DANGER: Black Peel-off Masks

Hello everyone, your friendly neighborhood Esthetician here to ruin yet another viral beauty trend. I’m gonna cut straight to the chase- those black peel off masks you’re seeing everywhere? STOP USING THEM! Or if you’ve been interested in trying them, DON’T DO IT! Why is this? you say…. Well, I’m glad you asked:


You’re stretching your pores. 

Those peel-off masks contain ingredients that allow them to adhere to the skin so they require you to peel them off. Because you’re pulling on the mask, and ultimately your skin, over time your pores will stretch as well. (Kind of like after you’ve used a hair tie a bunch of times, and it’s larger than when you bought it). When you stretch your pores, it not only looks unflattering, but it allows for even more bacteria and gunk to settle into them. Which equals more blackheads, which equals a sad face.

You’re removing a layer of skin that you need.

There’s a reason it HURTS to pull off these face masks. One, because you’re literally ripping all of the vellus hairs (i.e. peach fuzz) out of your face… but also, the first layer of skin (AKA the stratum corneum) is coming off with it. When this layer of skin is not in tact, you risk exposing your skin to other bacteria if you’re not careful after the mask is removed. Essentially, you’re super-exfoliating your skin. Which is not a good thing, if you couldn’t already guess. It also takes about 30 days (give or take) for your skin to repair the damage you’ve done. So sorry to break it to you, but your pain was for nothing. RIP your stratum corneum.

You’re damaging the lipid barrier on your skin.

If you’re not an esthetician, you probably don’t know what a lipid barrier is. Or maybe you do. I really have no idea. But if you don’t already know…. Simply put, it’s the protective barrier that holds all of the important oils and water in your skin. It protects against dryness, dehydration, skin sensitivities, etc. Along with the first layer of skin, you’re also damaging this essential part of your skin’s health. If your skin can’t protect itself against water loss and lubricate itself, you age faster. These are facts.

I know people with oily skin think this mask is a great idea because of the amount of oil and blackheads they’re prone to. But did you know that if you get rid of the good oils your skin needs, that you can cause your sebaceous (oil) glands to over produce, making you even oilier? Ummm hard pass, thanks.

You’re causing capillaries to break.

Capillaries = small blood vessels. Most people have a few broken ones on their face here and there due to sun exposure or even blowing your nose too hard (check around your nostrils, I’m sure you’ll find a few). When these break, it can cause the skin to be more sensitive, but it also brings redness to the face as well. When you tug on the skin that hard to remove these masks, you rupture these capillaries and then they sit close to the surface of your skin, causing that discoloration. Ever heard of color correcting? Redness is usually what we try to avoid.

You’re not removing the entire blackhead.

I know you’ve seen the videos. They’re sooooo satisfying. I get it. I do it for a living, trust me. But what you’re pulling out is only the top part of the blackhead. Which means you’re leaving the bottom part inside your pore to just collect more debris and form yet another blackhead. Very counterproductive, don’t you think?

You could also be removing sebaceous filaments, which are also necessary to protect your skin. Not all oil is bad people!!


Another thing that is extremely troubling to me, is the DIY versions of these kinds of masks. Any idea as to what one of the main ingredients are? Hmmm?


Um, excuse me, but you should not be putting children’s craft supplies into your skincare routine. The glue is obviously used for the adhesive part of the mask, and most DIYers will tell you to use “non-toxic” glue to make it seem less harmful. Yeah, no. Don’t put glue on your face. The fact I even need to explain this is like, blowing my mind.

The one component to this mask that I don’t hate is the charcoal. Charcoal is known to be a great detoxifying ingredient, and other charcoal masks are fantastic for drawing out impurities in the skin. The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment are both masks that contain activated charcoal, and you don’t have to surgically remove your skin to get them off. What a relief.

Anyway, just please avoid these masks. There are so many other ways to remove stubborn blackheads, oil, and uneven texture on the skin. Regular chemical peels, weekly (SAFE) exfoliation, etc. are great places to start. Contact your esthetician or dermatologist to get a thorough skin analysis so you can find a solution that best suits YOU. Always read reviews and do the research before using new and “trendy” products. Protect your skin and treat it well, and it will love you back!!




12 thoughts on “DANGER: Black Peel-off Masks”

  1. My daughter has serious problems with large poor on her nose only and very dry skin. Her nose is always a black head haven. She has tried almost everything! What should she really use. Proactive helped some, but dries her out terribly. She used Dark Angels from lush it was okay. Part of it is because of medications that dry her out, but she also produces a lot of oil. It’s really weird.


    1. Cyndi,

      Proactive, while it may help temporarily with some conditions, is very dehydrating to the skin due to the acneic ingredients within the products. She is probably over producing oil due to the dryness and dehydration from these products, which is not uncommon. My suggestion is to get her exfoliating regularly (2-3 times a week) with something that has a small percentage of salicylic acid in it (try Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics exfoliant) and following it with a good hydrating lotion, such as the Aveda Hydrating Lotion. It’s moisturizing enough to help with the dryness but not so heavy that it will make her feel greasy. The salicylic acid will help break down the oil and debris that get caught in those pores on the nose without compromising the integrity of her skin 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

      xoxo, Shelby


      1. I have very sensitive skin. Some products seem to be great, then within 4 months I start to break out bad. I was introduced to a product called “perfectly Posh”(https://www.perfectlyposh.com) I’ve used it for a year now and my skin has never looked better. For exfoliation try the “BFF” (best face forever) face wash and follow up afterwards with the “Moisture 911” moisturizer. And for a once a week mask the “Cackle spackle” These products are vegan and could be eaten. (Not that we want to eat our face products) No chemicals in it at all. The moisturizer does a great job without making your skin feel greasy.
        BTW I do not benefit from anyone buying Perfectly Posh. I have just found a great product that has done wonders for my sensitive skin and has actually decreased the rosacea tremendously and I would like others to know about it.


    1. I’ve found the same risks apply with the biore strips as well. It’s like putting paper mache on your skin! The best advice I can give you to actively clear your pores is to exfoliate regularly (2-3 times a week max, you don’t want to dehydrate the skin!) with a product that has a small amount of salicylic acid in it. Sal acid is known for oxygenating the pores, and bacteria can no longer thrive there. Focus specifically on those areas of congestion as well. In addition to that, talking to an esthetician or dermatologist about getting chemical peels to jump start your skin, i.e. salicylic peels, will help clear those pores as well. Extractions should only be done by licensed professionals, so if you decide to go that route make sure your Aesthetician knows what they’re doing! 🙂 hope this helps.

      xoxo, Shelby


    1. To be completely honest I’m not a huge fan of Arbonne products. I know they work for some people though! However I have never used that mask/exfoliant personally so I can’t give you personal review 😦 Try the products on your skin and see how they work for you!

      If you find you don’t like the results, I can recommend other great products 🙂


    1. I have heard of it! I’ve never used it myself, so I’ve never done much research on it, but I’ve been wanting to try it! Maybe I’ll use it and post a review 🙂


  2. What are your thoughts on the Boscia Aluminizing black mask? I’ve seen people murder their faces with the peel-off masks featured all over social media, and it’s ridiculous. This one does seem different though, and I would like to assume if it were also this bad, it wouldn’t sell out at Sephora so quickly (or Sephora wouldn’t sell it? ugh).


    1. Charlotte,

      I have actually used that Boscia mask before, and while it can get caught in peach fuzz on the face, it didn’t feel as if I was peeling glue off of my skin. It has the charcoal component which is what detoxifies. Really any trauma to the skin is what you want to avoid if possible, but brands that sell at Sephora tend to put a lot more research and clinical testing into their products. Unlike black masks that sell at a low cost. Boscia is a reputable brand and I love their products, but if you’re sensitive I would stick to sheet masks or masks that wash off after an allotted amount of time!

      xoxo Shelby


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