Peel Off Charcoal Face Mask FAQ
I picked up a few charcoal masks the other day which led me to thinking, charcoal is in a LOT of the products on the shelves and has made its way into many of the products I use regularly. These include soap, cleansing cloths, and of course the face masks I use, so why is this a trend in men’s and women’s beauty products?
Charcoal comes from carbon which most living things are made up of. Charcoal is however different; in that it is void of water and other volatile substances. This means charcoal in its most perfect form has no carbon at all. Charcoal on its own is great for, oh I don’t know… fertilizer, but the real magic happens when it is activated by treating it with oxygen.
Activated charcoal is great at binding itself to dirt due to its porous nature. Dirt finds its way into the pores of the charcoal and clings to it. This is why activated charcoal is found in everything from water filtration devices, trapping toxins and chemicals in the body if ingested orally, and removing odors and toxins from the air.
Although drinking or eating activated charcoal in pill form has many proven health benefits, I’m just going to address the topical side of this fad-worthy beauty trend.
Does Activated Charcoal Work for Removing Dirt?
Since activated charcoal has the ability to absorb free radicals from the air, the water, and any solid it’s placed upon, it will most certainly work for your skin. In the form of a face mask, the charcoal is placed on clean skin and digs deep into pores to cling to dirt and grime and locks onto it. When you peel or wash the mask away, the dirt goes with it.
The oil from your skin will also go with it which could be a good thing if you have oily, combination, or normal skin-types. If you find yourself with dry or normal to dry skin be sure to use a light moisturizer after removing your charcoal mask or any other peel off mask.
Do Charcoal Masks Shrink Pores?
In short no. The statement that you can shrink your pores is a myth so no “activated” anything is going to help you. However, the dirt removing properties of charcoal, teamed up with the benefits of a peel off mask, can remove enough muck from your pores to minimize the discoloration of dirt within them. This will leave your skin appearing smoother in complexion and draw less focus to your pores.
Sebum is the stuff naturally produced by your skin that fills your pores. When this sebum comes into contact with the air, it oxidizes leaving you with black heads or brown heads. A charcoal mask can help pull these out, so your skin produces fresh sebum that is not dark in color which will also diminish the appearance of large pores.
Allergies to Activated Charcoal
When talking specifically about using activated charcoal for beauty, there has been no recorded allergies. It is as hypoallergenic as they come. Always consult your doctor before using anything you’re unsure about, but in my experience activated charcoal in beauty products is a sure bet.
Is the Charcoal Face Mask Painful
I have a relatively high pain tolerance, but this mask made my eyes water! It hurts to be beautiful, so suck it up, and pull it off. You’re not going to have to bite down on a leather strap for the pain, but it’s definitely cringe-worthy.
Does a Charcoal Mask Prevent Acne?
Preventing and treating acne with charcoal face masks should absolutely be considered as one of your tools for combating and avoiding potentially embarrassing zits. Using a charcoal mask one to three times a week can leave your pores clean so oil can escape the dermis which is just below the epidermis. You see, if you clean the skin of excess oil and dirt, pores can then allow sebum to escape normally. If they are clogged, you get a tiny infection called a pimple. Using a good cleanser, occasional face mask, a toner and a light moisturizer will help to reduce acne and prevent it.
Don’t go crazy on your face. If you suffer from acne and are looking for a severe solution, you may end up drying out your skin which will produce more oil and the cycle continues. More oil means more acne and so on. Balance is key. Wash your face with a good cleanser. Use a toner then moisturize. If you want to use a face mask then do so a maximum of three times a week and on the nights you use a mask, be sure to apply the mask after you tone, but before you moisturize. Now that you know the mask is right for you, you’re going to want to know how to apply it.
How to Apply a Charcoal Face Mask
I always am cautious of this step because of my facial hair so warning for men… beware! Some peel off face masks can rip your hair right out. I’ve done it and experienced the pain so you wouldn’t have to! Trust me it’s not fun. That goes for your hair line too.
When applying the mask, I like to pour a generous amount onto my hand and slowly wipe it across the large areas of my face including forehead, nose, and cheeks. Then fill in the gaps, but do so quickly and evenly, because this stuff dries quickly. Apply a thick, even layer so when it comes time to peel off you aren’t fighting with bits and pieces like an unripe mandarin orange at Christmas.
Once you have peeled the mask off, I like to grab a warm cloth and go over the face wiping off any residue that was left behind. This should come off relatively easily but like I said earlier, if you get any in your hair, DON’T PULL IT OUT! It’ll take a chunk with it. Just wipe gently with a cloth over and over and the charcoal mask will come off. Once your done, you can use a light moisturizer to leave the face looking smooth, clean, and youthful.
I have noticed that if you spill the mask in its liquid form on a counter or anything, it is very hard to remove so maybe put an old towel or newspaper down before applying your charcoal mask.
Photos by Mark St. James
Oh and if you’ve read this far, here’s an Easter Egg, if you noticed I have one headphone in some of the pics, I’m listening to this.