To clay or not to clay? Putting on a face mask may not be one of the most glamorous of beauty treatments, but it may just prove to be one of the more vital. Taking twenty minutes out of your day to pop on a face mask while you watch TV, read through mails or cook can work to your skin’s advantage and help you get perfect skin.

We consulted with Dr Nomphelo Gantsho, The Cape Skin Doctor, to get some masking facts and advice on how to use face masks for better skin health and to give us the low-down on clay masks.

What do clay masks do?

Clay masks help draw oil and dirt to the surface of the skin. They contain clay and kaolin for their tightening and sebum-absorbing effects.

Who should be using face masks?

Anyone who has time to apply a face mask and enjoy “me time” can use a mask.

The perceived effects of a facial mask treatment include revitalizing, healing, or refreshing and may yield temporary or long-term benefits depending on lifestyle.

When is it best to apply a face mask?

One can apply a face mask at any time, though night time application is popular.

Apply a face mask after washing your face when you want to relax. Most masks need to be left on the face for 20 minutes after application.

A good tip is to use steam from a shower to open pores on your face while masking. This will soften dirt already in your pores, making it easier for impurities to leave your skin and also make your face more susceptible to taking in the ingredients in your mask.

How do face masks work to better skin?

Depending on their ingredients, masks can work to improve your skin concerns.

If you have dry or dehydrated skin, a facial mask should hydrate your skin. If your skin is red or inflamed, a mask should calm and soothe skin. If your skin is oily and congested, then a facial mask can help draw out impurities from the skin making it better.

Reasons for applying a mask can be due to the following:

Deep cleansing:

Sure, cleansing each day helps to clean your skin by removing oil, make-up and impurities from the surface of the skin – but only a good facial mask can help to draw out impurities that hide beneath the top layers of the epidermis. Masks are incredible at providing a deeper cleanse, which leads to an improvement in the appearance of pores that you can see and feel.

DESTINY RECOMMENDS:

L’Oréal Pure Clay Detox Mask, R150

Glowing skin:

Masks can help stimulate blood circulation. The process of the mask drying on your skin and beginning to harden, along with the removal of the mask, causes an expansion in the blood vessels in your skin. This ensures an overall improvement in skin tone. You’ll be left with softer-feeling and smoother-looking skin, and you’ll also notice a radiant glow and more refreshed appearance. So, relax and wait for your skin to transform.

DESTINY RECOMMENDS:

L’Oréal Pure Clay Glow Mask, R150

Unclogging pores:

We all know that clogged pores are nothing but trouble. Impurities can get trapped in your pores and bacteria can develop. Once that bacteria starts to grow it will be all over your skin and soon you’ll get a blemish, a flurry of breakouts or even one giant pimple that will wreak havoc on your life for several days. Regular face masks help to keep the surface of your skin clean and our pores unclogged. This is an excellent reason to use your face mask right now.

DESTINY RECOMMENDS:

L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity Mask

Are there any instances where a person should not be using a face mask?

Those with sensitive skin are advised to first test out a mask on a small portion of the skin, in order to check that it will not irritate the skin.

If the mask burns your skin while it’s on, then wash it off immediately. Never continue using a mask that irritates your skin in any way.

Dr Nomphelo Gantsho (www.capeskindoctor.com)