by Dr. Stacy Matthews Branch
When thinking about beauty spas, one of the main images that may come to mind is that of lying down relaxing while reaping the benefits of a skin-rejuvenating facial mask. However, getting a face mask doesn’t have to be a luxury, and it has skin health benefits that we all can avail ourselves of. Purchased or homemade masks have some core properties that help to address a number of issues with the skin. There are various types of masks with varying properties that are used according to the skin care goal.
What makes a good face mask? People who have acne and blemish-prone skin can benefit from mask treatments that help remove dead skin and excess oil. Masks that add moisture provide relief for those with a tendency toward dry skin. However, if cleansing is the goal, a mask can serve as an invigorating skin treatment. This is because most ingredients used for the different variety of masks contain antioxidants that limit damage to proteins, fats, and other skin cell components.
One skin care substance that is indispensable in masks and other skin treatment products is astaxanthin. What is astaxanthin? This is a powerful, yet gentle antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Laboratory research with skin cells showed that treatment of the cells with astaxanthin was able to suppress ultraviolet B-induced secretion of damaging inflammatory molecules (1). Arnica has anti-inflammatory and healing properties by acting on immune cells called macrophages (2). This is why it has much utility in bruise and other traumatic skin healing.
Witch hazel has been around for years as a skin toner, but it also has anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties (3). The extract from the bark of the willow tree contains an aspirin-like substance that has contributed to its use for pain for centuries. It also contains tannins that act as astringents and flavonoids that are great antioxidants. These help to exfoliate the skin, combat acne, and provide anti-aging effects (4). Cytotone Facial Scrub & Mask contains these healthful skincare ingredients that cleanse, rejuvenate, and promote the skin’s healing abilities. This combined with a candle or smokeless incense after a steamy shower will give you a spa-quality home facial therapy - a luxury we all deserve.
1. Tominaga K, Hongo N, Fujishita M, Takahashi Y, Adachi Y. Protective effects of astaxanthin on skin deterioration. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2017;61(1):33-39.
2. Marzotto M, Bonafini C, Olioso D, et al. Arnica montana Stimulates Extracellular Matrix Gene Expression in a Macrophage Cell Line Differentiated to Wound-Healing Phenotype. Rajasingh J, ed. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(11):e0166340.
3.Korting HC, Schäfer-Korting M, Hart H, Laux P, Schmid M. Anti-inflammatory
activity of hamamelis distillate applied topically to the skin. Influence of
vehicle and dose. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1993;44(4):315-8.
4. Bassino E, Gasparri F, Munaron L. Pleiotropic Effects of White Willow Bark and
1,2-Decanediol on Human Adult Keratinocytes. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2017 Nov
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