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Skin care and rejuvenation by cosmeceutical facial mask
Mohammad Ali Nilforoushzadeh MD
Mohammad Amir Amirkhani MD, PhD
Abolfazl Salehi Moghaddam MS
Tina Mehrabi MS
Mahsa Mollapour Sisakht PhD
Skin and Stem Cell Research Center,
Tehran University of Medical Sciences,
School of Chemical Engineering, College of
Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran,
Correspondence: Mahsa Mollapour Sisakht,
Skin and Stem Cell Research Center, Tehran
University of Medical Sciences, No. 4,
Maryam Dead End, South Andarzgoo Blvd.,
Kamraniyeh Ave., PO Box 13145‐784,
Tehran, Iran (Mahsamollapur@yahoo.com).
Skin health is an important aspect of aesthetics. Dermatologists and scientists try to
develop novel methods and materials to fulfill this aim. Facial cosmetics keep skin
moist and remove sebum from the skin to maintain proper skin health. The use of
suitable cosmetics according to the facial skin type results in healthy skin. Facial
masks are the most prevalent cosmetic products utilized for skin rejuvenation. Facial
masks are divided into four groups: (a) sheet masks; (b) peel‐off masks; (c) rinse‐off
masks; and (d) hydrogels. Each of these has some advantages for specific skin types
based on the ingredients used. The following article presents the available informa-
tion about the facial mask. Also, we have focused on the facial masks available in
the market. Despite several developments in this field, extensive research is
required for performing successful and precise clinical trials in the future. Further
improvements would enable the researchers to develop new products in this field.
In this review, we present the most recent breakthroughs in the field of skin care
and rejuvenation by cosmeceutical facial mask. This information is valuable to get
the picture of the latest trends and also helpful for clinicians and related manufac-
facial rejuvenation, formulation, rejuvenation, skin barrier, skin care
Skin is the largest organ and serves as a barrier to the entry of
microbes into the body. Thus, skin health is an important aspect of
personal health. Moreover, it has a psychosocial effect on people
There has been no standard classification of
facial skin types till date. Helena Rubinstein in 1900s described four
fundamental types of skin, and this information has been used for
many years by the cosmeceutical industry. It seems, due to the
developments in the field of cosmetic products, the traditional desig-
nations for skin types that were based on only a fraction of skins
were not suitable. Leslie Baumann in 2008 introduced an innovative
approach to classify skin into 16 types that is more functional and
categorizes the facial skin types based on some features such as dry
or oily, sensitive or resistant, pigmented or not pigmented, and wrin-
kled or unwrinkled (tight).
The skin type may vary during the lifetime due to variation in
the sebum secretion.
Sebum secretion is not uniform on the whole
area of the face. Forehead, nose, both cheeks, and chin are the
sebum measurement areas. The normal average skin sebum secretion
for the whole face is 118.7‐180.9 µg/cm
, and the acidity level is
5.6‐6 due to the presence of acid in secreted sebum, sweat, and ker-
atin. The average sebum secretion for dry, oily, and combination
type skin is 97.3‐147.6, 204.6‐235.4, and 109.8‐145.5 µg/cm
The skin cosmetic materials are formulated according
to the skin type. The cosmetics should moisturize the skin and wipe
out the sebum and contaminants to facilitate a healthy skin.
Received: 29 January 2018
Revised: 12 May 2018
Accepted: 22 June 2018
J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;1–10. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jocd ©2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
skin water content (stratum corneum hydration state) plays a signifi-
cant role in skin health, aesthetics, and glow.
Skin delicacy can be
affected by ultraviolet (UV) exposure (sun damage), senescence,
dehydration, stress, medication, and regime type. The cosmetic prod-
ucts should be nonacnegenic, noncomedogenic, and hypoallergenic
to have an effectual influence on the skin.
Facial masks are accessi-
ble merchandizes, can be easily applied, and show instant effects on
the skin. Bioactive ingredients with different mechanisms are added
to the masks to endow them with rejuvenation properties, including
moisturizers, exfoliants, lightening and herbal ingredients, different
kinds of vitamins, proteins, minerals, growth factor (GF), and other
materials such as honey and coenzyme Q. It is expected that the
applied mask would moisturize the skin properly and deeply, remove
the sebum, and rejuvenate the skin. The skin masks usually have
pseudoplastic properties for a handy application. They are available
in different forms such as gel, emulsion, sheet, and paste. In this
review, we present categorized information about the type and
ingredients of facial masks. We believe that this study will be of
interest to the researcher and mask production companies to design
effective, valuable, and notable masks.
TYPE OF MASKS
The sheet mask is an old kind of mask and more commonly available
than other types, due to the long period of availability in the market.
From a recent study conducted by National Purchase Diary
Panel Inc. group in the United States, the sale of masks increased by
about 60%, overwhelming the other categories in the skin care busi-
The most important concern about sheet mask is the differ-
ent artificial fragrances and dyes, parabens, and phthalate esters
used that can be harmful to the skin. Some physicians believe that
the sheet masks are often not designed for oily skin or acne prone
skin because of an increase in the number of bacteria on the surface
skin. Besides, sheet mask prevents quick evaporation of water phase
and extends the time frame the ingredients require to penetrate
deep into the skin. Depending on the brand, sheet mask can contain
various ingredients that are commonly used, such as Aloe Vera and
vitamin C, to more unusual ones such as pearl, snail extract, and sea-
weed. The different types of sheet masks can be categorized based
on the variety of the fabric types. It seems coarse texture kind of
masks is the least expensive and advanced, produced through
biotechnology processes. Pulp masks with a finer texture, hydrogel
masks, bio‐cellulose masks,
foil sheet masks, knit cotton masks,
ampoule sheet mask, and bubbling sheet masks (usually made from
charcoal and detoxifying ingredients with the addition of sparkling
are the different types of sheet masks. On the other hand,
recently, use of homemade mask has increased due to some reasons
such as high price of the professional mask and people's desire to
use natural resources, but long‐term effectiveness, availability of dif-
ferent recipes, and nonclassification of the use of the materials
regarding the suitability for different type of skins has resulted in a
market for industrial products. The purpose of this part is to review
the different types of most popular and available sheet masks in the
market based on the materials. The sheet mask materials make them
different in shape and structure. Except for some of the sheet masks
mentioned above, cream mask and masks that are stiff in the air
after application are the other types of masks that we have ignored
because of the need for an extensive study which will require a sep-
arate article. We think this classification can be useful in understand-
ing the difference between the different types of sheet masks.
Rinseable masks are of several different types, such as moisturiz-
ing, cleansing, toning, exfoliating, waxy, and mud masks. Waxy
masks are usually used for dry skin to regulate the epidermal
hydration level and restrict the transepidermal water loss. The
water content balance between the stratum corneum and skin sur-
face lipid is an important factor in skin appearance. Polyherbal for-
mulations are very promising in this regard because of their
capability of retaining moisture and natural organic sources. Syn-
thetic materials are also used in moisturizers, but they have some
drawbacks. For example, propylene glycol which is used as a
humectant can cause allergic reaction, hives, and eczema. Petrola-
tum used as an emollient and occlusive agent can cause dryness
and chopping as side effects. Paraben has antimicrobial feature,
but it can cause allergic reaction and skin rashes. Diethanolamine
is used as an emulsifier but irritates the skin; diazolidinyl urea, imi-
dazolidinyl urea, and benzalkonium chloride are used as preserva-
tives, but their side effect is contact dermatitis. Herbal moisturizers
consist of soy lecithin, glycerin, and Aloe vera (containing barbaloin,
aloe‐emodin, aloesin, amino acids, enzymes, vitamins) as humectant;
triple distilled water, Triticum sativum, and Trigonella foenum grae-
cum as emollient/occlusive agents; Cucumis sativus (containing silica,
vitamin C, folic acid) as adhesives/emollient; Acacia as an emulsi-
fier; Azadirachta indica (Neem) as preservative; Santalum alba (san-
dal oil) for fragrance; and rose water for cooling effect/fragrance.
The herbal mask is a type of rinse‐off mask that is nonallergic and
nontoxic. Grace et al
synthesized a herbal mask using Cajanus
cajan, green gram, sandalwood, almond, turmeric, rose petals, and
green tea leaves that improves blood circulation, rejuvenates the
skin, and restores the skin elasticity.
Some materials such as clay, which is frequently used in cosmetic
preparations, have no proper and handy applicability; thus, they are
immobilized on the substrate to have a facile usage. These types
of masks form a film on the skin which can be easily peeled out.
Most of the peel‐off masks are based on polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) or
polyvinyl acetate (PVAc), which cause occlusion and tensor effect.
Various materials such as herbal soap, moisturizer, plasticizer, fra-
grances, and preservative can be embedded in the mask. Various
formulations are utilized for masks, but generally, their applicability
NILFOROUSHZADEH ET AL.
is controlled by drying agents, such as alcohol, and matrix concen-
tration. Alcohol, due to its lower vapor pressure than water, is fre-
quently used as a drying agent that controls the application time.
The higher the concentration of alcohol the less the drying time
required. The matrix concentration determines the viscosity, film
formation, and thickness of application. This concentration should
be optimized to prepare an appropriate mask for the application.
The application time depends on the ingredients of the mask.
Various herbals have been used in masks for different purposes,
such as apple used as an antioxidant, walnut as an emollient,
orange peel as an astringent and toner, cucumber as a soothing
agent, and beetroot as an acne reduction agent.
A mask for acne
vulgaris treatment was synthesized based on tretinoin (medication
for acne) with glycerin as the humectant (increases the skin hydra-
tion) and sodium metabisulfite as the antioxidant in PVA matrix.
Beringhs et al used green clay and Aloe vera in PVA matrix as a
peel‐off mask which exhibited antimicrobial features. Green clay
has dermatological use and eliminates dirt, dead skin cells, and
Different types of clay have cosmeceutical usage such as
smectite, illite, kaolinite, and chrolite.
Aloe Vera has antioxidant
and anti‐inflammatory properties and, also, sterilizes the application
area and has a synergistic effect with clay.
It was reported that
chitosan has a filmogenic property. Its molecular weight determines
the evaporation rate, flexibility, and stability of the mask. Chitosan
derivatives such as succinyl chitosan have a high water retention
capacity which is suitable for the cosmetic application.
(retinoic acid) is used for acne and wrinkle treatment. It is loaded
in PVA for use in facial masks.
Pichayakorn et al
teinized natural rubber latex to make a facial mask which exhibited
good elasticity and modulus. The entrapment of Prunus spinosa in
polymer matrices resulted in a sustained release formulation that
increased the mask efficiency.
Hydrogels are 3D networks of polymers in which water can be
absorbed several times the gel weight. Hydrogel masks are usually
used for sensitive skins with cooling and soothing effects. Silk ser-
icin embedded in nanocellulose was applied as a facial mask and
exhibited proper biological features for facial treatment.
boxymethylcellulose (CMC) was also used as a reinforcement for
Dillenia is an indigenous fruit of southeast-
ern Asia rich in pectin. The gelatinous pulp of Dillenia was used as
a gel‐like facial mask. It was shown to have a suitable viscosity,
pH, and antioxidant properties.
Antimicrobial, antioxidant, and
anti‐inflammatory Neem leaf hydrocolloids (native to India, Nepal,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) were embedded in an anti-
acne gel for facial mask usage.
In one clinical trial, 10 volunteers
used Neem mask for 15 days. No skin irritation was observed;
moreover, the skin oiliness and acne decreased, and the skin com-
Acacia nilotica Del. fruits (Qarad) and Quercus
infectoria Olive. galls embedded in PVA hydrogel showed antibac-
terial effect as well.
INGREDIENTS OF FACIAL MASK AND
MECHANISMS OF ACTION
The ingredients that are used to prepare the facial masks can vary
depending on the brand and shape of the mask. The summarized
schematic view of these ingredients is shown in Figure 1.
There are many factors that cause the generation of reactive oxygen
species (ROS); some of them are well known, and some are not yet
fully understood. The changes in cellular respiration and generation
is only one of the causes of skin aging. Vitamins A, C, and
E are used more in facial masks than the other vitamins. Vitamins
are important agents for eliminating the ROS, which can be used in
Vitamin C (L‐ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C plays an active role as an antioxidant and to eliminate
ROS that can cause damage to nucleic acids, proteins, and cell mem-
branes. The level of vitamin C decreases with age. Topical vitamin C
increases the messenger RNA (mRNA) level of collagen I and III and
their processing enzymes in the human body.
Topical vitamin C
has been reported to improve wound healing
and reduce facial
improve the appearance of photoaged skin, and protect
against immediate effects of UV radiation.
Also, this vitamin can
increase collagen synthesis and help in the prevention of skin aging.
Vitamin C derivatives such as ascorbyl palmitate, ascorbyl
tetraisopalmitate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate with emulsion
formulation are used in the pharmaceutical industry due to their bet-
ter stability in comparison with ascorbic acid.
Antioxidants such as
vitamin C act by neutralizing the singlet oxygen cascade and, there-
fore, limit the formation of ROS.
Minor adverse reactions such as
skin irritation and oxidative changes due to vitamin C causing yellow
staining of the skin and clothes, and hypopigmented hair can
Rarely, contact dermatitis has also been reported.
Vitamin C has the potential to enhance the density of dermal papil-
lae, perhaps through the mechanism of angiogenesis. Topical vitamin
C may have therapeutic effects by partially correcting the regressive
structural changes associated with the aging process.
The aging of skin results in the breakdown of collagen and elastin
network in the skin.
Vitamin A1 decreases collagenase level and
regulates keratinization. Retinol is also effective in the treatment of
acne, reducing wrinkles, and increasing the skin protection against
In different studies, a nanofiber mask containing
ascorbic acid, retinoic acid, gold nanoparticle, and the antiwrinkle
agent was used in a dried form of the mask because of the advan-
tage of controlled release after addition of water; this increases the
stability of antioxidants and shelf life of the mask.
NILFOROUSHZADEH ET AL.
Vitamin E or tocopherol
There are eight types of vitamin E (α‐,β‐,γ‐, and σ‐tocopherols and
their related corresponding tocotrienols). γ‐tocopherol levels are the
highest in the human skin.
Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant.
Its nonantioxidant function can protect the integrity of the tissues.
Vitamin E is a lipid‐soluble nonenzymatic antioxidant and anti‐inflam-
matory agent that protects the skin from the adverse effects of
oxidative stress and scavenges free oxygen radicals that increase in
the aged skin or during photoaging.
Also, vitamin E in the skin can
inhibit the production of prostaglandin E2 and nitric oxide and also
prevent sunburn, UV B‐induced lipid peroxidation, and edema.
Therefore, it has a role in the protection of epidermis from oxidative
stress. Vitamin E also has a role in photoadduct formation and
Most of the over‐the‐counter antiaging
creams contain 0.5%‐1% of vitamin E.
Vitamin B3 or niacinamide
During the 1970s, various clinical trials highlighted the good skin
penetration of niacinamide, and since then, scientists have been
increasingly interested in exploring the topical effects of niacinamide
and its application for skin care. Niacinamide has several proposed
medicinal applications in the skin including anti‐inflammatory
prevention of photoimmunosuppression,
intercellular lipid synthesis.
Also, niacinamide is an effective skin
lightening compound that works by inhibiting the melanosome trans-
fer from melanocytes to keratinocytes.
Proteins are effective substances for the skin's resistance and rejuve-
nation. Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the dermal
layer of skin which reduces with age. It is widely used in facial masks
as the peptide form. Although this material is highly advertised and
suitable for cosmetic products, it still exhibits limitations in use due
to its low permeability into the upper layer of skin or stratum cor-
neum. The ability to penetrate depends on factors including the
physicochemical properties of the substance such as molecular size,
stability, solubility, and the acid dissociation constant, the number of
molecular hydrogen bonding groups, integrity, thickness and compo-
nents of the skin, skin metabolism, area, and the duration of applica-
tion. Proteins with a higher number of hydrogen bonds and
numerous large molecules have less permeability into the skin.
Growth factor levels in the body peak in the youth and decline
thereafter. It has been hypothesized that skin aging is related to the
Red rice bran
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)
Most Important Ingredients in Facial Mask
FIGURE 1 Most important ingredients
in facial mask
NILFOROUSHZADEH ET AL.
level of the cytokines and GFs in the body. Besides collagen, GFs
with special cell signaling mechanisms are the most used agents in
the cosmeceutical industries. Due to the high technology needed for
using GFs, cosmetic products with GFs are very expensive.
The low permeability of GFs and certain formulations necessi-
tates the use of a proper vehicle to deliver this material to the skin.
One of the common ways to utilize GFs is using a liposomal struc-
ture. A liposome is a spheroid form of lipid that can carry small
amounts of molecules because of the lipid content which dissolves
in the lipid cell wall and enters the skin cells. Any topical drug or
agent should be lipid‐soluble, rather than water‐soluble, to have a
good skin permeability through the stratum corneum, or enhancers
are to be used. Protein transduction domain (PTD) technology shows
better permeability compared with the existing liposomal structure.
This technology solves the problem of using small sized molecules in
a liposome and enables the effective delivery of macromolecules and
large proteins into the skin. ADBIOTECH
Company has used this
technology to integrate PTD and GFs (PTD‐EGF, PTD‐FGF). This
technology shows increased elasticity and antioxidant effects in the
The topical application of human‐or animal‐derived GFs may
also increase the dermal collagen synthesis, and this is associated
with reduced signs of skin aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
After reviewing the markets, we found that epidermal growth factor
(EGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF), which have a significant
influence on the skin, are widely used in cosmeceutical products
such as creams, lotions, and facial masks. Topical GFs successfully
penetrate the stratum corneum and bind to specific receptors on
keratinocytes. Fabi and Sundaram in 2014 demonstrated that, after
the binding of GFs to receptors, GFs secreted by the keratinocytes
could stimulate fibroblasts to synthesize GFs that exerted effects in
Fibroblast‐derived GFs also stimulate keratinocyte pro-
liferation, resulting in amplification of the initial signaling pathways.
It seems that this is an area where the cosmetic companies should
be focusing regarding the research and development of liposomal
delivery systems and bringing more masks with GFs to the market.
Nowadays, herbal ingredients have been highly regarded in the cos-
metics industry because of their historical and traditional importance.
The increasing use of natural plant ingredients in personal care prod-
ucts raises new safety issues that require novel approaches for their
safety evaluation similar to those of plant‐derived food ingredients.
Use of these substances provide essential nutrients for healthy skin
and positively influence the biological functions of the skin
anti‐inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
ingredients are used in facial care products, but we have listed the
herbal substances that are used in face masks more than the other
Aloe vera is composed of polysaccharides, enzymes, vitamins
(B2, B6, C, and E), minerals (selenium and manganese), and amino
acids such as proline and salicylic acid that provide hydration,
smoothness, and elasticity to the damaged skin, especially the skin
that is affected by free radicals.
A study was recently conducted
by Reveny et al on the formulations with different concentrations
of Aloe vera extract and the evaluation of the effectiveness of this
face mask with antiaging effect on the volunteer's skin. The
results showed that increasing concentrations of Aloe vera extract
increase the antiaging potential of the mask.
Aloe vera exhibits a
variety of pharmacological properties such as antioxidant, antimi-
crobial, anticancer, immunomodulatory,
hyperlipidemic, and antidiabetic properties. Aloe vera is
also used in traditional medicines for the treatment of cuts, burns,
and eczema. Nowadays, many industries use Aloe vera extract
because of its special properties.
Aloe vera is one of the plants
that are widely used directly, without any processing, as traditional
herbal remedies for inflammation, skin moisturizing, and antiacne
and antiallergic effects. Chandegara and Varshney
reviewed the different processing methods and their effects on
the amount of biologically active components extracted from dif-
ferent Aloe vera formulations.
Choosing an effective method, proper handling, and careful har-
vesting are the most important parameters in the processing of the
plant. Improper processing could decrease the amount and quality of
the extracts with no active ingredients.
They emphasized that
fresh gel could be more effective as a mask, and cold processing is
the best method of use that preserves the beneficial properties.
Also, they showed that temperature is the main factor for the pro-
cessing of Aloe vera and, in particular, gel extraction process.
Besides these advantages, Aloe vera can provoke allergenic reactions
such as contact dermatitis.
Red rice bran is a byproduct of rice which is rich in antioxidants
such as tocopherol, tocotrienols, and gamma‐oryzanol and have more
antioxidant activities compared with the white rice bran. A recent
study on a peel‐off gel mask containing red rice bran extract used
three types of materials with this extract (PVA, hydroxypropyl
methylcellulose, and gelatin). PVA showed better physical properties
within 8 weeks, whereas the gelatin‐based mask had the highest
Green tea has more antioxidant properties than vitamins C and E.
This combination has anti‐inflammatory, anticancer, antibacterial, and
Parsley is useful in controlling sebum. This plant has large
amounts of vitamins (C, A, B, E, K, and beta‐carotene) and minerals
(magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, potassium, sulfur,
and calcium). An in vivo study to evaluate the effect of the peel‐off
mask of parsley powder showed that the mask containing this
extract at a concentration of 4% was effective for oil control.
Clay, zinc oxide, sulfur, gold, copper, and silver are minerals that can
be used in face masks. Sulfur is known in dermatology for its
antibacterial, antifungal, and corneolytic properties.
Clay is used as
an ingredient in medicine and aesthetic and cosmetic products. In
addition to its cleansing (scrub) and skin moisturizing properties, it is
NILFOROUSHZADEH ET AL.
effective in the treatment of lip dystrophy in the early stages and in
reducing cellulite and acne
(pore minimalist mask from Dr Jart).
Also, clay is used widely in face masks for skin toning
mask from L’Oreal Co. Ltd).
Nanoparticles of gold (LEXON nan-
otech Co. Ltd.)
and Silver Cosil whitening mask (natural Korea
are used in different forms of cosmeceutical products and
show antimicrobial and antifungal properties. The new generations
of masks that contain silver are very effective in sterilization and
help to reduce the skin pore size, and prevent and treat acne.
Also, different studies have shown that nanoparticles of zinc oxide
have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, respec-
Bee's honey is a nutritious natural substance widely used in cosmetic
treatment. Honey is used in preparing facial washes, skin moisturiz-
ers, hair conditioners, in the treatment of pimples,
and in healing
of wounds and ulcers
as an antioxidant, antibacterial, anti‐in-
flammatory, and antiviral agent.
In the cosmetic formulations, it
exerts emollient, humectant, soothing, and hair conditioning effects,
keeps the skin youthful, retards wrinkle formation, regulates pH, and
prevents infections by pathogens,
especially in combination with
other materials listed above.
The compounds present in honey are carbohydrates (fructose),
18 free amino acids, water, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phospho-
rous, magnesium, selenium, chromium, manganese, proteins,
enzymes, and vitamins such as vitamin B
, and vita-
which are essential elements for the production of erythro-
The used amounts range from 1% to 10%, but
concentrations up to 70% can be achieved by mixing with oils, gel,
and emulsifiers, or polymer entrapment in facial mask.
new features of honey discovered by the recent studies are useful.
The recent in vitro studies have shown that honey can reduce
microbial pathogenicity as well as reverse antimicrobial resistance.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or ubiquinone is the most important carrier
of electrons in cellular respiration and is effective in the treatment
of damaged and aged skin. The skin requires various enzymatic and
nonenzymatic antioxidant complexes such as glutathione peroxidase,
superoxide dismutase, and catalase and low molecular weight antiox-
idants such as vitamin E isoforms, vitamin C, glutathione (GSH), uric
acid, and ubiquinol.
CoQ10 is a nonenzymatic agent that can stim-
ulate repair processes as a natural antioxidant, removing the dam-
aged biomolecules before they accumulate to cause altered cell
metabolism or viability
Based on clinical studies, CoQ10 is
more effective in the presence of other elements such as vitamins
(vitamins A, C, D, and B6) and the amino acids arginine, cysteine,
methionine, glutathione, and carnitine.
CoQ10 formulation and
ethanol can facilitate the penetration of substances into the stratum
Removing dead cells and debris from the epidermis or scrubbing is
one of the popular ways to maintain moisture, refresh the skin, keep
the pores clean, and improve local blood circulation. Homemade nat-
ural or organic exfoliating treatments that are derived from tradi-
tional medicine, which are related to the culture and available
material in each country, are regularly used, but their active ingredi-
ents are in small quantities, and in some cases, they cannot get rid
of the upper layer of skin, especially for removing a scar. Physician's
advice using chemical exfoliants as part of skin care treatments to
increase the penetration of the drugs. Recently, products that con-
tain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are marketed widely and used for
different purposes depending on the concentration, such as smooth-
ing fine lines and surface wrinkles, improving skin texture and tone,
unblocking and cleansing pores, and for adjustment of pH (the
degree of acidity or alkalinity). More recently, beta hydroxy acids
(BHAs) or a combination of AHAs and BHAs are being used in skin
care products. While both AHAs and BHAs act as exfoliants, they
have an additional effect of improving the skin texture. The adverse
effects reported in the FDA website for AHA until 2004 are 114 in
number and include burning (45), dermatitis or rash (35), swelling
(29), pigmentary changes (15), blisters or welts (14), skin peeling (13),
itching (12), irritation or tenderness (8), chemical burns (6), and
increased sunburn (3). Although the reported adverse effects of AHA
have been considerably lower in the subsequent years, BHA has
been more commonly used in the cosmetic products. The ingredients
of BHA are salicylic acid (or related substances, such as salicylate,
sodium salicylate, and some natural material such as willow extract),
beta hydroxybutanoic acid, tropic acid, trethocanic acid, and on rare
occasions, citric acid. It is obvious that all the exfoliating agents can
act as a brightening factor for the skin.
Some useful ingredients such as brightening active factors have the
same function and can be used along with the other ingredients to
create a sense of satisfaction in the consumers. Some factors that
we mentioned above, such as vitamin C and E ,
AHA, and hydro-
quinone, are the gold standard in the United States for the treat-
ment of generalized facial hyperpigmentation.
It has been banned
in all the European countries (eg, France) because of the risk of can-
Azelaic acid, kojic acid, and retinoid family ingredients such as
tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene, and isotretinoin are the most pre-
scribed lightening factors by physicians. The depigmentation activity
of azelaic acid is mediated by antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects
on the melanocytes. Its most frequent side effects include transient
erythema and cutaneous irritation, characterized by scaling, itching,
and burning, which generally resolve after 2‐4 weeks of applica-
Kojic acid acts as a free radical scavenger and antioxi-
dant, and it decreases the melanin content in melanocytes by
inhibiting the conversion of melanin precursor to melanin.
NILFOROUSHZADEH ET AL.
acid had been found to cause allergic reactions, and it showed only
modest effectiveness in clinical trials. Multiple clinical studies have
demonstrated its increased sensitizing potential. Also, it is associated
with contact dermatitis and erythema.
Retinoid family demon-
strates anti‐inflammatory properties and acceleration of epidermal
They can disperse the keratinocyte pigmented gran-
ules. The most common adverse effects include burning, stinging,
erythema, dryness, desquamation, and scaling. Although the adverse
effects are reversible, retinoid dermatitis may itself lead to postin-
flammatory hyperpigmentation, especially in dark‐skinned individu-
Despite what has been described above, a majority in the
cosmetic industry prefer using vitamin (Niacinamide [B3] in SK‐II
Brightening Source Derm Revival Mask) or a natural source of
brightening agent such as clay (Mineral clay firming mask; St Ives
Co. Ltd) and Galactomyces Ferment Extract (SK‐II Facial Treatment
Masks), a genus of fungi that improves the human skin keratiniza-
tion, pores, sebum excretion, brightness, and acne.
Moisturizers contain <5% lipid ingredients namely hydrator, humec-
tants, glycerin (evo
, Hydrator moisture mask), lecithin, and propy-
lene glycol that have hydrophilic side and lipophilic to attach on the
skin and draw water into the outer layer of skin.
Also, AHAs such
as glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, sorbitol, lactic,
citric, and allantoin are used along with a hydrator in facial masks
which helps the dead skin cells shed off, helps the skin keep in more
water, and leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer. According to
, a manufacturer of antiaging skin care products,
erin helps to maintain the skin's water balance on an intercellular
level. Glycerin mimics what is known as the skin's natural moisturiz-
ing factor; it can significantly influence the water binding materials
in the stratum corneum (LANEIGE
Water Sleeping Mask).
the other hand, moisturizing products contain at most 25% of lipid.
Moisturizers provide certain lipids to protect the skin. The lipid stays
only on top of the skin, instead of being absorbed by the skin, to
form a transparent layer that prevents water loss. Emollients/mois-
turizers, such as aka oil, jojoba oil, marula oil, and shea butter, work
by forming an oily layer on top of the skin and trapping water.
As it has been described, skin sebum secretion necessitates the cre-
ation of special skin care products. Three types of cosmeceutical facial
masks are widely used for skin beautification. Different types of wash‐
off masks are available such as moisturizing, cleansing, exfoliating, and
mud types. The peel‐out mask can be embedded with various nutri-
ents to nourish the skin. Gel masks have cooling and moisturizing
effect. Moreover, skin nourishment factors can be added to the gel
mask for better performance. The facial mask used should be accord-
ing to the skin type to achieve healthy skin. It seems that, based on
the available market drivers, traditional medicine and natural ingredi-
ents are more favored by customers, but it is obvious that the efficacy
of chemical ingredients can alter the market. On the other hand, the
tendency to use new technology and advanced therapy is increasing.
It is recommended that the research and development section of the
market player companies in this area should pay attention to the use
of natural ingredients along with new technologies such as liposomal
transfer of GF and liposomal transfer of nanoparticle, represented by
nanotechnology and biotechnology science. We have tried to list the
more attractive kind of masks and their ingredients, but among the dif-
ferent types of masks available, the sheet mask is attractive due to its
easy application. However, a new generation of masks that contain
more effective ingredients with this capacity and which pass the skin
barrier is required with a different shape than that listed above.
Among the eight important categories of ingredients, proteins and
herbal ingredients are of interest to the customers and cosmetic
industry. In summary, an attempt to add different materials to the
facial mask could be an effective method to increase the market share,
besides the beneficial effects. Nowadays, a number of different facial
masks with different proposed effects are available in the market. Due
to the variety of materials that are proposed by traditional and modern
science to improve the facial mask properties, future studies on cellu-
lar and molecular signaling pathways and a comprehensive under-
standing of their role when used topically will play an important role in
designing a proper facial mask.
The author reports no conflict of interests in this work.
MahsaMollapour Sisakht http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0396-676X
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How to cite this article: Nilforoushzadeh MA, Amirkhani MA,
Zarrintaj P, et al. Skin care and rejuvenation by cosmeceutical
facial mask. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;00:1–10.
NILFOROUSHZADEH ET AL.