Christopher Ardant

Sleeping Beauties: Are Sleep Masks Interfering With Your Beauty Regime?
Sleeping Beauties:
Are Sleep Masks Interfering With Your Beauty Regime?

Everyone has a sleep mask. Whether for a flight, a midday nap or to signal to your significant other you are in bed for shut eye, a sleep mask is one of the simplest pleasures, and most effective tools, out there.

However, by donning this miracle product after applying your night or eye creams, serums, or stronger topicals, you could significantly increase the dose you’re getting, leading to redness, irritation or much worse.

When you put something on top of a topical, you increase the penetration. When skincare professionals want to increase the penetration of an active ingredient, we cover the product-laden area with plastic wrap. It’s the same theory behind a patch test — you want to subject the skin to intense exposure to see if there is a reaction. When the product is covered, the skin cannot refuse the absorption of the product. And if you have irritation with a patch test, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re allergic to that product, but that you may have to lower its intensity.

Putting an eye mask on over your nighttime products actually creates a patch, intensifying the effect of your products. Additionally, your skin causes the area to warm up, increasing absorption. It literally pushes the topical treatment into the skin.

The other thing to be concerned with is the eye mask itself. If it’s an absorbent material like cotton or some microfibers, it’s going to take in some of the product, possibly taking away some of its benefits. I would be less concerned when using the mask over rich anti-aging creams than I would using it over retinoids, ascorbic acid or Vitamin C products or beta-hydroxy acids. The intensity of the treatment after using a mask multiple nights could be too much for the delicate skin around the eyes.

The best advice I can offer to avoid eye mask mishaps? Always ask your skincare professional if you can use an eye mask on top of the product they’re recommending and regularly launder the masks you use. All of this will lead to sweet dreams and smooth skin.

And beware — there are very famous cases of women dying after applying topical anesthetic creams on their legs after getting laser hair removal. These anesthetic creams are usually designed for use in very small areas. These women covered their legs, plus they then covered the area in plastic wrap, intensifying the effect. Both women had seizures, fell into comas, and subsequently died from the toxicity. The lesson here is that following application guidelines is a key when using any topical product.