Dermatologists On Whether Those Magnetic Face Masks Actually Work

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Several years ago, Madonna announced on Facebook that she would be launching a skincare line in Japan, called MDMA. Now, she’s bringing the line to the U.S. The 58-year-old pop star made the announcement on Instagram this week, complete with a demo of one of her masks.

“No muss—no fuss!” Madonna captioned a video of herself removing her Chrome Clay Mask. “Coming to America soon!” The mask is just one of six products in the MDMA line—a face wash, serum, rose mist, eye mask, and eye serum round out the mix—and it’s removed with a magnet. According to the MDMA website, the mask absorbs dirt, which is then lifted by the magnet, while leaving skin moisturized.

Madonna’s mask follows a growing trend of magnetic face masks that have hit the market. Dr. Brandt offers a Magnetight Age-Defier that promises to “combat signs of aging and dramatically transform the look of skin,” as well as reduce fine lines and wrinkles, while lifting away impurities. Lancer also offers a Younger Revealing Mask Intense that says it provides a “unique experience for revealing a younger-looking, glowing skin.”

The masks look cool (they’re literally lifted off of your skin by the magnet when you remove them) but they don’t come cheap: Prices range from $55 to $250. Is there something to this trend?

Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, tells SELF that magnetic face masks combine traditional face mask ingredients along with iron particles to create a micro-current in the skin when they’re used with a magnet. The concept is not completely out of the blue, he says: “Magnets have long been used in healthcare, especially to help improve wound healing and in orthopedic injuries.” Many anti-aging treatments have roots in similar methods, since activity that can enhance the skin’s ability to heal itself may also help restore the functioning of aging skin cells, he explains.

Jill Waibel, M.D., owner of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute in Miami, agrees. “Magnetic masks are a new development that has now become apparent for the use of anti-aging, and work to refine, purify, and brighten the look of skin,” she tells SELF.

Gary Goldenberg, M.D., medical director of the Dermatology Faculty Practice at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF that the concept of magnetic face masks is interesting. “In theory, a moisturizing face mask should improve appearance of your skin,” he says, adding that use of organic ingredients, like the volcanic ash used in Madonna’s magnetic mask, is a plus.

However, Goldenberg points out that there isn’t a lot of data to back up the other claims by the masks. “One can increase blood flow by washing your face with hot water, but I think no one would claim that this would have anti-aging properties,” he says. The masks may improve skin circulation by literally pulling the skin when the mask is removed, which can dilate blood vessels, Goldenberg says.

Waibel says clinical trials need to be done to confirm whether magnetic masks actually boost skin circulation and collagen. “The mask may be stimulating collagen and circulation because our body is made up of ions (for example, sodium ions, potassium ions, chloride ions, etc.),” she says. “This is important for your skin due to collagen and circulation is an aspect of your skin that helps with its tightness and glowing look.”

Goldenberg says people who have acne should be wary of using these products, since the mud masks may clog their pores. Those with rosacea should also take a pass, he says, because increasing blood flow to their skin can increase redness. And, Zeichner says, as with any new skincare product, if you develop redness, burning, or itching when you use it, immediately remove the mask and thoroughly wash it off of your face.

But Zeichner says it may be worth giving these products a try—provided your budget allows for it. “The only downside I see to using a magnetic face mask is the damage they can do to your pocketbook, as some carry a high price tag,” he says.

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