Sheet masks can keep our skin looking its most radiant, whether they’re hydrating, de-puffing, brightening, or tightening — and they are undoubtedly relaxing. So naturally, we completely understand trying to get the most out of their skin-benefitting ingredients. But for those of us who let the serum-soaked cloths dry upon our faces, or even let them sit on skin for just a teensy bit longer than the suggested time noted on the back of the packet, it might be time to reconsider.
Leaving a sheet mask on for too long can severely damage your skin, explains Shari Marchbein, a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. “Letting a sheet mask dry on your face, or even just leaving the mask on longer than recommended, can allow even seemingly innocuous ingredients to dry and irritate the skin, which is the exact opposite of its intended purpose,” she tells Allure. Some of those ingredients include charcoal, tea tree oil, plant extracts, acids. “Really, anything left on the skin too long can be irritating,” she says.
Soko Glam founder and Korean-beauty expert Charlotte Cho does not suggest letting a sheet mask dry on your face, either. “There’s a reason why your sheet mask usually has how-to instructions that recommend putting on the sheet mask for 20 minutes,” she says. “Your skin will soak in the ingredients for a period of time, but after that, it can have the reverse effect.”
Cho says when a dry sheet mask is left on the skin, it will “draw the moisture away from your face.” The best way to avoid unwanted irritation and dehydration is to use the treatment for no more than 20 minutes. Oh, and don’t even think about sleeping with a sheet mask on. The next time you’re getting a little too relaxed, snap out of your slumber and peel off that mask — otherwise, your K-beauty fave may end up doing more harm than good.
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