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Arcona Tea Tree Mask ($30) is formulated to decongest and detoxify skin cells, as well as refine skin texture via gentle exfoliation. It is one of the most “active” feeling masks I’ve used; the tingling sensation is a bit deceptive as it’s a very pleasant experience. Moreover, the mask contains several ingredients to calm inflamed skin. While the tea tree mask may be meant for oily skin, it can actually be used by all skin types. Lately, my skin has been leaning towards combination but after 15 minutes of using this mask, my skin felt soft, hydrated and exceptionally energized.
This is my first sulfur product and the mask contains 10% sulfur. While many may think of sulfur as quite odoriferous, it’s actually odorless. Despite having once been referred to by its now-obsolete name, brimstone (aka damnation to hell), sulfur has quite the opposite reputation. Many actually travel to natural hot springs for its healing properties. TIA has previously noted sulfur as a cure for acne due to its anti-fungal, antibacterial and keratolytic properties. Keratolytic agents encourage the shedding of dead skin cells that could block pores, cause pimples (and other blemishes) and excess sebum production. Sulfur also has detoxifying properties as it is a component in amino acids like methionine (purifies cells) and carnitine (prevents accumulations of lipoproteins).
The first ingredient is witch hazel, which has some controversy attached to it, but Marta cleared that up in making the distinction between the extract and witch hazel as a toner. The extract is distilled from the bark of hamamelis virginiana trees and is high in tannins. While I really don’t care for tannins in my wine, it makes for an excellent anti-inflammatory in astringent form. Witch hazel extract is such an effective skin soother, it was used by Native Americans to treat skin ulcers, sores and insect bites. And I’m always excited to find another antioxidant! Japanese researchers discovered that the extract protects skin cells from reactive oxygen species (ROS).
The mask also contains several ingredients to fight acne and keep skin healthy. Mainly, tea tree oil, an antiseptic and anti-microbial that gently keeps skin free of offending acne-causing bacteria. Allantoin is a well-known gentle exfoliant. There are also the excellent clays, kaolin and bentonite, which absorb excess oil, dirt and impurities that are particularly effective at keeping blackheads at bay. Titanium dioxide, known largely as a UV protectant, also has antibacterial agents and is a skin softener.
The mask has a creamy consistency and initially feels cool when first applied, then swiftly develops into hybrid warm – with a cool sensation. The first time I used it, I couldn’t help but think I had just put Icy Hot on my face (Shaquille O’Neal would like this mask). The tingling sensation is strong but not overwhelming. In fact, I’m looking forward to using it on certain mornings when I need to “wake up” my skin. The mask dries but does not harden, so I easily tissue it off (something I hear Japanese women do but avoid the lotioned variety) first and then rinse with warm water.
This is a rare mask in that it combats acne with sulfur and clay, yet doesn’t leave skin feeling dried out. Indeed my skin is left feeling soft and ultra-hydrated without any residue or greasiness. I’ve also found sulfur to be my newfound friend in the battle against blemishes. Hence, Arcona’s tea tree mask is not only effective at clearing acne, but it can also clear up your sinuses!
Further, Arcona’s products do not contain petrochemicals, binders or fillers, chemical stabilizers, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, perfumes, dyes, or any other caustic, toxic ingredients. Thus, I like that the mask is packaged in a tube, which preserves the natural ingredients and prevents the mask from drying out. Due to the natural preservatives, Arcona products have a preservation shelf life of up to two years. It is also recommended to use the mask within six months of opening.
Ingredients: Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Sulfur, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Plant Oils), Kaolin, Bentonite, Titanium Dioxide, Melaleuca Altenafolin (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Allantoin, Lavender Extract, Geranium Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract