Charcoal face masks are very on-trend at the moment, and you can see charcoal face mask converts posting pics of this dramatic beauty item all over social media. But, is this all just hype, or is there something to applying a charcoal face mask for cleaner, clearer, and fully “detoxed” skin?
In this article we will look into charcoal face masks, including how they are supposed to work, can they be dangerous, and how you can mix one up at home.
Activated charcoal is not the same as the charcoal that you picked up for your weekend BBQ, so don’t go running to your grill to make a face mask. Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been processed to drastically increase the amount of pores and surface area of the entire product.
This surface area increase is drastic: About 50gms of activated charcoal (the weight of a medium-sized egg) has the same surface area of about 17.5 full-sized football fields!
And this huge surface area means that activated charcoal is very “grabby” - it easily pulls in other things from the surrounding environment into those crevices to be ultimately washed away. This characteristic of activated charcoal lead science to initially use the product in cases of poisonings or overdoses, to try to help grab and bind the poison or medication before it can reach the bloodstream.
While any sort of study or proof of what charcoal masks do for your skin is severely lacking (read: nonexistent), the idea behind putting activated charcoal on your face to “detox” the skin goes back to what activated charcoal was originally used for.
Since we know that activated charcoal does a pretty good job grabbing onto unwanted toxins and medications in the GI tract, beauty experts leapt to the conclusion that this messy stuff could maybe help pull toxins out of the skin too.
According to anecdotal statements, some feel that applying activated charcoal to your skin can help pull dirt, oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells out of your pores to help reduce acne breakouts and clear skin impurities. But, the verdict is still out on this one.
Well, it depends. As with all beauty products used on people with sensitive skin or prone to irritation, there is always a risk of your skin not reacting well to a product, whether that means redness, dryness, or irritation.
This type of irritation is usually easily fixable by stopping the product and resuming a gentle beauty product regimen. But, the main concern over using a charcoal face mask is that the peel-off types of face masks can really hurt and tug at the skin during removal. Over time, excessive tugging and pulling at delicate face skin could lead to some damage.
So, if you want to go ahead and try out a charcoal face mask, do a spot test to make sure your skin won’t be irritated, and opt for a wash-off (not peel-off!) clay or cream-like product.
If every charcoal face mask product you come across is chocked full of questionable ingredients, get yourself a few ingredients and whip one up yourself.
Slowly and thoroughly mix your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and then allow them to combine for a few minutes before applying to your face.
Charcoal face masks may or may not be pulling toxins out of your skin and making your skin flawless, more studies need to be done to verify this. But, for most people, as long as the charcoal is not irritating to your skin and you are not using difficult-to-remove peel-off versions, there is probably no harm from trying out this trendy face mask. Stick with clay wash-off versions or mix up your own at home to avoid unwanted ingredients.
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