4 DIY face masks to get rid of dead skin

Shedding of dead skin cells happens on a regular basis, and it is replaced by new ones. But there are chances of a build-up of dead skin on the face, especially if you have dry skin or you expose your skin to the sun a lot. Removing dead skin from the face is important as it can improve the skin texture, and help in enhancing absorption of skincare products. Simply using a face wash will not do the job. You can go for natural ways to get rid of dead skin from your face. Go for homemade face masks to remove dead skin.

What is dead skin?

Dead skin refers to the outermost layer of the skin that has shed or sloughed off naturally. This layer mostly consists of dead skin cells that have reached the end of their lifecycle, explains cosmetologist and skin expert Dr Jatin Mittal. These cells are mostly made of keratin, a tough protein that provides structural integrity to the skin. Dead skin cells are constantly being shed and replaced by new ones in a process called desquamation, which helps maintain the skin’s barrier function and overall health.

Woman with a face mask to remove dead skin
Follow a skincare routine to prevent dead skin build-up on face. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the causes of dead skin build-up on the face?

Several factors can contribute to the build-up of dead skin cells on the face:

  • People with dry skin are more prone to dead skin cell build-up because it lacks proper hydration. When the skin is dry, it can’t shed dead cells as effectively, leading to accumulation.
  • Sun exposure can cause the skin to thicken and produce more dead skin cells as a protective mechanism. Over time, this can lead to a build-up of dead cells on the surface of the skin.
  • Inadequate cleansing or exfoliation can contribute to dead skin cell build-up. Without proper cleansing, dirt, oil, and dead skin cells can accumulate on the skin’s surface.
  • Pollution, dust, and other environmental pollutants can settle on the skin and mix with natural oils, leading to dead skin cell build-up.
  • As we grow older, the natural exfoliation process of our skin slows down, contributing to a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface.

Removing dead skin cells is important, as it can improve your skin texture, enhance absorption of skincare products, prevent clogged pores, stimulate cell renewal, prevent skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and fungal infections, says Dr Mittal.

How to make face masks to remove dead skin?

To prevent dead skin cell build-up, it is important to maintain a skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturisation to keep the skin hydrated. Protecting the skin from the sun is also important. You can go for face masks as well –

1. Normal skin

  • 1 tablespoon oatmeal (finely ground)
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt (plain)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

How to use

  • Mix all the natural ingredients in a bowl to form a smooth paste.
  • Apply this paste to your face, and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Gently massage in circular motions to exfoliate your skin, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  • Pat your skin dry and follow up with your regular moisturiser.

Oatmeal acts as a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells without irritating normal skin. Yogurt contains lactic acid, which helps to exfoliate the skin while also providing hydration, says the expert. Honey has antibacterial properties and helps to moisturise and soothe the skin.

2. Dry skin

  • 1 ripe avocado (mashed)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

How to use

  • Combine all the three ingredients in a bowl until they get well mixed.
  • Apply the mixture to your face and neck, and wait for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Gently massage to exfoliate, and rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  • Follow it up with a hydrating moisturiser to lock in moisture.

Avocado is rich in fatty acids and vitamins like Vitamin C, so it helps to deeply moisturise and nourish dry skin. Honey acts as a humectant, drawing moisture to the skin, and also has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe dry, irritated skin, says Dr Mittal. Olive oil provides hydration and helps to repair the skin’s moisture barrier, preventing moisture loss.

A woman with a face mask to remove dead skin
Choose face mask according to your skin type and need. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Oily skin

  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 drop tea tree essential oil (optional)

How to use

  • In a non-metallic bowl, mix bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar to form a smooth paste.
  • Add tea tree oil if you wish to.
  • Apply the face mask to your face, avoiding the eye area.
  • Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes or until it starts to dry up.
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry.
  • Use a lightweight moisturiser if you need it.

Bentonite clay can absorb excess oil and impurities from the skin, helping to mattify and clarify oily skin without over-drying. Apple cider vinegar helps to balance the skin’s pH levels and has astringent properties that tighten pores and control oil production. Tea tree essential oil contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as per a 2000 research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. These properties make the oil effective in treating acne and preventing breakouts.

4. Combination skin

  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mashed papaya
  • 1 teaspoon honey

How to use

  • Mix all the above mentioned ingredients in a bowl.
  • Apply the mixture to your face while avoiding the eye area.
  • Leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water after gently massaging.
  • Pat your skin dry and follow up with a lightweight moisturiser.

Yogurt can provide gentle exfoliation and hydration, making it suitable for both oily and dry areas of combination skin. Papaya contains enzymes called papain, which help to exfoliate dead skin cells and promote a more even complexion, says the expert.

Make sure to use these face masks only one or two times a week. If you have skin sensitivities and allergies, do a patch test first. Don’t overuse them, as you may experience skin irritation, dryness, flakiness or breakouts. Also, avoid applying them to broken or irritated skin, and listen to your skin’s response.

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