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Our experts unmask the facts about at-home facial treatments and offer product picks.

You Asked! Expert A's to Your Beauty Q's: Peels and Masks


The FDA has standards for the percentages of active ingredients in peels and masks allowed in over-the-counter products. For example, glycolic acid and salicylic acid (often found in peels) are limited to 10% and 2%, respectively. Be wary of masks or peels with higher percentages. These should not be dispensed without a doctor's supervision. 

The Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask contains acne-clearing benzoyl peroxide and clay to decrease oiliness. It can be used as a face wash or a mask. For acne-prone skin, I recommend DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask. It's infused with sulfur and purified clay to absorb oil and clear pores. 

As for at-home peels, Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel  blends glycolic acid with soothing plant extracts such as algae, pineapple, and cucumber to gently exfoliate dull surface skin. Boots No7 Advanced Renewal Anti-Aging Glycolic Peel Kit is a glycolic acid-based treatment. It smooths, tones, and brightens skin after a few uses.

Meet Your Perfect Mask

With so many different kinds of masks hitting store shelves, Alexiades-Armenakas reveals the most effective ingredients.

  • Emollient ingredients, such as hyaluronic acids, ammonium lactate, squalane, ceramides, glycerin, and dimethicone, help build barriers that keep moisture in the skin.
  • Salicylic acid decreases oil production and helps prevent acne.
  • Clay is infused with silicates that leave a slick residue on the skin's surface, making it temporarily feel smooth.

The opinions expressed in this section are of the experts and are not the opinions of WebMD. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.


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