Skin saviours: Moisturising masks

BRONWYN WILLIAMS
Last updated 13:08 26/02/2013

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When do you use a face mask? When you're primping for a date, of course. But tug on the sleeve of any skincare pro and they'll tell you that face masks are actually a pretty vital part of your skincare regime, and something that shouldn't be reserved merely for slumber parties. 

Face masks promise to do a range of things, from firming and tightening skin, softening wrinkles to zapping pimples and reducing pores, but one of the latest and greatest face mask trends is to use them to give skin a deep moisturising boost.

"Hydrating the skin is extremely important" says Margaret Bartlett, NZ Education Manager for Estee Lauder group. "The human body is composed of approximately 60 per cent water and it needs a steady supply of water to function properly, your face requirements are no different."

When our skin is dehydrated the moisture barrier weakens, and you'll begin to notice the effects - rough and dry patches, redness, fine lines and an overall ashy appearance. 

"In our busy day-to-day lives, our skin faces an onslaught of factors that can cause dehydration" says Dr Nadine Pernodet Ph.D, Executive director of skin biology, research and development for Estee Lauder. "Exposure to constant shifts in humidity, air-conditioning, drinking alcohol, environmental assaults such as UV light, and even stress are among the top daily factors that can dehydrate your skin."

While water will rehydrate the body, hydrating masks act as a booster to replenish your weakened moisture barrier and give the skin a surge of good stuff.  

"When your skin becomes dehydrated, you may see certain visible signs," says Dr Pernodet. "What you don't see, however, is that dehydrated skin has a weakened barrier and is thus more vulnerable to daily irritants (for example pollution, cold temperatures, wind, UV, etc).  In this weakened and reactive state, skin becomes more susceptible to signs of premature aging."

But apart from the obvious dry spots, how do you know if your skin is dehydrated?

"Dehydrated skin is skin that has experienced moisture loss - which can be measured clinically," says Dr Pernodet. Most skincare counters have a dryness test they offer, and they vary from merely peering at your face to in-depth microscopic photographic inspections.  

"Dehydration could either be a chronic condition or an occasional event that occurs at a particular moment in time," explains Dr Pernodet. "Many women may not even know their skin is dehydrated."

Even crazier is that even if you have oily skin, your skin can still be dry. "Oily skin types can also experience dehydration," says Bartlett. "The recommendation is that you still moisturise, replenishing lost moisture with an oil-free product instead."

Experts recommend using a face mask two-to-three times a week for beautifully soft, plumped and scale-free skin. For the best mask for you, click through our gallery above, or just make your own all-natural option at home:

HOMEMADE MOISTURISING FACE MASK

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1 tbsp honey 

1 fresh, ripe avocado mashed

1 tbsp plain yoghurt

3 tbsp olive oil 

Combine all ingredients and then smear mixture over your face and neck (it's messy) and leave on for 20 minutes before washing off.

- Stuff

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