If you are working in Photoshop Elements 8 or below you do not have a layer mask option. Layer Masks are wonderful for removing and adding back effects during any digital editing. For ease and precision in enhancing your photographs with textures, I think Layer Masks are a must!
The good news is you don't necessarily have to upgrade to Photoshop CS5 or PSE 9 to get layer masks, nor do you have to start clipping the layer you want to edit to an adjustment layer, etc. ect. Rita of The CoffeeShop Blog has solved the Layer Mask gap for Elements users by creating a FREE Layer Mask Action that you can install into Elements yourself.
Don't worry if you have never installed an 'action', for Rita has a post that tells you how. Once you have installed one action, you will see how easy it is and be able to take advantage of all the other wonderful free actions at The CoffeeShop Blog and other sites on the Internet.
In the above partial screen capture of my PSE 8 workspace you can see the "Effects" panel. PSE comes with many effects or "actions" already installed. Many are illustrated with thumbnails of a granny smith apple showing what the effect or action will do to the 'apple'.
You can add other actions of your choosing to your Effects panel, such as you see above - the ones that are not apple thumbnails were all added by me. You can see Rita's Layer Mask circled in red. I use it all the time. All you do is click on it and then click Apply and a layer mask comes up beside whatever image you are working on.
Easy and immediate access to a Layer Mask allows you to erase away and add back texture effects without destroying pixels. Yes you can remove texture effects from parts of your image with the Erasure Tool, and if you don't like what you have done you can Undo - but you cannot add back bits of texture in varying degrees with Erasure/Undo as you can with a layer mask.
So if you are an Elements (8 and below) user and want to make the most of your textures, march on over to The CoffeeShop Blog and get Rita's free Layer Mask Action.