Common Mistakes Using Homemade Face Masks

We often think the idea of natural ingredients must automatically mean a treatment is safe for our skin, but unfortunately that is not true. Homemade or DIY face masks carry the same risks as when we put essential oils on our skin - they can be potent and very damaging, exposing us to skin irritation and compromising the skin's protective barrier. With homemade face masks, it's important to understand the benefits of each ingredient and remember to patch test.

Common mistakes:

  1. Using them too frequently. Homemade face masks should be used a maximum of once per week.
  2. For masks that require heating/cooking, remember to let them cool (or at least reach lukewarm temperature) before applying to your face.
  3. While it's true that gelatin can dry and clean out your pores, it still doesn't work as well as pore strips (such as Boscia blackhead removal pore strips).
  4. Cinnamon has some antibacterial properties, which helps with acne, and it can also gently exfoliate our skin. Beware, however, that cinnamon can also be very irritating to the skin.
  5. A common misconception is that clay masks can regenerate skin tissue or "get rid of" impurities, which is unfortunately false, but it can help control oil, which indirectly helps acne.
  6. Cocoa powder is another popular ingredient, though dermatologists say the particles are probably too big to help the face very much, other than make it smell like chocolate.
  7. Lemon juice (or lime, or any other citrus fruit) is a common topic of debate due to its acidity. In actuality, unless you have an open sore, citrus juice will not penetrate deep enough into your skin to change our pH. It is very superficial, slightly antibacterial, and only gently exfoliates the surface of your skin. Beware, however, of going under the sun with citric juice still on your face. UV rays and citric juice can cause a very dangerous chemical burn called phytophotodermatitis. Also be careful not to get it in your eyes. Otherwise, however, lemon juice and other citric juices do not pose that much of a danger to your body.
  8. While it's true that eggs contain good vitamins, those vitamins will not actually enter your body through the skin on your face. You would need to eat the egg in order to reap the benefits of those vitamins. This goes for all other ingredients in homemade face masks that claim they "do wonders" because of the vitamins or nutrients they contain. Unfortunately, these nutrients do not permeate through body skin into the body.
  9. Rubbing face masks into your face is also a common mistake - masks are meant to be applied and then given time to set; they are not scrubs. Masks containing baking soda, salt, sugar, or other slightly abrasive ingredients should be carefully applied to the face and then left alone.
  10. Coconut oil is a great antiseptic, but be careful, because for some it also clogs pores (even if you are not typically acne-prone). This would be a good ingredient to patch test first. It does not prevent wrinkles or improve UV defense, contrary to popular claims.
  11. A final common mistake with face mask is leaving them on for too long - you may think waiting until the mask is absolutely dry means you've gotten the most out of the mask, but this could actually be detracting from the mask experience. A dry mask might suck all the vitamins out of your skin. So remember, 10-15 minutes!
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