Are Under Eye Sheet Masks Worth It?

Shannon Farrell

under eye mask

Image: Shiseido

Who doesn’t love sheet masks? Not only do they boost our skin with antioxidants, but they prevent water evaporation—providing smooth, hydrated skin. Why stop there, right? Now sheet masks are being formulated specifically for the under eye area. But are there benefits to treating the under eye solo?

“The advantage to under eye sheet masks is that they offer targeted therapy to an area where we often need it most,” says Dr. Hadley King, MD, dermatologist at NYC-based SKINNEY Medspa. “Certainly moisturizing the whole face is not a bad thing, but often it’s our under eye area that usually shows our age, sleep status, allergy issues and hydration level first with fine lines, dark circles and puffiness.”

Under eye sheet masks allow you to focus on the fragile skin’s specific issue with certain ingredients.”You may want different ingredients at different concentrations for the under eye area because you’re trying to accomplish different things, and also the skin is different,” says dermatologist Dr. David Bank, author of Beautiful Skin: Every Womans Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age. While the entire face can benefit from hydrating properties like hyularonic acid or glycerin, you wouldn’t want an anti-inflammatory (like ginseng) on your entire face. You’d want to target it on the under eye to treat puffiness. Le Métier de Beauté Ultra Hydration Eye Mask Duo ($150) offers full hydration and a cooling effect to calm and de-puff the under eyes.

So why a sheet mask instead of just an eye cream? “When you cover the skin, you can actually increase the penetration of ingredients, sometimes anywhere between 10 to 100 times,” says Dr. Bank. “The mask works as a barrier on top that’s pushing and driving those ingredients into the skin, so you get a higher level of the active ingredient.” Covering skin with a sheet mask also prevents common water evaporation, so the skin stays hydrated for a longer period of time. SK-II Signs Eye Mask ($115) is genius. Not only does it offer complete hydration, but includes peptides to revive collagen production—and who doesn’t love extra collagen?

A common ingredient for treating fine lines is retinol. However, this form of vitamin A is also known to be irritating and drying. When included in a mask, this can cause irritation tenfold—especially when it comes to the delicate skin under your eyes. That’s where sheet masks come in handy: you don’t need such a hardcore formula, because the sheet ensures it sinks into your skin better. “[Sheet masks] offer one-tenth of the concentration of a retinol cream,” says Dr. Bank. “This reduces side effects on the surface of the skin and you get the same net effect from the deeper penetration.” Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Mask ($63) uses ultrasmall particles of retinol for noticeable results with few side-effects.

So in short: sheet masks really are the saviors of your under eyes. Do yourself (and your skin) a favor and try one out soon—your peepers will thank you!

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