- Magnetic face masks contain beneficial skin care ingredients and iron particles, which are said to help combat blemishes and wrinkles.
- These face masks’ magnetic properties have not been proven to be beneficial for your skin, but dermatologists say they are not harmful.
- Luxury doesn’t come cheap: some magnetic masks cost several hundreds of dollars.
When it comes to modern facial masks, there’s almost nothing beauty product aficionados won’t try: Pepto-Bismol, bee venom, even leech therapy! The latest addition to this list of intriguing skin care trends is the magnetic face mask.
And while sucking gunk out of your pores with a magnet might seem odd, there’s no denying that the YouTube how-to tutorials are extremely satisfying to watch.
But do these masks really work? According to the experts, there may be some benefit to slathering magnetic material all over your face, but you probably shouldn’t toss out your entire skin care arsenal in favor of the magnet just yet.
What’s the Attraction?
Why are beauty experts suddenly so attracted to magnetic masks? At first glance, they looks like any other at-home facial product, whether it’s a clay mask, a mud mask, or a mask that’s infused with 24-karat gold and costs $300.
What makes magnetic masks so fascinating is how they work—specifically, how they’re removed. They come with a magnetic tool that pulls the mask off the face, bringing dirt and free radicals with it.
“Theoretically, magnet masks use iron particles to create microcurrents in the skin and help with healing and restoring the function of aging skin cells,” says Dr. Rhonda Q. Klein of Modern Dermatology in Westport, CT.
And, as you probably know, unclogging pores is key to fighting acne and breakouts. In addition, ridding the skin of free radicals—the tiny, environmental particles that get stuck in your pores and help to cause blemishes—also helps prevent your skin from wrinkling.
“Free radicals can damage the collagen and elastin, weakening the skin’s foundation and leading to premature wrinkling,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner from Zeichner Dermatology in New York.
Not only do these masks promise to lift away damaging pore-cloggers with their magnetic powers, they’re also usually made with other anti-aging ingredients, like peptides, vitamins, and minerals that are generally good for your skin. Even though you’re effectively lifting away most of these ingredients, you’ll still soak up some benefits, leaving your skin feeling clean and silky-soft.
Do Magnetic Face Masks Actually Work?
Along with all of the standard skin care ingredients, magnetic masks also contain an iron powder that makes them, well… magnetic.
“Magnetic face masks combine traditional skin soothing ingredients along with an iron pigment. The mask is removed using a magnet which creates a low-level electromagnetic current, which has its own anti-aging benefits,” says Dr. Zeichner.
Interestingly, says Dr. Zeichner, magnetic beautifying treatments are nothing new: electromagnetic currents have long been studied in connection with healing wounds, and are thought to promote the renewal of damaged skin. Magnetic therapy actually dates back thousands of years — it was even one of Cleopatra’s favorite anti-aging treatments.
Despite this long history, magnetic masks remain somewhat controversial. In terms of efficacy, some studies have in fact shown that externally applied, low-power magnets might increase the rate of healing. And while some people believe that electromagnetic interactions can improve blood flow and circulation, scientists caution that such therapies are largely ineffective.
At this point, there’s not enough evidence to confirm or deny whether or not the magnetic aspect of these masks is particularly beneficial.
“I don’t think magnetic face masks work any better than regular face masks in hydrating and unclogging pores,” says Dr. Klein. “To my knowledge, they’ve never been proven to have significant anti-aging effects, but they surely help to brighten the skin and unclog pores. They may also improve circulation by pulling the skin when the mask is removed, which in theory could help dilate blood vessels, boost circulation, and stimulate collagen.”
Should You Try It?
In general, magnetic masks are gentle and safe for people with most skin types, and because they’re specifically formulated to lift away dirt and free radicals, they may be beneficial for people who have acne, wrinkles, and irritated skin.
With that being said, you should always consult with a dermatologist anytime you add something new to your skin care regimen, especially if you struggle with certain skin concerns. These masks are not meant to replace daily cleansers, but may be a great blemish-fighting supplement to your regular routine.
Top-Selling Magnetic Masks
Curious about the magnetic craze? If you do decide to give it a go, we recommend choosing from the list of top-rated masks below. One quick word of warning: these products don’t come cheap, so a bit of research could save you money.
The Magnetight mask is one of the most buzz-worthy magnet masks out there, and a favorite of the dermatologists we spoke to for this piece. It can be used as a whole-face or eye mask and contains wrinkle-smoothing peptides, energizing black tourmaline, and a purifying antioxidant. The only downside: it costs $75 for a 3-ounce jar.
Infused with powerful retinoids for younger-looking skin, Younger’s Revealing Mask Intense is perfect for people with sensitive, oily, and dry skin types.
This product has one primary secret weapon: hydroxypinacolone retinoate, which is said to support the skin’s natural collagen production and boost cell turnover rate. You’ll have to save for it, though. It costs $250 for a 5.5-ounce jar.
Many of the most viral magnetic mask demos on YouTube feature this cult classic. It doesn’t contain a whole lot of fancy ingredients, just a few nourishing minerals that soothe and soften, but the price tag reflects it. This one costs $40 for a 1.7-ounce container, so it’s good for a magnet mask first-timer.
Budget beauty brand e.l.f. is well-known for bringing professional-grade makeup and skin care to the masses at good prices, and their version of the magnet mask is no exception. At just $24, this one is infused with vitamin C, vitamin E, and argan oil to replenish damaged skin.
Some people credit the one and only Madonna for bringing magnetic masks to the United States, since she debuted this very viral mask last year as part of her popular MDNA Skin collection. Featuring mineral-rich clay and Italian thermal water, Madonna’s version costs $120 for 1.7 ounces, with a $180 magnetic wand that’s sold separately.
Give It a Go
If you’re still on the fence, let us sway you: even if these masks don’t all have completely glowing reviews, they all have one thing in common, and that’s that they’re really fun to play with. And, as far as skin care trends go, this one’s relatively harmless, so there’s not much risk in giving it a try.
» Have a question about this skin care craze? Ask a cosmetic doctor or dermatologist on our forum.
- Spruch-Feiner, S. Are Magnetic Face Masks Instagram Bait or Actual Skincare? (2017). observer.com/2017/01/how-effective-are-magnet-face-masks
- Henry, S. L., Concannon, M. J., & Yee, G. J. (2008). The Effect of Magnetic Fields on Wound Healing: Experimental Study and Review of the Literature. Eplasty, 8, e40. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2490801/