No one describes waxing as a pleasant experience or extractions as an enjoyable afternoon treat. At-home masks, on the other hand? Those are our feel-good, Sunday-kind-of-love beauty treatments. They should impart joy, rest, and relaxation. Unless, of course, you're Cachet Raynor. The Glen Burnie, MD, resident recently experienced our beauty nightmare when she tried to peel off a black facial mask — only to find it stuck to her skin. She documented the painful process on Twitter, squealing in pain and taking frequent breaks to regroup as she worked to remove the Pilaten Black Mask inch-by-inch. Numerous expletives are dropped and her eyes start to tear. The skin around her eyes stretches significantly as she pulls. And yes, we can feel her pain from here. The mask she claims to have used is sold on Amazon and appears to be produced in Asia. (We have reached out to the brand for comment and will update this post when we hear back.) Instagram tags show that most people use the mask as a spot treatment — on the nose only, for example. Other users on Amazon say, “You cannot put it anywhere besides your chin and nose otherwise it hurts, a lot!!!!!!” Others stress, “I wouldn't use it on much more than your nose and chin...anywhere else will rip any hair off that u have you can almost wax with that stuff.”
But here’s the rub: the mask does make Raynor’s skin feel soft and look clear, as she points out in the video. Can such a mask really be worth the pain? We checked in with Miami-based dermatologist Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy for her take. “Many face masks which actually do a decent job of unclogging pores can stick to the superficial 'dead skin layers' and can be fairly difficult to remove,” she says. “As you can see from this video, this young woman clearly had no problems with her skin once the mask was removed.” But not everyone may be so lucky. “However, these types of masks can accidentally strip off deeper layers of skin, which can cause mild erosions, cuts, or indentations, which can then lead to hyperpigmentation that can take weeks to months to resolve,” she says. “This is particularly true [for those with] darker skin, who need to use all masks with caution.” Further, the derm points out that there are other, less excruciating ways to exfoliate. “These types of results can be achieved without the time, hassle, and potential pain of masks by using a 2% salicylic acid cleanser or a low concentration glycolic acid cleanser daily,” she advises. “These agents chemically exfoliate the skin and unclog pores, instead of the sometimes-brutal mechanical exfoliation you see here.” And for those of us who can’t resist the charms of an exotic, deep-cleaning face mask? Jegasothy leaves us with these user-friendly hacks: “I recommend testing any mask on your inner arm to see how it feels and what it does before you apply it to your face,” she says. “And if you have already applied a mask that’s painful and difficult to peel away, apply copious amounts of water to your face to soften and dilute the mask and it should slip away more comfortably.” Easing the pain may not rack up as many likes on Twitter, but it’ll make getting clear, bright skin a heck of a lot easier.
The views expressed in this video do not reflect those of Refinery29.