The Surprisingly Scary Ingredient That's Hiding in Your Sheet Mask

Sheet masks are so much more than a skincare product—they're calming, they're Instagram fodder, they're a girl's-night-in activity… generally speaking, for just a few dollars a piece, they're the type of photogenic indulgence we crave in a social media-heavy, stressful climate.

Over the past few years, sheet mask culture has exploded and is projected to steadily increase: According to statistics website Statista, in 2018, the global sheet mask market was estimated to be valued at about 282.8 million USD and is forecasted to reach 551.3 million dollars by 2026. South Korea, the genesis of sheet masks, is still the top producer (41% of the market), with China next in line at 22% and the U.S. only responsible for 2%. Comparatively, we may not be producing as many masks on U.S. soil, but stores and brands are certainly buying en masse from Asian companies—it seems like everywhere you turn, a sheet mask is available for purchase (at Ulta, at H&M, at the gas station… ). Your ROI is impressive too—a mask from H&M is $4, and afterward, your skin is noticeably more dewy, fresh, and glowing than you were pre-mask. What you may be surprised to know, though, is that the smooth, supple complexion you get after sheet-masking comes at much more of a cost than a few George Washingtons.