Lindsey Sirera
April 13, 2017 9:01 am
Getty Images /petrenkod

Sometimes if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Point in case: those trendy black charcoal face masks. While these viral masks have been making waves on social media as miracle-working, pore-erasing, blackhead-obliterating, make-all-your-dreams-come-true products, they’re apparently extremely painful and not super safe. Oh, and the reason these masks are able to pull out all the gunk from your face isn’t because it’s ~magical~, it’s because it’s literally ripping off a layer of your skin.


“It’s a little like using a chainsaw to prune a tree, when some hand-held garden shears would have done the job,” Andy Millward, facialist, aesthetician and member of the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology, told Metro U.K. “The chainsaw might get the job done, but you’ll end up stripping the tree back a little further than intended.”

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Because while charcoal masks can be nourishing for your skin, these glue-like masks are depriving your skin of any rejuvenating effect by ripping the skin off. Yes, they “do” what they promise, but they’re just ~way~ too potent in many cases.

“They effectively act like glue binding to the cells on the skin’s surface as well as any vellus hair. In fact, there are loads of DIY versions of the mask doing the rounds on YouTube which literally are made from PVA Glue and charcoal powder,” Millward explained. And he’s right — many a beauty blogger is actually recommending adding glue to your DIY charcoal face mask recipes. This is ~not~ okay, people!

What’s more, apparently some of the “blackheads” you’re seeing come off aren’t actually blackheads. They’re something called sebaceous filaments, and they’re there to protect your skin from blemish-causing bacteria.

“When removed, the mask is removing cells from the outer layer of skin (the stratum corneum) and any hair along with it. You only need to watch some of the videos that have gone viral to see the excruciating pain the mask users are in.”

While exfoliating is a great thing, it’s best to adopt the old less-is-more-principal here. Like Andy said, use the “garden shears” of peel masks, not the “chainsaw” ones. Pain is there for a reason, people, so if something is hurting your face, it’s *probably* not great for it.

So please, lovelies, do yourselves a favor and stick with face masks that feel as pleasant as they make your skin. There is no need to suffer literal pain for beauty. Your pores will thank you later.