If your skin’s been looking dull or you suddenly find a few dark spots popping up on the surface, you might want to add a brightening face mask to your routine. A brightening mask’s main job is to, well, brighten your skin. But according to dermatologist Francesca Fusco, brightening masks can help with a plethora of other common skin care problems, such as dark spots, dullness and dryness. Here are just some of the ways brightening masks help your skin:
1. Fade Dark Spots
“Dark spots are usually secondary to sun damage or the result of a scar or a very inflamed persistent blemish,” explains Fusco. Certain ingredients present in brightening masks, like licorice, azelaic acid and vitamin C, can help fade them by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme that fuels pigment and disperses melanin onto the skin, says Fusco. Other ingredients like arbutin and kojic acid also help lighten the appearance of dark spots.
2. Slough Off Dull, Dead Skin
Skin gets dull because of the buildup of dead skin cells on our faces. Some brightening masks feature exfoliating ingredients, like retinoids, glycolic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids, to help slough them away and unveil softer skin, explains Dr. Fusco.
3. Hydrate Dry Skin and Soften Wrinkles
With dead skin out of the way, your skin also gets all the nutrients and benefits of your other skin care products. Some brightening masks also contain hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, which “plumps skin and improves radiance,” says Fusco.
How to Choose a Brightening Mask
When it comes to choosing a brightening mask, reading the label and knowing the key ingredients will tell you whether a mask is right for your skin type or your skin concern. If you’re on acne medication or have very dry skin, for example, you’ll want to avoid face masks with a high concentration of retinol, advises Fusco. “It can further dry skin,” she says.
Not sure where to start? Below are our top brightening face masks for your skin type.