhees. Celebrities have taken to posting photos with their masks. Chrissy Teigen posted a photo wearing a Korean sheet mask and joked she put on the “pretty filter.”

These one-time use masks are supposed to provide a burst of hydration, nutrients and in, some cases, anti-aging properties. But do they? Well, it’s unclear.

Are these masks worth the cost?

Most sheet masks retail for a couple bucks. Some higher-end Korean sheet masks, however, can cost upwards of $20. You can buy them at Whole Foods, or even clothing stores such as T.J. Maxx or in bulk on Amazon.

Do they work?

It’s hard to say. Sheet mask lovers swear by the products. Look at the reviews on Amazon; it’s clear there’s a sheet mask following. Some users say these masks are akin to a day at the spa. Yet there are no studies on their efficacy.

“I personally don’t recommend masks since it’s difficult to know and validate whether the ingredients in them are healthy for your skin,” said Dr. Vlad Ratushny, MD, PhD, a Lahey Health dermatologist at Massachusetts Dermatology Associates in Beverly, Massachusetts. “While some masks have a hydrogel base which can be very moisturizing, it doesn’t mean that it’s more moisturizing than effective moisturizing creams. Sheet masks supposedly claim to hold serums better but I don’t think there is any research data that supports that claim. So, overall, when it comes to Korean sheet masks, caveat emptor.” Or, buyers beware.

Speaking of ingredients, what’s in these things?

It’s difficult to generalize the ingredients list, as Dr. Ratushny alluded to above. Some masks have collagen, vitamins, or even snail secretions. The ingredients may depend on the purported function of the mask; Is the mask moisturizing or pore cleansing? If you have sensitive skin, be sure to look closely at these ingredients. Lastly, these masks can be messy! And they’re not always great if you have problems with acne.

If you have additional questions about sheet masks or skin care, speak with your Lahey Health dermatologist.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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